It was a sunny Saturday morning in late July 2011. At a local supermarket in southwest Florida, the checkout-line chit-chat was on current events in the nation’s capital. Confidence in the Obama agenda appeared in decline, as supermarket musings reflected growing voter displeasure with the president’s blame game.
After Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., submitted a 2011 budget to reign in federal spending, he was lambasted by the president. Then, on Friday, July 22, 2011, President Obama took to the airways to deliver a half-hour scolding of congressional Republican leaders as unwilling to challenge their most conservative members.
Speaker of the House John Boehner R-Ohio, rebutted the president’s views of the negotiations and stressed that it was the president who had changed the goalposts by demanding tax increases and by refusing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Congressional leaders were meeting that very Saturday morning the White House, but the meeting adjourned in less than hour, with no compromise in sight.
At the same time, in the supermarket in Florida, the check-out line became a mini-town hall meeting, when a senior-citizen cashier asked a gray-haired customer, “What did you think of the president’s rant and rave last night?” The man replied, “The same-old same-old. He is not responsible. It’s everyone else’s fault, from Jefferson to Madison to Bush and of course those granny-killers, the Republicans.”
A lady next in line chimed in, “Obama lies. That is the fact. I believed him and voted for him. He always says one thing and does another. We can’t afford giving money to the world, and our people are out of work and hungry.”
A young man in line behind her added, “Lady, you said it all. I’m a lifeguard with an economics degree from the University of Florida and no worthwhile job. I’m not alone. My ex-girlfriend, a campus leader, is living at home and flooding the Internet with job applications. She and I are going back to Gainesville –– law school for me and nursing school for her — and who needs more lawyers?”
The gray-haired man responded, “Son, you can take my place. I just retired after 50 years in the law. Times have changed though. It is more cutthroat, and civility is gone from the practice of law, just as it is gone from day-to-day life.”
A middle-aged man in line with his two children spoke up, “Civility is gone from the public schools. My kids have to learn to read and do math at home. Our school can’t teach the basics, because the teacher is uneducated herself. There is no responsibility in the school system. Kids act up, stop class, and the teacher walks out of the room. The principal says, there can be no blame, competition is bad, as it creates disturbances.
"When children act out in class, all the children must understand their classmates are under pressures, and all must accept this behavior. This is today’s education system, and Obama wants more money for it.”
A woman with a cane joined in, “That is true. What is worse, we have caused it. Just like Germany and Russia, the people did not speak out.”
“Wait a minute, lady,” said an elderly bagger. “We can stop it. I, too, voted for change, but I didn’t vote for Obama’s actual changes. We need to balance the books and, yes, cut Social Security and Medicare reasonably to save them. Obama doesn’t get it. That show last night was a disgrace — it was all about him. We don’t mean a hill of beans to him or his Wall Street money people or his Hollywood-money millionaires — they will still have their loopholes and off-shore money like George Soros.”
The college type spoke again, “Out of curiosity, what did you do before bagging?”
The bagger looked down and moved his head slowly, “I did some banking. I was a financial officer for, let’s say, a Fortune 600 company.” With a smirk, he added, “Not a fortune 500 company.”
The quip brought laughter from adjacent checkout lines and their cashiers, one of whom opined that President Obama is “an empty suit. We are all realizing it and hopefully before it’s too late.”
“Wrong. Americans are still gullible,” said a bald 50ish man. He continued with all eyes on him, “The news media refuses to question anything Obama says. He makes statements that are less than accurate; he quotes polls we know do not exist; he blames everyone but himself, as the one man said.
Yet many get their information from Jon Stewart, a comedian. They believe Obama is the fountain of truth. What newspaper has ever really challenged him? Those are my thoughts.”
The checkout lines moved along, and the lady who had voted for Obama ended the conversation with, “Amen, Brother. Right on.”
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