Perhaps Obama’s “Roanoke Moment” this past week has deeper significance. Roanoke was the name of the famous Lost Colony.
The first English Colony of Roanoke, originally consisting of 100 householders, was founded in 1585, 22 years before Jamestown and 37 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, under the ultimate authority of Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1584 Raleigh had been granted a patent by Queen Elizabeth I to colonize America.
Drake left behind 15 of his own men, who were never heard from again. This foreshadowed one of the great mysteries of North America, Roanoke’s so-called “Lost Colony” of 90 men, 17 women and 9 children, founded in 1587 and discovered to be missing in 1590, but for the word “Croatan” carved on a post. Although both the English and the Spanish searched for clues to the colony’s disappearance for many years, the mystery has never been solved.
Like the Roanoke colony, the President’s appeal to Americans has gone missing.
After a stunned silence from the major media outlets (except, of course for Fox News), the President’s propaganda purveyors in the media, his surrogates in the “progressive” punditry and his supporters have all been rushing to explain to all of us in a trademarked “progressive” process called What He Really Meant tm.
The illogic of our contemporary times demands that we focus on two sentences and debate to no end about What He Really Meant tm by dissecting every word in a Clintonian exercise of word parsing. Just like Clinton’s deposition in Le Affaire Lewinsky, we must discern what the meaning of “is” is when Obama said:
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.
The argument has focused on the highlighted sentence and What He Really Meant tm when he said those words.
I can agree that there is the possibility that the sentence refers directly to the immediately preceding sentence, meaning that he was speaking directly about infrastructure. That is entirely possible but as I have commented before, this is a trick, a distraction to draw focus to the minutia of the meaning of a sentence and allow that debate to obscure the real issue – we focus far too much attention on the intent of the statement and not the result of it.
Taken in total context, bridges or infrastructure aside, the President’s speech was about government involvement in American life and his intent to continue to expand that role. The entire speech is filled with platitudes about cutting government waste and increasing taxes on the rich, how no one should go bankrupt due to health issues and examples of government driving innovation better than the private sector by inventing the internet, etc. Except for those two sentences of the Roanoke Moment, it was a completely unremarkable stump speech that could have been delivered by any “progressive” politician in the past 30 years.
But the Roanoke Moment changes the context of the entire speech, validating that a “government first” ethos always lurks just below the surface of the “progressive” mind.
It is clear to most that they are previewing a world where government takes the lead, determines that direction and provides the means , a world where the “somebody else” in “somebody else made that happen” is the government collective – but, as if to avoid conjuring a demon, “progressives” dare never to speak its name. When they get too close, we are treated to endless rounds of What He Really Meant tm from all angles but the actions, not the words, of Obama, the Congressional Democrats and his influential supporters have well established their devotion to a Keynesian approach to governance as well as economics, believing that along with economic growth, power and control also flow down from Washington – rather than up from the people. Newsflash to the “progressives” – you ain’t fooling anybody.
It is a world that I want no part of.
I was dumbstruck by this quote uttered by Ayn Rand’s lead character in The Fountainhead, Howard Roark – due both to its applicability to this election and to its visceral truth as applied to America:
America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance—and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.
In light of Roark’s statement, I would offer this:
- “Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” False – DARPA did create the internet but not for the purpose of business. It was created so that research universities could have a secure network to share data over. It was not until the Internet was privatized did it become commercialized and useful to business and the public alike. The government didn’t invent browser technology, FaceBook, Google or Microsoft.
- “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.”Actually roads and bridges are built as a response to a need. If the need for travel is great, then roads get built – we don’t build them first and then people come. There are commercial reasons for transport and the more the need the larger the road…all financed by taxpayers.
From the space program to Obamacare, all the vehicles used to achieve goals came out of the pocket of the individual taxpayer and a result of the initiative of the individual…and more importantly, the mind of the individual.
I think the producers and looters of America understand that – I just pray that there are enough producers left to exact a price for the President’s Roanoke Moment and make a difference in November.