Saturday, November 01, 2008

Not His Brother's "Keeper"

In the climax of his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama proclaimed:

If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

And at the Saddleback Debate, Obama opined: "we still don't abide by that basic precept of Matthew: that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me; that basic principle applies to poverty."

I reject the notion that it's the fundamentally the government's job to be my or anyone else's "keeper." But what I embrace is the idea we, acting as individuals, should have a concern for our common man - especially our families - and engage in private acts to make the world a better place.

Barack Obama seems to reject that later idea - namely, engaging in private acts to care for one's family and common man.

Item 1:

Based on the Obamas' tax returns, from 2000 to 2004, Barack Obama had an average income just shy of the $250,000 he considers "wealthy". During that time he, on average, gave under 1% of his income to tax deducible charity. In 2005 and 2006 his percentage of givings did climb, although so did his massive earnings. (And, if I'm ever pulling down a cool million a year like the Obamas, I certainly hope I'll be giving more than a paltry 4.7% of it to charity.)

Item 2:

In August, the press found Barack Obama's half-brother, George. For all his talk about us being our "brother's keeper," Barack Obama hasn't done anything to help his brother living in Africa on less than a dollar a month.

Item 3:

Originally I didn't think too much of the George Obama situation, and actually dismissed it when a friend of mine brought it up in conversation. The two brothers didn't grow up with each other. They've visited a few times, and George has a mention in one of Barack Obama's memoirs, but they are separated by an ocean and aren't particularly close.

Why I mention it now, is that Obama apparently has a pattern of ignoring the needs of his relatives.

We find out today that Obama's aunt has been living in Boston for at least four years. In state-funded public housing. And as an illegal immigrant.

Why hasn't Barack Obama been helping her? Between his wealth and legal connections, couldn't he have helped her be here legally or at least be in living conditions better than public housing?

Obama is now claiming he wasn't aware his aunt was in the United States. Which, if true, raises additional questions about Obama's family connections. If you lived in the United States - and you were close enough to your aunt to have her attend your swearing in as a Senator in 2004 - don't you think you'd be aware of if your aunt moved from Kenya to the U.S.?

But the bottom line is that Obama himself is not his brother's keeper and does not, himself, "abide by that basic precept of Matthew." Before jacking tax rates up on the wealthy to "spread the wealth around" to the less fortunate, perhaps Obama should take a moment to abide by a second precept from Matthew.

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