In the world of professional football, where I lived for 18 years, your biography didn’t matter. Skin color didn’t matter. Religion didn’t matter. Economic background didn’t matter. The only things that mattered were character and performance.
What mattered was helping the team win. And that principle holds true not only in sports, but in business — and it ought to be true in politics, too.
I find efforts at division despicable, in any form. We need all the factions of this country to come together and determine the course to take — every race, religion, political group, and economic class. Efforts at division, whether through class warfare, race baiting, or whatever else, have no place in the dialogue.
For that reason, President Obama’s administration and campaign have disappointed me multiple times. The theme of class warfare has been a constant presence. “Millionaires and billionaires” are constantly demonized (and based on his proposals, the dividing line that puts you in this abominable class is a $250,000 annual income).
Anyone who is successful in business is suspect, and profits are what cause problems for society. Even in last night’s debate, the President dismissed the ability of private insurance companies to compete with Medicare because they “have to make a profit.”
President Obama clearly rejects Winston Churchill’s belief that “You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.” Worse, he seems to be trying to pit everyone else against those at the top of the economic ladder; instead of praising them for creating value, we should see them as deep pockets with undeserved money available for everyone else to help themselves to.
Financing existing debt? We’ll just tax the rich. Need some new programs? We’ll just tax the rich. Running trillion-dollar deficits? We’ll just tax the rich. I wonder what will happen when we run out of “rich” people.
But it’s not just class warfare. A lot of people are talking about the latest viral video, the Daily Caller’s release of the full video of a speech made by then-candidate Obama in 2007 at Hampton University.
Watching the unedited speech, I’m not bothered by the President’s cadence or accent, as some point out. What bothers me is the hint of race baiting, the subtle implications that the reason that African-Americans have problems is because white people don’t care and even actively work against them. It is pitting race against race — and of course, also appealing to non-black voters who want to prove they aren’t racists.
The video is now five years old, but I think its themes and implications are still felt in the electorate today.
President Obama is fond of saying that he has to be the president of all Americans, accusing Governor Romney of not caring about many Americans. But does he not notice the divisive tactics of his own team?
This election is not about a black president running against a white man. It’s not about a president from Hawaii running against the son of the governor of Michigan. It’s not a contest between two bank accounts, two churches, two tax bills, or two birth certificates.
It’s about which individual is best suited to lead us going forward for the next four years. It should be about your opinion of Barack Obama’s record over the last four years, and about your opinion of the assets and liabilities of Mitt Romney.
Our choice should be made by looking at the issues and really thinking about our options, learning by what we read, what we see, and what we hear. It should not be made by letting any candidate put us in boxes based on biographical elements like race, religion, or economic standing and using that to determine our vote.
If we’re willing to give up on individual decision-making and just give in to the crowd like that, then we deserve what we get.
Fran Tarkenton is the Founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com, a web resource for Small Business Advocacy and Education. After his Hall of Fame football career, Fran had a successful career in television and then turned to business. He has founded and built more than 20 successful companies and now spends his time coaching aspiring entrepreneurs. Read more reports from Fran Tarkenton — Click Here Now.
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