We’re hardly in need of one more “Obama’s a hypocrite” story, but this one has to take the cake—as in “let them eat it.” It also leads us to consider a larger spiritual issue.
When I was young I heard a saying applied to some rich people’s estates: “I’ll bet their stables are nicer than most people’s homes.” In some cases it was true, factually. But it’s also an image of what liberals rave about: “income inequality.”
Obama’s been pressing in the past couple months on this topic, particularly in talking about the minimum wage issue. The LA Times reports,
In a lengthy speech about income inequality in America, Obama declared it the “defining challenge of our time” to make sure the economy works for rich and poor alike.
“I take this personally,” Obama said. “I’m only here because this country educated my grandfather on the GI bill.”
When his father left and his mom hit hard times trying to raise two children while going to school, he said, “this country helped make sure we didn’t go hungry.”
And when Michelle Obama’s working-class parents wanted to send her to college, he said, “this country helped us afford it until we could pay it back.”
The FLOTUS, however, has proven little if anything like “working-class” herself, but is rather known for scores of multi-million dollar vacations, $12,000 designer dresses, entourages, a multi-million dollar personal staff, etc., etc. It’s not without reason she is routinely compared to Marie Antoinette—in aspiration and arrogance if not class.
But like I said, this one takes the cake. Yesterday, FLOTUS tweeted a picture of her dogs prepared at a dining-room table set with fine china and gold-plated silverware.
The message of the picture is of course that our blessed queen is hardly sensitive about income inequality. It says, “Hey poor folk: our dogs live better than you do.”
Why this will have little impact upon the Obama constituency is likely that, if they saw this picture, they would think they could be raised to such a status, too, and probably through government aid. Someday, I can be so rich I can pamper and flaunt my dogs in poor people’s faces, too! Obama for a third term! It’ll never happen, but the Obama’s are icons of such hollow promise.
The entire American liberal elite believes like this, and many of them endeavor to live like this. It is a political system built on envy in the lower classes, and total elitism in the upper classes. The uppers use the envy of masses to drive policies of wealth transfer through government coercion. This is the essence of leftism. It is so powerful most conservatives believe and practice it, too, at various levels. It is so powerful that the few conservatives who wish to eradicate the practice are so vastly outnumbered even in their own party they are considered fringe and literally stupid. It is so powerful that many conservatives, even if they strongly oppose socialism in name, will vote for it, because they fear being seen as fringe and stupid.
And for many conservatives, especially in leadership, the lust for money is just as powerful as it is for the Michelle Obamas and envious masses they despise. The Bible does not say for no reason, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). We conservatives and especially postmillennial dominionists are quick to point out that this is not about money per se—godly wealth is actually a good thing. This is instead just about the excessive love of money.
But under the guise of holding this distinction, we often ignore it in practice, and then justify our excesses with postmillennial and dominionist rhetoric—this is just biblical economics! But often it is not. Jesus would not condone a lifestyle of extravagance, and God is not long mocked in this way. I have seen and watched several men allow the lust for money and the prominence that comes with it absolutely destroy their personal ethics, businesses, and even ministries. There are cases in which fundamentally godly men go from fundamental godliness to liars, cheats, compromisers, thieves, total egotists, bullies, and adulterers—all in pursuit of personal ambition, at the root of which was the love of money. And all of it covered over and justified by the appeal to godly wealth, entrepreneurship, and individual responsibility.
I have seen it among liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and Christians all alike. Marie Antoinette Obama’s tweet just happens to be a particularly insensitive example that happened to be made public. But she is not alone. The slow death of our nation, largely, derives from the Marie Antoinette in the hearts of all of us—unhinged, unchecked, uncontrolled, and backed by threats of force, governments, and good ol boy networks.
Politicians are just the worst examples, as they are the most public.
If I were president (ha!), one of the first things I would do would be a thorough purge of every unnecessary and overly fancy item in the White House estate. I would sell it all off, replace it with something simple, sturdy, and functional. No more bling. There’s too much more important to worry about.
No fine china: plain corelle. No silver: plain flatware. No more than two weeks of vacation per year; nothing expensive, and never at taxpayer expense. No big parties, no concerts: a cheap mp3 player will do fine.
Proceeds from the savings would go to pay down the national debt.
Eat well, and drink well. But no flash, no extravagance. We need a generation—a whole generation—of people taught and conditioned to sacrifice and to maintain self-discipline.
I would live like this president lives now:
If anyone could claim to be leading by example in an age of austerity, it is José Mujica, Uruguay’s president, who has forsworn a state palace in favour of a farmhouse, donates the vast bulk of his salary to social projects, flies economy class and drives an old Volkswagen Beetle.
Of course, Mujica is a former Marxist guerilla, but his example today is priceless. Perhaps being shot six times and spending 14 years in a military dungeon tends to harden the will. Hmm.
Then we would tackle the budget. That, for another day.