Sticking Up For the Little Guy

Obama is truly the peoples’ man! He fights for the underdog – he plans to tax the wealthy and give to the poor. A latter-day Robin Hood kinda guy. Sounds great doesn’t it? BUT these tales of Guy-Fawkes style hero-villains come with Caveats that are sometimes forgotten.

Obama is definitely not shy about his tax proposals, and I realised this morning that his presidency may be marked by quite a few concessions given to the working class families. Could this even mean a very slight shift towards SOCIALISM for America?

One of the most fundamental tenets of a democracy is the freedom of choice. With choice comes risk. With risk comes the potential to fail. And failure results in poverty. Poverty is an inherent component of democracy and something we cannot take away no matter how much we may want to.

Perhaps oddly, the statement many on the left will use to justify this, is an utterance you might expect from the religious right: “Love thy neighbour”, the basic idea that we all deserve a chance in life, or the idea that everyone is entitled to some kind of basic living certainly don’t sound like bad ideas. But it’s actually the fairly inconspicuous words that polarise the debate : ‘deserve’, ‘entitled’.

To what extent am I responsible for my neighbour?

This is because the more conservative will tend to take a more competitive assessment of the situation – that wealth has to be worked for, risked, invested. And that – having earned the wealth by the rules fairly and squarely – it would be unfair of someone to suddenly change all that and simply take it away to pay for someone else’ failure.

But in all of this it is easy to forget that some are born into a situation in which there is no opportunity to grow. That – through no fault of their own – some potentially very useful members of society can become neglected. Yet with the smallest of contributions, some of these people might become a great asset to their families, to their community and to their country.

Clearly no man is an island. It would be foolish to assume that our success or failure happens in isolation with no impact to those around us. Equally, there must come a point when one person says to another ‘I have only a very tiny stake in your life, and you must bear most of the risk’.

I am really looking forward to Obamas presidency. He goes against the grain of everything we’ve seen so far. And when people call him ‘radical’ I jump for joy because it shows how far he is from where we are at the moment, and this can’t be a bad thing.