Clarence V. McKee's Perspective:
Are we becoming a nation of pushovers for an untrustworthy government?
In his second inaugural address, President Obama made references to the Declaration of Independence (“...all men are created equal); the Preamble to the Constitution: (“we the people”); Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“government of, and by, and for the people”) and he also said that we “continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.”
During high school in Scottsville, N.Y., I had the honor of reciting the Gettysburg Address at our annual Memorial Day ceremony.
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Implicit in Lincoln’s vision of "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,.” and other documents, is people trusting government.
Have we bridged the meaning of those words with the realities of today?
The lyrics of legendary blues singer Etta James may provide an answer.
She was portrayed in the movie “Cadillac Records” by entertainer Beyonce who sang James’ famous “At Last” at President Obama’s first inaugural ball and the National Anthem at his second inauguration this week.
Affectionately known as “Miss Peaches,” James died a year ago — on the 20th of January.
As Beyonce said:
“. . . Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time.”
So what does Etta James have to do with Lincoln and government?
Among her many hits are: “Trust in Me,” “Pushover,” “I Cried a Tear,” and “Tell Mama.”
The song “Trust In Me” includes the line:
“Trust in me in all you do. Have the faith I have in you . . . if only you trust in me . . .”
In “Pushover” she sings:
“You took me for a pushover . . . I'm hip to every word in your conversation . . .”
Applying these lyrics to Lincoln’s vision and “the realities of our time,” it is clear that “government” cannot be trusted in all that it does.
Let’s start with the so-called fiscal cliff law.
We were told that only the rich would get a tax increase.
We were not told that millions of middle-class workers would take a hit on their paychecks due to the 2 percent increase in the payroll tax.
Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of “pork” dollars went to special interests in the form of various tax incentives — including nearly $300 million for the president’s favorite cheering squad — the movie industry!
It seems some of us are more equal than others!
The same government told Hurricane Sandy victims to trust them.
Before Sandy victims could get “hip” to what was going on, the Senate added billions of dollars of special interest projects unrelated to their needs.
And then there’s the big government “Mama” of them all — “Obamacare.”
Remember Nancy Pelosi’s “. . . we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it away from the fog of the controversy?”
Now we know!
It has pushover written all over it — the largest tax increase in history!
Seeking our trust, Obama said: “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan . . . if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”
Now we know that may not be the case.
We the people were not told that government regulations could result in reductions in the 40-hour work week and possible layoffs of millions of workers so employers could avoid insurance mandates.
Also, we the people were not told that we would have to disclose our health insurance coverage to the IRS.
And, just when you thought Obamacare was big government enough, we learn that the government will permit our healthcare providers to help enforce gun control.
Among other things, Obama’s gun control package will not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their home.
Do we really want our doctors to be government snitches who will rat us out if our children tell the doctor that mommy or daddy has a gun at home?
So much for doctor-patient privilege.
We are all concerned about gun violence but some of these proposals are scary.
Patrick Henry warned: “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel . . .”
So what’s next — gun owners paying higher life and health insurance premiums; the imposition of federal and state “gun taxes;” or, one day, termination of federal medicare-medicaid dollars to states, or loss of tax-exempt status for non-profit hospitals if hospital-affiliated doctors refuse to treat Medicare or Medicaid patients because of lowered reimbursement rates?
Ronald Reagan said “trust but verify.”
As noted above, we the people trusted government. But, few “leaders” took time to “verify” what was in the Obama healthcare tonic as Pelosi said.
We trusted them!
Again, James’ music is on point. In “I Cried a Tear,” she sings: “. . . you fooled me so I wasn’t smart.”
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Lincoln would probably shed a few lonely teardrops over what government of, by, and for the people has become. And Patrick Henry might tell us to start guarding our liberty and be suspicious of a “Big Mama” government that says “trust in me”— I’m here to take care of your needs.”
As James says in “Tell Mama:”
“Tell your Mama, what you want, tell your Mama, what you need, tell your Mama, what you got to have . . .”
How ironic that mama sounds like the reality of Obama’s big government today?
We the people had better get smart, suspicious and jealously protect Patrick Henry’s “jewel” of liberty!
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns, including Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. He was also appointed chairman of the District of Columbia Reagan-Bush Campaign and he chaired the District of Columbia Delegation to the Republican National Convention in Dallas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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