|Obama Phone "official website"|
After watching this video which one of the following best describes your reaction:
a) OUTRAGE!!! More taxpayer-funded FREEBIES for lazy MOOCHERS!!!!
b) *Eyeroll* With Breitbart dead this can only be the work of Drudge or Limbaugh
If you picked (a) then you have failed modern American civics. You are not nearly cynical enough to be an informed member of the voting bloc. If you picked (b) then congratulations! You can vote with the satisfaction that you can deduce humor and/or subterfuge without it affecting your franchise.
The video was put up on Drudge's site and Rush Limbaugh weighed in today:
So these are the people that don’t like Romney because of what he said about 47%? No, these are the 47%!… She knows. She knows how to get this free Obama phone. She knows everything about it. She may not know who George Washington is or Abraham Lincoln, but she knows how to get an Obama phone.
Of course, it's all bullshit. TPM reports:
Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.
The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.
The president has no direct impact on the program, and one could hardly call these devices "Obama Phones"... This specific program, SafeLink, started under President George [H.W.] Bush, with grants from an independent company created under President Bill Clinton, which was a legacy of an act passed under President Franklin Roosevelt, which was influenced by an agreement reached between telecommunications companies and the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.
I'm just counting the days until this election is over. The latest idiocy is that President Obama is handing out free cell phones?!! It's an awesome idea to get the juices flowing, containing just enough truthiness about the alleged welfare takers and the injustice of free luxury appliances being handed out.
The lady in the video is animated, the perfect protagonist for the meme. We know that she is one of the following: a) crazy, b) a paid participant, or c) messin' with whitey.
Personally I vote for (c), and kudos to her if she is.
About 3 days after the election in November 2008 I was riding in a hospital elevator with an older colleague who was a former hospital chief-of-staff, a well-respected, compassionate and skilled surgeon...and also a vociferous opponent of Barack Obama. We were on our way back from lunch discussing either the recent Bears game or perhaps a patient's care, and in steps a young, thin, 30-ish black male, slightly unkempt, t-shirt untucked, rheumy eyes carrying a cafeteria tray containing two sandwiches, two sodas and a salad.
He was animated and joking. ""G'afternoon. How you 'bofe' this lovely afternoon?"
"Good, yourself?" I said.
My colleague, I'll call him Ken, grunted and looked at the panel of buttons. "Which floor?" he asked the younger man.
"Number 2, thank you," the black man said. Then he looks down at his tray and looks up at the two of us and adds, "You know, after January 20th I'll get this food for free."
"Huh?" I took the bait.
"Sure. Barack Obama is going to be Prez-dent of the United States!" he shouted and grinned broadly, demonstrating an incomplete set of tobacco stained teeth. "Yup. Prez-dent."
I smiled; Ken grunted, a little louder than before. The elevator door opened and the three of us departed. The young man headed over to the inpatient surgery waiting area, and Ken and I continued down the long hallway.
"See, this is what we've done to our country, Tony," Ken said. He knew that I had voted for Obama and his tone was just a touch scolding.
"Ken, don't you get it? He's messin' with us. It's funny."
"...and he's proud, maybe. Who knows? I'm sure this is an emotional time for him."
Ken continued down the long hallway and I turned around because I remembered that I had to go to a different department on the other side of the hospital. I passed by the surgical waiting room and looked in. The young black man was now standing with an older black lady, probably his mother or aunt, both had tears. They were talking with one of the urological surgeons who was clearly relating serious news, probably about a father, a husband, or an uncle.
The tray of soon-to-be-free food was sitting on a chair, untouched.
I kept walking.
I don't know a lot, but I know that young man was worried about a lot more than getting free food. His humor, whether a defense mechanism or a diversion from his concerns, was not malicious or intended to be literal. He was just messin' with us--- pushing a button, and it worked. It was funny. Thank you, young man, wherever you are.