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I was driving home from work listening to KQED radio, as I always do on any drive that is more than a minute long when I heard the brief news snippet about President Obama calling Americans lazy.  Of course, I am sure that there is an explanation because when speaking politics, a language I don’t usually speak, the mountain is always a molehill. 

Apparently, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have taken a statement made by President Obama, in reference to a collective effort to improve foreign investment in the U.S., and run with it full force.  President Obama made his statement on Nov. 12, 2011.

“Well, this is an issue, generally. I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.

But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America…”

On November 16th, four days and obviously-no-time-to-really-comprehend-the-meaning later, Perry began running an ad on national and local cable tv stations blasting the President for calling Americans lazy.

“The 30-second ad begins with a video snippet of Obama saying, “We’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades.” It then cuts to Perry saying, “Can you believe that? That’s what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy? That’s pathetic. It’s time to clean house in Washington.” (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2011-11-17/obama-lazy-comment-romney-perry/51271866/1)

Get a Webster’s New College Dictionary, Perry!

Context: n. 1. The part of a written or spoken statement that surrounds a word or passage and that often specifies its meaning. 2. The circumstances in which a particular event occurs: SITUATION.

Really, Rick, Obama called Americans lazy?  First of all, so freaking what if he did.  In many cases we are lazy and we are raising lazy next generations.  But that is clearly a topic for another time; a time when there is no reference to Obama since it would be gross negligence to interpret Obama’s statement with such a juvenile approach to the understanding of language and context.  My grammar school teachers have me better prepared than that.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about whether you like Obama or not.  This is not about whether you would vote for him, believe in him, ever voted for him or ever believed in him.  That is absolutely not necessary to see the distortion of facts in Rick Perry’s ad.  And for those of you who would say that it is irrelevant, I would have to disagree.  How much of what you don’t like about Obama or any other political candidate for any office is based on that person’s doings versus another candidates wrenching of truths or removal of context? 

I like Obama and I really don’t care who doesn’t.  I can respect your political choices as I would expect a mutual respect of mine.  However, if your fail safe justification for dislike is that he is “not doing anything”, it makes me wonder how can one expect anyone to accomplish anything when others are, at every turn, standing in the way.  Would you get pissed at your kids for not sweeping when you took away the broom?  If you take away the tools (votes) necessary to move an agenda forward then you, logically speaking, cannot fault someone else for failure to progress.  Anger and frustration should be directed at those that put up the barricades despite the ill-effect that it would have on the average person.  But, instead take away the tools and then point at he who is without, that works.

As I pulled to the stop sign by my son’s preschool after hearing “the rest of the story”, I just wondered if politicians really believe us all to be idiots.  Ok.  Not me because Rick is definitely not speaking to me.  Politicians are like the Bible-toter who can always find the right passage in the Bible to point out what you are doing wrong but, never seems to find the one that would direct them away from judging others, sleeping with their lover, having a bastard child. You get my point.

Perry also accuses Obama of “fingerpointing” and taking no responsibility.  I just want to bring us back to a basic understanding of the English language.  Again, let’s visit the Webster Dictionary:

we: pron.  (pl. in number). 1. – Used by the speaker or writer to indicate the speaker or writer along with another or others as the subject.

Do I really need to explain this any further?  Obama did not say you or they, which would be indicative of finger pointing.  He included himself as a part of the lazy ones; a part of those that have slept on the opportunities or necessity to “sell” America.  And really, I am not going to pull a Perry by insinuating that my audience is less than able to understand basic grammar principles so I won’t go further with this explanation.  You get it; I am sure.

If you are for Rick Perry, more power to you.  I am not professing to be all knowledgeable about politics or anything else and I don’t know much about Rick Perry but, I just can’t help but think that anyone absorbing the distortion and cheering him on must be a massive idiot.

Context people.  Context.  The context of any situation or sentence is essential to the understanding of its meaning.  Taken out of context, any one thing can have a multitude of meanings.

Context.  If it is not given, then find it before going down the stupid street.

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