Praise his charisma, his ability to relate, the supposedly debonair figure he cuts in a suit, but realize Obama emerged Tuesday as the anti-JFK with a refrain that should offend young Americans: ask what your government can do for you, not what you can do for your country.
I’m part of this young vote, an age bracket known for waging daily Wars of Independence. And this dearly-bought trait is exactly what Obama wants to rob me of.
Take his tax plan. As a young voter earning a typical starting salary (which puts me in the 95 percent Obama has decreed “middle class”), I get a tax cut, but at the expense of 5 percent of my fellow workers, who will pick up the slack in the budget.
I know a lot of hard-working Americans — such as my father — who fall into that 5 percent. They’ve worked darn hard to get there, often at the expense of their health. They may live comfortably, but they’re not living like Brad Pitt, either. Yet Obama proposes I vote so that I get a tax break which my father will have to pay for. So much for being financially independent. So much for the dreams of my father.
Obama also told me Tuesday night that I had a “right” to health care. There’s a reason the Declaration of Independence does not read life, liberty, and the pursuit of health care. Depending on Uncle Sam for health care isn’t a declaration of independence — it’s a declaration of dependence. Obama invokes a truly touching story about his mother dying of cancer and having to argue with insurance companies over coverage. But one thing is more certain than death and taxes: increased government oversight always brings more arguing, not less. Any young adult who has stood in line at the DMV to get his or her driver’s license can agree with that.
It’s appalling that a candidate who has reached out to young Americans with the lifeline of hope and change wants to foster a culture of dependence, and, even worse, selfishness. Every sacrifice of independence Obama asks me to make is an appeal to this cardinal sin of youth – the government owes me health care, the government owes me a share of the fiscal prosperity others have worked so hard to gain.
Yes, Obama has encouraged us to serve through his brainchild — a massive, government-sponsored volunteer program. But even this call involves a deeper dependence on government. Since when did people need a government program to give them opportunities to serve? Charity starts with your neighbor. It does not start in Washington.
To my generation: we can do better. We can — and should — set a higher standard for ourselves than Obama is asking. He wants the government to hand us our health care, our education, other people’s money, even our community service. He wants us to be the generation of soup kitchens — but with the mentality he’s fostering in us, we will be the ones standing in line for handouts at the end of his term.
McCain and Palin, meanwhile, have encouraged me to shoulder responsibility, work hard, and enjoy the fruits of my labor, not someone else’s. My country fought a war for this independence. Which ticket really believes in it?