In the gospel according to Obama, three things remain forever ... celebrity, apology and sacrifice. It's a toss up as to which of these he thinks is the greatest.
Celebrity is certainly important to him. The fawning press always adds a bit of unthinking adulation to an evening out, which eliminates the need for pharmaceutical assistance on Presidential date nights. And it is celebrity which allows him, like a superstar athlete or the current box office phenom, to embrace that sense of entitlement, the infallibility of purpose and the disdain for the laws of the common people.
Apology is also an essential part of Obama. Internationally, he apologizes on our behalf, though he is, of course, blameless. Domestically it's a little trickier because he must demand apologies from some groups and completely ignore the need for confession in others. I've made a handy list, in case you are keeping score:
private bond holders
executives with compensation contracts
the poor bastard who took the fall for the Air Force One & Statue of Liberty photo shoot
Pro-life groups & Bill O'Reilly for the murder of Dr. Tiller
Americans who drive SUVs and use incandescent bulbs or plastic grocery bags
politicians corrupted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who instigated the housing crisis
Mr. & Mrs. Obama for their extravagant date night and frequent international faux pas
Muslim extremists, Microsofts 'Rendition' game for XBox, Keith Olbermann and Code Pink for the murder of Pvt. William Long
Environmentalists who have crippled our infrastructure and undermined our national security
Recently, however, sacrifice seems to be taking the lead, at least in terms of frequency. We are hearing it more often than 'self reflection' (which is the precursor to apology) and 'the rule of law' (which, for celebrities, should actually be read as 'the rule of MY law'). Every college graduate in the country is now expected to sacrifice their personal success, and the investment in their education, for the good of the community. And those dang rich people just have not given enough; they need to bleed. And American citizens in general will just have to suck it up and suffer more taxes, greater debt, fewer choices and the undermining of our entire social fabric because, well, that's the sacrifice we will have to make to implement Obama's vision which, as an added benefit, will secure the political power base for the socialist cause for decades.
As much as I hate to drag out the cliched 'according to Webster', it's instructive here. The dictionary has three primary definitions for 'sacrifice.'
1. The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.
2. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.
3. Relinquishment of something at less than its presumed value.
In this case, all definitions apply.
Obama perceives himself as a deity, or at least considers his vision of re-made America as an ideological (holy?) mission, to which we owe homage. A wide variety of things are being slaughtered ... capitalism, individualism, personal responsibility, liberty, ambition. If you're the deity, sacrifice is a beautiful thing.* Things are going bad? Obviously, the worshippers have not sacrificed enough! Things are going great? Obviously, the worshippers need to sacrifice more in thanks for their blessings! It's not so much 'win-win' as 'those in charge can't lose.'
Obama told the Notre Dame grads that they will be expected to "struggle together, and sacrifice together." To what end? Why, to serve "the community" of course! Those things you highly value, your labor, your education, your liberty, your individualism, well, they are now less important than the community, the government, the state. When I review my 20th century history, several national leaders promoted the old 'duty to the state' idea ... Wilson, FDR, Kennedy ... Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot. If Obama had any intelligence, he would realize that his famous "failed policies of the past" comment is actually referring to these guys, not Bush!
Obama also devalues what he's asking us to give up; what we have, individually, is not nearly as important as what the government needs. He thinks money is not valuable to 'the rich', which completely ignores the human effort required to obtain it. Higher taxes for the rich is just a marginal sacrifice in his world. He's right in one sense, money, in itself, is not that important. But when you declare that a college education is a right, and everyone is entitled to it, not only do you water down the experience and put it on the path to mediocrity, you also eliminate the effort and the striving for success that makes it valuable in the first place. When you declare that housing must be affordable to all, you can't elevate the poor without bringing down the rich, which eliminates the incentive to acheive. When Obama insists that our safety and security were acheived through illegal and unprincipled means, he is removing the honor and pride that must be assigned to the task, if you expect good men and women to volunteer and perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice.
True leaders strive for respect, not celebrity. They trade in principles, not apology. They make sacrifices; they don't demand them.
I have sacrificed quite a bit recently. Income. My retirement investments. Time to spend on things like this blog. Peace of mind about my families future. My faith in the American political process. My sense of humor.
I am, however, willing to give up a bit more if necessary ... for the good of the country, of course.
Things I am willing to sacrifice:
The Department of Education
My compact fluorescent light bulbs
An extra clip of ammo so that someone else can be armed
The Department of Agriculture
50% of my Social Security contributions to date in exchange for the rest in cash, right now
Any and all Obama press coverage except one annual State of the Union address or, even better, testimony at the impeachment
* I have to thank Rob Bell and his "The Gods Aren't Angry" tour for this particular insight.