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Sunday, January 29, 2012

On "Envy"

So, tonight, I'm watching the SAG Awards on TV with one eye/ear as I tend to other stuff. I just had this tangentially connective thought as I ruminate on the 2012 presidential campaign.
MITT ROMNEY: "This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success."

"The bitter politics of envy?"

Well, apropos of Mr Romny's facile assertion, the graphic above pretty much sums up my "religious" beliefs, in addition to the "Thou Shalt Not Covet" admonishment of the Ten Commandments. Not that I'd fully assimilated all of that by age 5 or 10 or so. It took a remorse-precipitating, reflective whack upside the head by Kant and others in Grad School to fully drive the point home.

Well, so, yeah, of course, Mr. Romney's comment is the to-be-expected low-road hyperbole characteristic of much of American politics any more. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum and others have expediently riffed on this same shallow and dishonest anti-Obama theme ad nauseum as well.

to wit:

(Jan 29th, ABC News) House Speaker John Boehner defended calling President Obama’s economic message “almost un-American,” saying that the president is dividing middle income and wealthy Americans.

On Tuesday before the State of the Union address, Boehner criticized the president’s calls for increasing taxes on the wealthy, telling a group of reporters, “This is a president who said I’m not going to be a divider, I’m going to be a uniter, and running on the politics of division and envy is — to me it’s almost un-American.”

In an interview on “This Week,” Boehner told me, “What I’m talking about here is the politics of dividing America, the politics of envy. This is not the American way.”

As I watch the latest annual tripartite mutual love feast celebration of the Hollywood gliterati (Globes, SAG, and Oscars), I am struck by the extent to which we, in the aggregate, love our cinema stars and those who produce their works, people who mostly live lives of luxury utterly beyond our comprehension. Yeah, we'd all like to experience such comforts and perks. But, we don't begrudge them theirs.

NOTE: I am more in love with the work they do. It never ceases to amaze me that any film every gets made. The technical, logistical, financial, and ego-management requirements make the mind boggle if you are a diligent student of film at all (e.g., Google "Heaven's Gate").
Mr. Romney, we don't resent "success," we resent those who obtain it via slick zero-sum subterfuge that adds nothing to the advancement of a just, sustainable civilization.

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