Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tribal Mentality . . . Alive and Well

Attending a family gathering yesterday, two people (who I love and will therefore remain unnamed) took delight in ridiculing and criticizing the president for his recent comments.  Agitating me, that's the name of the game, of course.  I get it.  But still.  They know I will take the bait.

So here goes . . .

They each are, or have been, small business owners. The comments they attributed to the president were that he claimed it was not THEM who built their businesses; i.e., it was not through THEIR efforts they were successful in their businesses.

My response then was, and still is, any time I listen to President Obama speaking, I mostly agree with everything he says.

I made the point I always make -- Left and Right -- politicians, Talking Heads, Media -- all distort and misrepresent what the other side is saying. Biased Left or Right -- that's the name of the game.

How sad so many "regular" Folks seem to have a hard time acknowledging this. I guess it's because they are biased too. Since they repeat these "taken out of context" statements to ridicule, criticize, and make fun of the person or thing they dislike.

Know anyone like that???????
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I actually had heard part of the speech being quoted -- something happened and I missed some of it -- a few nights ago. So I went looking for it online a few minutes ago -- and found it, of course. As usual and as I expected, Obama's few statements -- that were being ridiculed and criticized -- were said in a context totally different from what was now being expressed.

Why am I not surprised?
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A Portion of a GREAT Speech --

--- Quote  --
"I’ve got a different idea. I do believe we can cut -- we’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently. (Applause.) Not every government program works the way it’s supposed to. And frankly, government can’t solve every problem. If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, government can’t always help them. Parents -- we can put more money into schools, but if your kids don’t want to learn it’s hard to teach them. (Applause.)

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them. So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. (Applause.) And, by the way, we’ve tried that before -- a guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, TURNED A DEFICIT INTO A SURPLUS, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together. (Applause.)

---End Quote
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Great Campaign Speech, Mr. President.  Encouraging -- Uplifting.  Like it's supposed to be.  You The Man!
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Throughout human history "tribal mentaliy" has thrived. The idea that MY tribe is better than YOUR tribe. In American Indian culture/language each tribe used words to describe themselves as "the people" and all the other tribes were just "the other". Which, of course, then made it so easy to kill "the other".

Throughout history tribal mentality produces discord, hatred, and eventually war.

Hurray for tribes . . . NOT!

And that's what Sarah Says on 07/22/2012


  1. Thanks for sharing. What Obama said is SO not what many, many people heard - or chose to hear. People who are grateful for what they have or have done always acknowledge that they couldn't have gotten it on their own without the help of someone or many people.

  2. Great post, Sarah!
    I heard the quotes also and thought, "REALLY?" He really said that? And of course you've shown that he did say it, but in a different context that it is being portrayed.
    I agree totally that the extremes in our country distort everything so that their side "wins." I'm making it a practice not to enter into a conversation supporting either side without checking my facts first. And going back to the source, just like you did--not a TV commentator worried about ratings.
    Unfortunately, there are a number of people I used to respect because I shared their ideas, but in many cases I'm now finding that they have twisted the rhetoric for their advantage and it reflects poorly on them as well as the one they are quoting.
    Now sure where all this stops, but I'll be checking on real facts and voting with my heart this election.