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The Sum of His Grievances

The Good Book admonishes us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

Do grievances count as treasures, and in which pocket ought we to pack them? A man’s grievances can be mighty powerful, after all. Some people hold them close, as if they were members of the family to be nurtured, cared for, and raised to glorious and independent strength. I should confess that I’ve got a little collection myself, and I’ve been known to take them down from the shelf from time to time and wipe the dust from them, restoring something of their original color.  It’s a vice, of course … an unhealthy, darkly edifying thing.  

“Once bitten, twice shy,” so the saying goes. The garden variety idiot who wanders into a tiger’s cage and survives the adventure, isn’t likely to try it again. Come to think of it, he won’t try it again if he doesn’t survive it either, but that’s not my point. For there’s a fine line between learning life’s hard lessons and nurturing a bellyache, a line I’ve been known to occasionally obliterate. But how do we know when we’ve stopped being the sum of our experiences and instead become the sum of our grievances?  

Perhaps we’ve crossed the line when we no longer see those around us as individuals who deserve the benefit of the doubt and, instead, morph them into faceless groups whose members have or have not aggrieved us previously. I suppose this explains the popularity of lawyer jokes, for example, and my contention that 95 percent of the lawyers out there have given the remaining 5 percent a bad name. But when it crosses from general humor and instead becomes the defining feature and outlook of a person, we have a problem. And when that person goes on to become the President of the United States, we have a disaster.  

How else to explain the comfort with which Barack Obama resided in the pews of Trinity United, where he heard an ostensible reverend of the Gospel invoke The Almighty’s damnation of America and preach, “… It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere … That’s the world!  On which hope sits.” On the contrary, it’s not hope sitting there, but rather a monumental pile of grievance.  Grievance over injuries real and perceived, and grievances that no longer inform the man, but have instead become the man.  

It is, after all, a short day-trip from the indiscriminate indictment of “white folks,” to the wholesale condescension toward job creators embodied in the statement, “You’ll still be able to ride your corporate jets.  You’re just going to have to pay a little more.” The young man who wrote of smoking pot, ”…in a white classmate’s sparkling new van,”  goes on with ease to tell a plumber how he’d like to spread his earnings around. His grievances replaced “hope” as the  “fundamental transformation” of America. 

And so it is that a man of talent and intellect, who overcame the obstacles in his life to reach the pinnacle of political leadership, chose not to celebrate and inspire the nation that made his meteoric rise possible, but chose instead to grind his axe upon the citizenry and deliver the nation its comeuppance. Our country is in decline and its divisions have deepened while the mistrust of fellow citizens grows daily. Instead of encouraging excellence and achievement, the president’s policies encourage resentment and dependence, pitting one group against another. Long-term unemployment breaks post World War II records while household income has fallen over 4 percent and food stamp enrollment has risen 34 percent.  The GDP barely limps along while the deficit, as a share of GDP, rockets up. With the Mideast in flames, American embassies under siege, and an American ambassador and his staff murdered in a terrorist attack, Barack Obama manages to garner the endorsements of Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Vladimir Putin, who know a bargain when they see it.  Why exert the effort to take the United States down when an American president so enthusiastically does the work for them? 

It is an awful drama when one becomes the sum of his grievances, but it is made more awful still when the drama unfolds at our expense. It’s time to politely show the President the exit and allow him the time and space to work out these issues in private.

  1. Chris O.

    Superb, Dave. Thanks.

  2. Mel Foil

    President Obama does have a giant brain, and its name is Michael Moore. Moore says exactly what Obama would say, if he could get away with it politically.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfP-sHnMr3s

  3. JoePrunior

    Dave, your essays get better every time you write, thank you! Everyone here needs to link back to these posts, early and often.

  4. Terry Mott

    Great job, Dave, as always.

  5. tabula rasa

    Wonderful.

    It brings to mind a beautiful sentence from Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead:

    “I have always liked the phrase ‘nursing a grudge’ because many people are tender of their resentments, as of the thing nearest to their hearts.”

  6. DocJay

    Awesome as usual.

    1) Is that Tiger cage filled with Mike?  Don’t go to Death Valley lightly.

    2) I am sick of hearing the prez say”pay a little more”.  Not just the words but the intonation and cadence.  I have a democrat mother-in-law and currently 4 kids in a four bedroom house and family members in financial crisis.  They’re getting a lot more from me than the stupid government and I cannot handle “a little more” taxes on my business.

    3) How are the impoverished of the world going to do when America falls because of our stupidity and sloth should this destructive idiot full of sound and fury be elevated once again to the most critical job in the world?  Not so good Mr racist scum Jeremiah Wright.   

  7. Umbra Fractus

    Something along these lines occurred to me when Romney said, “Attacking me is not an agenda” during the debate. I realized that attacking and blaming third parties is all Barack Obama has done for his entire adult life. What is a community organizer if not someone who convinces people that all their problems are somebody else’s fault?

  8. Southern Pessimist

    Great post, Dave, as usual. Dan Geenfield  wrote a devastating take down of Obama on his Sultan Knish blogsite today. I think it will cheer you up a bit.

  9. Sandy

    Dave, the only problem with your posts is that they say everything that needs to be said.  I’m thinking that occasionally you should throw in a few ordinary stupidities or at least controversies  so we can have a conversation.

    p.s.  Please include this piece in the collection of pieces that you must publish one of these days.

  10. Doug Kimball

    I think you explained a lot, but you missed Obama’s unwillingness to engage in the act of leading.  A speech is not a policy.  Leadership requires more than just briefings and meetings.  It requires an ability to move from vision, to goals, to strategy, to advocacy, to compromise, to plan, to delegation, to encouragement, to revision, to plan, to implementation, to accountability, to success.  It’s hard work and Obama has side-stepped it.  Instead, he’s misconstrued delegation for progress and drafted law for success.  The man who voted “present” hasn’t led, our country has regressed and the real work is left undone.  Philosophy won’t erase the deficit.    He is Bartleby, the President.  And yet, he may be re-elected!

  11. Western Chauvinist

    See? This is why we need a “Like” this post button. Sometimes there’s just nothing left to add. 

  12. Trink
    Western Chauvinist: See? This is why we need a “Like” this post button. Sometimes there’s just nothing left to add.  · 1 minute ago

    Hey sis, I too  love hitting that “Like” button, but still –   I had to traipse on in here to say  ”Ouch”  to that last line about giving the President space and time to work out his issues in private.  Ouch and Amen.

  13. Red Feline

    Wonderful post, Dave! Says it all! :-)

  14. Eeyore
    It’s time to politely show the President the exit and allow him the time and space to work out these issues in private.·

    If we are able to show him the exit, “private” is hardly the space in which he will work out these issues. Freed from the office the likes of which Valerie Jarrett think is so beneath him, he will be unobstructed to go abroad upon the world stage, giving enormous wind to the back of his favored causes.

    The UN Arms Trade Treaty, The Global Transaction Tax, Cap and Trade

    That old “Si se puede!” grin will be back, as well as the angry stabbing finger. You think he’s a burr under your saddle now, Dave – with the world collectivist chorus giving him the Amen, he’ll be a full barrel cactus under the seat of that nice new rig!

  15. Western Chauvinist
    Eeyore

    That old “Si se puede!” grin will be back, as well as the angry stabbing finger. You think he’s a burr under your saddle now, Dave – with the world collectivist chorus giving him the Amen, he’ll be a full barrel cactus under the seat of that nice new rig! · 42 minutes ago

    C’mon. Don’t be such an Eeyore. We have an (evil genius) plan for this. Obama becomes king of the world! — um, I mean, UN Secretary General. Congress repeals the UN treaty and de-funds it. Congress then evicts the UN from US soil, suggesting a new home in Paris, where the 75% tax rate on wealthy Frenchmen will surely sustain the needs of the family of kleptocrats — um, I mean “nations,” of course.

    /dusting off our hands and muttering, “good riddance.”

  16. Spud O

    Wished I had seen this post yesterday, but was too busy.  I do have something to add, having studied and presented this passage to a Sunday School class last Sunday.  I think you know that grievances are not treasure, at least the treasure Jesus mentions.

    The “treasures” Jesus mentions are those we can store in heaven.  Matt. 6:33 ties it (as well as the other verses before and after) all up:  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  If people’s needs are not being met, is it a faith problem?  I mentioned in class that was/is a travesty allowing the federal government to take the place of the church to help people who are unable to supply their own needs (food, shelter, clothing).

    I don’t know if this toothpaste can ever be put back into the tube, but somehow the federal government has to get out of the sugar daddy business and have communities take care of their own.  That’s what a community organizer should be advocating.   Obama is not really one but just another elite wanting to rule over us simpletons.

  17. oleneo65

    Wow, Dave, this was a wonderfully crafted post. Hats off to the Ricochet founders for including you on the roster of prime contributors. BTW, I also love your accounts of the everyday doing on the rig and road.

  18. Pencilvania

    Thoughtful and insightful post, Dave.

    Eeyore, I’ve had those same thoughts plaguing me even as I look hopefully toward a new administration.  Obama and his minions - his unscrupulous minions – have been privy for four years now to the innermost workings of our nation, its confidences, its alliances and enemies.  What they could do with that trove of information worries me, because I don’t credit any one of them with holding that trust sacred.   I’d feel a little better if at the moment Gov. Romney reaches (hopefully) 270 electoral votes on Nov. 6, the entire administration’s security clearances and passwords were deleted, and bayonet-armed Marines would escort them out of any government offices.

  19. Eeyore
    Pencilvania:  I’d feel a little better if at the moment Gov. Romney reaches (hopefully) 270 electoral votes on Nov. 6, the entire administration’s security clearances and passwords were deleted, and bayonet-armed Marines would escort them out of any government offices.

    I’m afraid you have to wait for that whole January Inauguration thing. But I suspect the transition might be a little rough. Valerie Jarrett will not pleasantly relinquish her fiefdom. 

    Bush graciously denied that the departing Clintonistas had pried the “w” off all the White House keyboards, but the 1st Bush White House purchase order included a line item for 100 computer keyboards.

    I would expect no less from this petulant crew.

    Western Chauvinist  Congress repeals the UN treaty and de-funds it. Congress then evicts the UN from US soil, suggesting a new home in Paris…

    I suggest Brussels, so all that “Worldy” stuff can be gathered in one place.

  20. Dave Carter
    C

    Sorry I had to post and run, but thank you all for the kind and gracious comments.  Eeyore, I suspect you’re right about what will be Obama’s reluctance to go quietly into the night, …or to go quietly anywhere else for that matter.  Though, if he loses in a big way, it may diminish his influence even as Jimmy Carter’s credibility took a beating after the 1980 election.