Comedian Trevor Noah and political commentator Van Jones have recently made some absurd claims in their defense of former President Barack Obama decision to take big payouts for speeches to Wall Street firms and other special interest groups that even Obama admits have undue influence over political policy in Washington, DC.
Van Jones suggested that Obama was taking the money so as not to be a broke ex-president but that is nonsense when ex-Presidents since the 1950s get the biggest welfare checks of anyone to the tune of almost a quarter of a million dollars per year including free healthcare. Jones is also not taking into account that Obama used his first run for President to make millions from his book “Dreams from My Father” and recently signed a $65 million dollar book deal. However, I do like Van Jones suggestion that Obama does a poverty tour to highlight income inequality in the United States but if that was in his heart to do, to help the poor post-presidency like Jimmy Carter, then no one should have to suggest such a thing to Obama. Obama is no Martin Luther King Jr. who before being assassinated was an advocate for the poor in general and an advocate for reparations for the descendants of slavery something Obama was solidly against doing.
The most ludicrous defense of Obama’s post-presidency cash grab came from Daily Show host Trevor Noah who played the race card to perhaps rally black people to stand up for Obama’s “right” to enrich himself while at the same time giving speeches to poor and middle class children about how special interest groups have too much influence over Washington politics.
“People are like why doesn’t he not accept the money? No, f*** that,” Noah said. “So the first black president must also be the first one to not take money afterwards? No no no my friend. He can’t be the first of everything! F*** that, and f*** you. Make that money, Obama!”
Noah sounds like he is trying to appeal to the gangster rap crowd that listens and raps along to songs that promote getting money by any means necessary and that engaging in unethical means in getting money is completely justifiable.
Can we please stop pretending as if Obama was some ethical giant among corrupt politicians and was scandal-free during his administration? Can we please stop pretending he isn’t like four of the worst ex-Presidents like Reagan, both the Bushes and Bill Clinton in terms of enriching themselves by cozying up to Wall Street post-presidency? Can we finally accept that Obama was not “change you can believe in” but simply more of the same and continues to prove it in his post-presidency? If he wants to be “paid in full” like the rapper Rakim rapped about in 1987 and make even more millions than he already has then it would be ethical for Obama to remove himself from the policy and personnel decisions of the Democratic Party. It was recent that he endorsed his former labor Secretary Tom Perez for the DNC chair, the same DNC that is arguing in court right now that it has a right to rig its own primary elections despite what their charter says about conducting fair and impartial elections.
You cannot both serve the people and the corporate masters, you will either cling to one and despise the other as scripture says, you cannot both serve God and Money. Obama cannot serve the masses of disenfranchised people in this country when he is an active participant in their disenfranchisement taking big money payoffs from the corporate and wealthy class.
In closing, if getting paid millions to give speeches to Wall Street firms and banks is going to be the norm for ex-Presidents, I propose legislation to eliminate the lifetime $200,000 plus a year salary they get for only 4 years of work and since they are wealthy now, they should be forced to buy their own damn health insurance like everyone else who isn’t poor and eliminate their free government health care. Every ex-President alive (except one) has used that office to enrich themselves post-Presidency, why should the people be forced to continue to subsidize their lavish lifestyles? Can you imagine being forced to subsidize billionaire Donald Trump’s lifestyle once he leaves office and the outcry from the same people who are defending multi-millionaire Obama right now?
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