Never before in our nation’s history has the distinction between Constitutional guarantees of equal opportunity and the false perception of guaranteed equal outcomes been so blurred and indeed sullied. Barack Obama has craftily employed a messianic appeal to an ever expanding victim class he seeks to define, one in which he is attempting to corral the middle class in order to direct a majority ire at the “rich.”
The Obama plan is to “spread the wealth around” even more than we already do – nearly 40% of Americans are already net income tax redistribution recipients rather than contributors. Yet, those who dare challenge his plans are ironically derided as radical, as well as unsubtly characterized as rascist – now the trump card played to dismiss and then silence objection to a Socialist agenda.
I am growing very tired of being accused of being some sort of racist because I am white and I oppose Barack Obama as well as just about everything that he espouses, including – regardless of ethnicity – those he has chosen to surround himself with his entire adult life.
Many of my students are black. Many of them are Hispanic. Many of them are Asian. Many of them are white. Most of them grew up poor, just like I did.
All of them are American.
And many of them have carried a significant burden that has nothing whatsoever to do with the color of their skin, their level of income or their faith. And this burden has weighed them down with a relentlessness and a ruthlessness that is crippling. And most of them never even knew it. But I know it. I knew it. Because I too carried it.
It’s simple. No one ever told them that they can. No one ever told them explicitly that in this country you can do whatever it is that you want to do. No one ever told them. Just like no one ever told me.
Like me, most of them grew up in a household that, when the news was watched and a story covered something negative, the common refrain was “Why do they do that?” or “Why don’t they fix that?” or “How can they let that go on?”
They. Never more specific, always implying some level of government or authority or a race or segment of society, and never any specific solution or alternative approach suggested – of course other than “they” should stop and “we” should have more or better.
They. A polarizing, divisive and anger-inducing vagueness suggesting a constant villain (them) and a constant victim (us). It’s a common refrain spawned from a mindset which holds constant that someone, somewhere owes “us” or “me” based not on any balance sheet but rather on general anger, resentment and/or envy.
It’s a debilitating mindset that implants a subconscious belief that the individual is helpless because various powers that be continue to keep us down.
It’s a debilitating mindset that clings to such remedies for the helpless like “hope” and “change” rather than “drive” and “determination.”
It’s a debilitating mindset that surrenders to the promises of others rather than the engagement of the rights and liberties of the individual.
It’s a load of bunk. And it reveals itself most often as a visible large and bitter chip on the shoulders of those ensnared by it. Shackles are less constraining.
No one can stop you from chasing a dream but you. No one. You simply have to identify your passion and natural talents, and develop the skills and talents that are not natural. Then, you have to persevere, overcome obstacles and failures, remain driven through passion.
I ask my students, “What is it that you are up at 2AM in the morning reading about or doing that you don’t tell your friends about at parties? That’s your passion. That’s what you need to be doing. That’s the career that you will excel at, where ‘work’ doesn’t seem like work. And when ‘work’ is fun, when it’s what you would spend your time doing anyway, you can’t help but be in the top 10-15% of your field. Forget about thinking about what you can do that will make you the most money. Do what you are passionate about. Then the money will come and it will seem almost easy. Chase the money and you will grow to hate all your jobs. Because then you’re just going to work. And work sucks. Anyone can get a job. But do what you are passionate about? That’s a career, and work won’t really seem like work.”
And I implore them to follow three things that I say to myself every day:
Blame No One.
Blame No One. No one is to blame for your position in life. The ship is yours to steer around whatever obstacles lie before you in the water. Yours may be different from mine. None of us chose the color of our skin, the time or place of our birth, or even our parents for that matter. We showed up one day with the cards that were dealt us. They’re neither all aces nor all deuces, and what the guy next to you has has nothing to do with your hand. Get over it or carry that unnecessary weight around like dragging a boat anchor through the desert. If that is your choice, there is no one to blame but you. So take charge of your own life. You are American, and you have choices because of that one beautiful trump card dealt to you.
Expect Nothing. No one owes you a thing. Just like you did not choose the color of your skin, for instance, neither did anyone else. And if they have a problem with it, let that be their boat anchor, not yours. Because chances are, you cannot change them. So don’t let them change you. And if they have more than you, you are not entitled to any portion of it any more than they are entitled to yours. The natural state of man is not wealth, but rather poverty. We are born naked and with nothing. It is what we do well that changes that equation, not an inherent debt owed us at birth. If you walk through life presuming some one or some group owes you, you will live in daily disappointment that what you perceive is owed is never fulfilled.
Do Something. Once you’ve got your mind right and are no longer blaming others for your condition and stop thinking that someone else owes you more than you have, then it is time do put it into motion and actually do something to create the condition you desire. Thinking is necessary. But thought without constructive action is what constitutes an idle dreamer. And idle dreamers rarely attain what they desire save for the rarest of luck. And failure to attain or progress will eventually land you back to blaming others and expecting those guilty others to settle your imagined debts. Identify you passion and do something to develop it.
You become positive in your pursuits; constructive, passionate and inspiring to others.
We’ve all heard the phrase “Good thing happen to good people.” That’s a load of crap little different from blaming and expecting. It’s often indicative of a mindset that equates success with luck or blind chance. There is nothing “chance” about it. People surround themselves with like-minded people. Think of the little clicks you have known all your life. The gossipers all hang with the gossipers, the complainers all hang with the complainers, the jokers all hang with jokers, the busy all hang with the busy. Likewise, good people surround themselves with good people.
None of this is by design. It’s by gravitation. We tend to gravitate towards people we are like, and we tend to emulate those we are around in one form or another. A good person finds good people gravitate towards them. And good people inspire others to emulate them, just as we sometimes can tend to gripe around gripers or gossip around gossipers – both of these cheap forms of instant – and evaporating – gratification. But when you are a decent human being, you inspire others to do as you do.
You will likely never know that the call you got out of the blue about a job was the result of one of those people who gravitated towards you that you had an impact on. They were talking to someone who knew someone who was looking for something, and you – not someone else – came to mind. You left that mark. just as you mention the name of someone who left a mark on you. A positive mark.
Good things out of the blue just seem to keep happening for some people. Well, there’s no luck about it, though it may well seem so because we often never really know how it all started to happen. This is not cronyism. That’s something much different. This is about basic decency, about doing the right thing even when no one is looking, about common kindness, compassion and respect, and about the (subtle and outwardly modest) confidence that comes with self-respect.
My students – black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Christian, Muslim or Jew – don’t expect this. But it comprises my first lecture on their first day in class. For, if I don’t help them ‘get their mind right,’ then they are just there learning ‘stuff’ so they can graduate and get a ‘job.’
No sir. In this country, they can each chase their passion, each succeed and pursue the American Dream, and each have a fun and rewarding career that they take with them anywhere they may go, not just a job at some company in some place. Once they really learn their trade well and begin thinking on another level of a better way of doing things, they can even start their own company elsewhere or in their own community and become the employer in their community rather than an employee.
I know they can. Because some have done it. And for some, it’s because someone simply took the time to tell them that they can. One student chased his passion all the way to Las Vegas, where he now does what he stayed up till 2AM doing when he entered my classroom. He makes six figures in his early twenties and without a bachelor’s degree.
That is education.
I do not teach in a public school. I would not join a teacher’s union, nor would I ever accept tenure. I work with no massive Annenberg grants once distributed under Barack Obama’s co-direction. Nor do I teach with any touted “education reformer” such as Bill Ayers. I would not share a room with let alone accept an education award from Hugo Chavez. In order to achieve that lofty status, I would be required to “reform education” in a manner that indoctrinates students to loathe the American government, plant and fertilize seeds of racial and economic division, and teach students that they can’t, but that with a system of government that abandons the US Constitution and models itself more closely after Chavez’s Venezuela or Castro’s Cuba, that government can for them.
That is, after all, the central theme in Small Schools Network, which was “founded by [William] Ayers and run by Michael Klonsky, a friend of Ayers’ and the former chairman of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), which was granted $50,0000 while Barack Obama served on the boards of The Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Fund of Chicago.
I do not oppose Barack Obama because the color of his skin. That is a laughable assertion, whether implied or directly stated. Barack Obama is obsessed with telling people why they can’t but for him and the change he will bring about, why they can’t because others have more than them, why they can’t until he can direct the federal government into a form which redistributes from one group to another.
That is not what inspires people. That is not what elevates people. That is not what breeds success or equality.
That is demagoguery and the cementing of a victim class which requires a villain – in this case the rich and, subtly through absurd charges of racism, the white.
That is demagoguery and the cementing of a victim class which requires a dispenser of justice – Barack Obama and a federal government molded into a form of socialism.
That is demagoguery and the cementing of a victim class which, by definition, requires blaming another class or classes, expecting relief from others, and doing nothing for it in exchange beyond a vote.
This is class warfare and collectivism abetted by racial divisiveness. And the victim of collectivism and class warfare is always the individual and personal liberty, not simply “the rich,” with both the suggested victim classes and villain classes beholden to the central distributor.
So yes, those who sell themselves on race, sell others short on race, and seek to divide based upon race get my blood pressure and temperature up a touch. One of the most important lessons learned in Marine Corps boot camp is that all Marines are green. Some are dark green, some are light green, some are shades in between. But we are all green, and we are all brothers; as dependent upon each other as we are there for each other.
It seems to me that Senator Obama could use 13 weeks of Marine Corps boot camp. For Senator Obama seems the only one that brings up race, accusing of racism those who dare equate his self-professed tax concept of “spread the wealth” to Socialism, who challenge him on his friendships with a blatant racist pastor in Jeremiah Wright or with an unrepentant domestic terrorist and self-described Marxist William Ayers, or his (n’er to be released) recorded words of praise for Rashid Khalidi, and the long list of others.
I challenge him on all of these things – as well as education – and I defy him to call me a racist or imply such.
It would be an amusing direct accusation, considering that perhaps my favorite politician is J.C. Watts and my favorite private public speaker is a guy I call Mr. Macho Sauce.
It would be nice if Senator Obama would stop cultivating and exacerbating his required victim class by constantly telling them why they can’t and who’s keeping them down, and instead embrace the empowering and liberating approach of telling them why – and how – they can.
Yet, instead, Obama supporters are led in chants of “Yes We Can!” But this is in no reference to those chanting, but rather that they “can” get Barack Obama elected President. Not that they “can” fulfill their dreams and ambitions in this nation.
The megalomaniacal is leading them to support another man rather than believe in themselves. He has said that his individual salvation is tied directly to the overall salvation of his people. And he has successfully swooned many of them to believe that their individual success is tied to his success, his election to the presidency.
Tell them they can, Senator Obama. That they can for themselves. Not for you.