March 24, 2010
By Louis Avallone
There is a certain number of Americans that feel any criticism of the Obama administration’s policies are actually a personal affront upon the President himself. Their claim is often that such disapproval is, at its best, merely partisan or, at its worst, racist. Last September, former President Carter said as much, when he said that “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man…”
From time to time, pundits and pontificators suggest the same of other critical thinking Americans, from the Tea Party to the Grand Old Party. Nevermind that a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last week indicated that 60% of Americans believe that the country is off on the wrong track. Or that only 17% of Americans approve of how lawmakers in the Democrat controlled Congress are doing their jobs. Or that 50% of Americans would vote to defeat every single member of Congress, including their own representative.
So, with all that pushed aside, and for all of those Americans who believe that criticism of this administration reveals some psychological chasm, or deficiency, within the rest of us, let’s try illustrating how you can be quite disagreeable with someone’s actions (like the President’s), even if you don’t know their political party, race, or even gender.
Let’s take the apolitical and mundane kitchen trashcan, in your office’s breakroom, for illustration purposes. Now, from time to time, this trashcan overflows (it happens). And instead of some folks simply emptying the trashcan, they seem content to just stack their garbage upon the already piled high garbage; like they are playing a rancid game of Jenga.
And if your trashcan has one of those pivoting top lids, this adds a whole other level of complexity to the matter. Folks come by and shove empty pizza boxes, their 64 oz. foam drink cups, and their to-go box of seven day old kung pao chow chicken into the already capacity-filled trashcan, wedging it all into the little remaining space beneath the pivoting top lid. And when these folks decide that they cannot continue building the tower of trash to stretch any taller to the ceiling, these same folks will begin placing more trash around the trashcan; almost as if they are paying homage to the trashcan.
At this point, if you are like me, you wonder why in the world someone just didn’t empty this overflowing trashcan already, instead of just jamming more trash into it. Now, I don’t often see the person(s) responsible for causing the overflow of the trashcan, and all of its aroma. It’s unsightly, and sometimes it smells. But this illustrates the point that any opposition to this unsanitary condition has nothing to do with the personality of the person who contributed to it. It does, however, have everything to do with their position on cleanliness, which according to an ancient Hebrew proverb, is next to godliness.
Now, you simply not be in favor of participating as a bystander to this mess and want to clean it up yourself. I understand. You may speak out, post a memo in the break room, or send out an email to everyone in the company. In fact, Americans are responding the same way to the direction our country is moving, but not because of the personality, color, or political party of our President…it’s about the effect of his policies on our country’s future.
Drawing out this analogy a little further then, there are only about two (2) main reasons for why this mess continues to persist in your breakroom (and in our country). First, folks apparently view emptying an overflowing trashcan as someone else’s responsibility (i.e. “It’s not my job”). They seem unconcerned how their obliviousness will affect the next guy that comes along. This is like Obama’s 2010 budget that, over the next decade, would raise taxes on all Americans by nearly $3 trillion and increase each American household’s share of the publicly held debt an additional $74,000.
The second point is that folks may simply not have the time to properly dispose of their trash, like the members of Congress that were too busy last year to read the details of the $789 billion stimulus bill (before voting for it). Perhaps your co-workers intended to return and fix the mess that they left behind. The problem is, like Congress, tomorrow never comes, does it? This year, Social Security will pay out $29 billion more than it takes in. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office reported last week that Social Security will now be in the “red” in perpetuity. But we’re still expanding government.
You see, despite those that say criticism of the White House is rooted in racism, or from animosity towards the President, they have it all wrong. The particulars of anyone that won’t take the time to empty an overflowing trashcan in the break room is insignificant, but it’s still not about their personality, skin color, party affiliation, etc… It is about the effect that the actions of a few will have on the many. And if we can have such fundamental differences regarding a relatively insignificant and benign matter as the sanitary quality of a break room trashcan, then for goodness’ sake, we can have the same fundamental differences on important policy initiatives set forth by this administration… and without being labeled or admonished for having them.