The Right Persuasion

The Right Persuasion

Barack Obama is running out of fresh catch phrases, and it’s becoming almost comical. On Sept. 8, 2010, President Obama addressed his fellow Americans at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, to remind them that it’s those pesky Republicans who are stopping the hope and change this country desperately needs, through fear-mongering and backwards thinking.

Obama attempted to remind his audience that his progressive agenda was the key to a future worth living in, whereas the GOP was stuck in a degenerate past of terrifying economic and social policy. “If we’re willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation,” Obama said to cheers and applause. While these pop phrases sound good, they are shallow buzzwords crying for a new and transformed United States of America.

I like America. I like the way America was conceived. I like the way America is a place that rewards hard work and frowns upon laziness. But Obama doesn’t like that part about America. When he asks us to choose the future over the past, what past is he referring to? Because America’s principles of limited government were constructed in 1776. 1776 is in the past. Is that the past he wants to change? A past in which deists and Christians came together to form a more perfect union? A past that gave people the right to have representation in the areas concerning taxation? A past that created a capitalistic market and system that in return has been a leader in industry, military and ideas? He wants to change that past?

As for Obama’s idea that there is a giant hole in the middle class, I’d like to know why he’s so concerned, considering his agenda is to “spread the wealth,” as he told 21st century folk hero Joe the Plummer. If one spreads the wealth so that everyone can have a piece, then there really isn’t a middle class, is there? There would simply be “class.” Most people are still middle class. Most people have a place to live, a car to drive and a one-week vacation to take. Some have less, and we would call them the poor. Some have more, and we would call them the rich. It’s a pretty simple concept. Obama doesn’t really want a middle class, but instead wants a world where all have the same health care, the same education, and basically the same luck in the areas of success. Luck is manifested through personal hard work, not by piggy-back riding on those who are doing most of the heavy lifting. Do not be fooled. Obama is not interested in restoring the middle class, but instead on reimagining it as one class.

And the idea that Obama supports the American Dream is a joke. First off, he doesn’t even believe the American Dream is necessarily a special ideal, as he once stated when asked about American exceptionalism: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Those 2009 comments show how much he disregards the American way of life. America is exceptional because it challenges her citizens to go beyond where they are to produce an unlimited amount of prosperity. Yet the European countries he mentioned don’t promote exceptionalism, but egalitarianism. Greece is rioting in the streets because they aren’t being handed every luxury of life, just as much of Europe is doing these days.

Ironically, Obama’s plan to fix these problems isn’t through innovative thinking, but instead through failed past ideas that include a $50 billion redistribution of wealth. If memory serves me right, the last stimulus was supposed to fix our woes, yet nothing has changed. Unemployment remains at almost 10 percent, our schools are still in the hole, and gas is still more than three bucks a gallon. The old adage states that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Well, America, welcome to insanity.    


The Right Persuasion

The Right Persuasion

Happy Labor Day weekend, Ventura! Of course, for 9.5 percent of our American population, Labor Day is bittersweet, since having an extended weekend means very little when your work week doesn’t actually start or end anymore. But before you get frustrated while waiting for someone at the unemployment office to help you get last week’s EDD check, just remember that working people aren’t doing too well these days on the job in general. If it isn’t a flight attendant giving difficult passengers their just deserts before cracking open a beer and sliding down the inflatable exit slide, it is bitter workers shooting up the workplaces when fired. Or maybe you heard about how teachers have been given less pay for the same amount of work to keep the educational system afloat? Truth be told, the workplace is no picnic either, and don’t even get me started on how Barack Obama, the Senate and the House have to deal with unbelievably low job approval ratings. Imagine if your weekly evaluation were on page one of the New York Times. Just to put things in perspective, not working is tough, but working can be even worse.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one,” and while I wholeheartedly agree, as I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, I would add that working can be a nightmare of epic proportions if not put into perspective. The getting up early, the 101 traffic, the dressing up, the clocking in and clocking out, the timed lunch, the endless tasks, the mind-numbing downtime, the numerous supervisors, all with different agendas, the fear of potential overtime, the fear of being laid off, the fear of being promoted without much of a raise, the pressure of enjoying your one week of vacation. It never ends. So to those who find themselves with stress-inducing jobs or for those still lost adrift in the sea of unemployment, I have two words for you: Reinvent yourself.

While you work for a living, you must not live to work. Try to make your job a way to fund your passions. You get one life, so why throw it away for a company that can and will replace you when that is in its best interest? That doesn’t mean don’t work hard, but the things of this world are passing away, so why invest your all into them? Old jobs are no longer needed, and new jobs are being picked up by those who look like they’ve spent a little too much time playing video games in their parents’ basements. So if you are blessed to have a steady income, take advantage of your position.

Find ways to make the work environment more pleasant. Be the beacon of happiness. Be the one who finds solutions instead of complaints. Work with your co-workers instead of around them. It’s really hard to be miserable or tired with a kick in your step and a smile on your face. If your job allows you, take night classes at a community college in subjects you love, or form a weekly sports, film or book club. Life is more tolerable when you are waiting for something to come, as opposed to simply waiting.

For those still looking to get back into the workforce, think about this time as a new opportunity. Maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to do. Do it. Learn it. Love it. Then live it.

While I was unemployed, I got a writing career started, earned a master’s in English through online classes, started a Bible study, volunteered at a senior home, lost 40 pounds at the gym, coached high school and college wrestling, went white water rafting with friends, and kept myself as busy as possible while searching Craigslist and Monster every day.

Don’t think that just because it’s what you’ve always done, it’s what you always have to do.

This is America. Since its inception, we’ve thought of this country as the land of opportunity. So take advantage of that opportunity. Do not let your job or lack of job define you. Instead, let your body of work be what others see. 








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