Change You Can, Well, Change

By , November 8, 2008 5:51 pm

As I wrote the other day, Obama is my President. I will not call him Hitler. I will not call him stupid. I will not say he is a fascist. And I will hope and pray for him to do his best for us. That said, I will express my concerns here and again. And here is one of them.

This is a screen shot from Obama’s transition site as it appeared on November 7, 2008 at 19:05:13 GMT that I retrieved from Google cache. Note the words “When you choose to serve” at the beginning of the block quote. Now read the 5th line of the explanation below the block quote: “by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service . . .” 

What’s going on here? When have “you choose” and I “require” ever meant the same thing? Words? Just words? Words have meaning, and the moment that you “require” something, my choice goes out the window. 

This is not the first time that our President-elect has played with the English language to make a point. Near the end of the recent Presidential campaign, then candidate, now President-elect Obama chided McCain/Palin for calling him a socialist because of his Joe-the-Plumber “spread the wealth” comment. According to Jake Tapper, Obama was stumping for his tax policies the other day and let loose this little gem:

“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this [his desire to spread the wealth] socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

Now, I’m seeing a pattern here. In this case, Obama seems to feel that we become selfless when we involuntarily pay taxes, as opposed to becoming selfless by donating or giving away our hard-earned money. In the case of service, he talks of choosing to serve because that way “you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . . for all Americans,” yet instead of allowing us to choose to do that, he’s going to require us to do it.

Apart from his obvious sleight of hand that results in his requiring that we choose or his acting as if mandatory taxes are selfless, there’s a larger point here: You can’t mandate character, so please Mr. President-elect, don’t talk as if character is one of the prizes that comes in your package of promises.

And speaking of character, I had to go to Google cache for that image above because soon after another blogger started talking about that page, someone at Obama HQ airbrushed the word “require” out of the picture. Instead, in the screen shot below, you’ll find the words “by setting a goal.”

We’ll see. As Instapundit points out, this is another pattern we’re seeing with President-elect Obama.

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