Saturday, July 14, 2012

Obama's Paycheck

Yogurt.  Banana.  Maybe toast.  And a quick chance to catch up on the news.  It was your typical free hotel "continental" breakfast.

Some places I go, FOX news is guaranteed to be on the TV.  Others, it's one of the seemingly fifty different-but-the-same ESPN channels.  Maybe the balance 25-35% have a hodgepodge of other network news and local news.

Anyway, yesterday, it was FOX.  As I peeled back the foil on one of my single-serving yogurts, the story breaks...
"This year, all of our proud, American Olympic athletes will be wearing uniforms which were made completely in China!"
The only other person sharing the breakfast nook with me, a lady, turned back to me with indignation.
"That's horrible!" she gasps.
"It is kind of a shame, isn't it." I say.
"That should cost Obama his paycheck!" she snaps.
Scccrrrreeeeeech!  That's the sound my brain's train of thought made as it came to a halt ASAP with full reverse engine.  This conversation was over for me.

Right there, right in front of me, was what comes to my mind as the stereotypical FOX news consumer.  And I know stereotypes are not fully accurate.  And I know several people with better capacity for thought than this woman who also watch FOX.  But there she was... a living, breathing representation of my greatest fear for the political future of our country.

The news report segment was not even done, but FOX had gotten through.  The details were not yet fully revealed, but this woman assigned the blame on Obama, as if Obama had anything to do with the Olympic uniforms.  To her, this was a political abomination orchestrated by the White House.

FOX would go on to report that Ralph Lauren, the American apparel designer, had donated the uniforms.  That sets the true argument, the same old argument, at American companies for sending their manufacturing overseas in the name of profit.  Because, trust me, at the ~$1000 dollar retail price of the uniforms, companies like Ralph Lauren are making a killing.  These techniques have grown our companies into massive entities which, arguably, they could never have become with the more-restricted profits derived from U.S.A. based manufacturing.  But these profits have come at a cost.

As I left the breakfast area, it seemed to me that the woman was still indignant about the President's responsibility in this situation.  Heaven help us all.


  1. Infuriating. As an atheist, you have little (if any) credibility with this woman, but as a Christian, I do, so I've made it one of my missions in life to speak up (*not* my natural tendency, mind you) to people like these who mix Christianity with politics and nationalism and their own crazy personal beliefs to create a worldview that God would be disgusted with. As it happens, I know the Bible well enough to be able to quote verses that directly challenge beliefs such as this woman's, so it's really just a matter of being bold enough to upset and offend complete strangers.

    Years ago an acquaintance parked her Yukon in front of my house. A bumper sticker on the back read, "Guns, Babies, and Jesus." I let it go back then; today I would not. I've grown up a little.

  2. I may have not written that clearly. She did not say "Heaven help us all." That was my tongue-in-cheek addition. ;-)

    She did not specifically mix Christianity with politics, at least in that incident. But, if she does follow the stereotype, then she probably would.

    That was my mix, so chastise me instead. :-)

    "Guns, Babies, and Jesus"? Are you serious? I mean, that's something an atheist would come up with as a satirical motto for the Christian right. That's hilarious... in a disturbing way.

  3. I had noticed, several years ago, that less money than expected had been taken out of my paychecks for federal taxes. I'd been meaning to ask the bookkeeper about it, but it seemed to alway slip my mind.

    Then one day, right after the last election, I spotted the bookkeeper in the hall and asked about it. Her immediate response: "It's Obama!" As with your story, I didn't pursue the matter. But she did tell me to come by and get a W-4 so I can change the deduction.

    Not long after that, as I was reading a story about the Bush tax cuts, I realized that must have been what effected the change in my withholdings.

  4. Those kinds of reactions just make me cringe. Yuck. :-P