Naomi Feil: the Spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas in America

Things are rarely what they seem, and sometimes it takes a bit of digging to catch on.

(a) Class Warfare Hurts the Poor and the Middle Class

For blacks or Hispanics who voted for Obama in the belief that he’d improve their economic situation, their financial situation at the end of this year proves they made a mistake. For blue-collar Americans, and the middle class in general who voted for Obama believing he’d soak the rich, the end of the year makes obvious that they were soaked, not the putative target:

According to Pew, [Research Center] which used data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, upper-income median net worth in 2013 was 6.6 times greater than the median net worth of middle-income families ($639,400 vs. $96,500).

That's up from 4.5 in 2007, the last year before the recession hit, and higher than it was in 2010, when the Obama recovery was just getting started. Pew also found that, prior to Obama, the biggest wealth gap in the past three decades was 5.0.

The study notes that the net worth of wealthy families is almost 70 times that of lower-income families, which is also the widest in three decades.

"The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families' wealth," Pew researchers Richard Fry and Rakesh Kochhar note, "and the economic 'recovery' has yet to be felt for them." (Note that the scare quotes around the word "recovery" were theirs, not ours.)

An earlier Pew paper found that whites have fared far better under Obama in terms of net worth than either blacks or Hispanics.

Obama routinely bashes "trickle down" economics. But it seems pretty clear that his attempt at "trickle up" growth has pretty much utterly failed.

In that respect, they are in no better situation than those Americans who thought that electing Obama would at last end what racial animus still remains. Instead, we regularly get evidence that both the president and his wife view everything through a racist prism.

This week was especially telling -- as the Garner, Brown, Trayvon cases dissolve under fair scrutiny.

(b) Race Warfare is Getting Harder to Justify

If you recall shortly before the last presidential election, Michelle Obama made a photo op trip to the Alexandria, Virginia Target, wearing a florid shirt and pants and disguised with big sunglasses and a baseball cap. Personally, we always doubted this was more than a campaign stunt. Are we supposed to believe cameramen just happened to be hanging around that store or that the Secret Service  was nowhere near her? In any event, she played this to the hilt on the Letterman show, an appearance clearly set up by the election campaign to underscore her populist nature. There she laughed about how no one recognized her:

 

MICHELLE OBAMA: I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said -- I kid you not -- she said, "Excuse me, I just have to ask you something," and I thought, "Oh, cover’s blown." She said, "Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?"  I kid you not…And the only thing she said -- I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down -- she said, "Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy." That was my interaction. I felt so good. ... She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up — I was with my assistant, and I said, ‘This is it, it’s over. We’re going to have to leave.’ She just needed the detergent..

Now, that her husband has been re-elected and the need for pretense diminished, she offered up an entirely different version of the event, one in which the request was evidence of the racism of her fellow shopper, implying, in the context of the piece that she was asked because someone assumed that she was a Target worker because she is black.

“even as the first lady -- during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new.” 

As this is the only evidence of her being the victim of a racist slight, one assumes that racism has been eradicated in America. (I am speaking as a very short old woman who frequently gets assistance respecting the overseas rack from fellow airline passengers or asks taller shoppers to help her with things on upper shelves. It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with heightism)

What better can we expect from the wife of a man who urged us to forego charitable contributions this year in lieu of contributing to his political chest?

(c) Ordinary Americans are the Real Heroes

This is the holiday season though, so let’s try to turn away from all the Obamas’ outrageous behavior and the evil in the world. I do not mean that we should adopt the mindless  “I’ll Ride With You“ nonsense in Australia  following the hostage taking and murder in the Lindt chocolate shop satirized by Iowahawk. The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto reminded us of the phrase to describe it --  “pathological altruism -- by Barbara Oakley. My friend Alex Bensky has an equally fine descriptor: “the rapture of righteousness”. No, that is not what I mean at all,

I mean the kind of  goodness which ordinary Americans demonstrate day after day and which binds us together even in the face of  faked-up racism, mendacious claims of sexism and sexual violence, and phony appeals to class warfare.

This year my nominee for the best exemplar of that American spirit of loving charity is Naomi Feil. I cannot watch this white, Jewish woman bringing love and life to an elderly black woman through song and touch, without tearing up:

 
I hope that despite all the excessive commercialism of the season, the hustle and bustle, the moronic political-media cant, you will remember when you watch this that millions of your countrymen and women day after day with no publicity or personal gain, eschewing mindless raptures of righteousness, give love and hope to others, and that -- not Emmys, Oscars, spreads in People, political office,  booming bottom lines -- is the spirit of this holiday and of every day in America  before and after this joyous season.

Things are rarely what they seem, and sometimes it takes a bit of digging to catch on.

(a) Class Warfare Hurts the Poor and the Middle Class

For blacks or Hispanics who voted for Obama in the belief that he’d improve their economic situation, their financial situation at the end of this year proves they made a mistake. For blue-collar Americans, and the middle class in general who voted for Obama believing he’d soak the rich, the end of the year makes obvious that they were soaked, not the putative target:

According to Pew, [Research Center] which used data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, upper-income median net worth in 2013 was 6.6 times greater than the median net worth of middle-income families ($639,400 vs. $96,500).

That's up from 4.5 in 2007, the last year before the recession hit, and higher than it was in 2010, when the Obama recovery was just getting started. Pew also found that, prior to Obama, the biggest wealth gap in the past three decades was 5.0.

The study notes that the net worth of wealthy families is almost 70 times that of lower-income families, which is also the widest in three decades.

"The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families' wealth," Pew researchers Richard Fry and Rakesh Kochhar note, "and the economic 'recovery' has yet to be felt for them." (Note that the scare quotes around the word "recovery" were theirs, not ours.)

An earlier Pew paper found that whites have fared far better under Obama in terms of net worth than either blacks or Hispanics.

Obama routinely bashes "trickle down" economics. But it seems pretty clear that his attempt at "trickle up" growth has pretty much utterly failed.

In that respect, they are in no better situation than those Americans who thought that electing Obama would at last end what racial animus still remains. Instead, we regularly get evidence that both the president and his wife view everything through a racist prism.

This week was especially telling -- as the Garner, Brown, Trayvon cases dissolve under fair scrutiny.

(b) Race Warfare is Getting Harder to Justify

If you recall shortly before the last presidential election, Michelle Obama made a photo op trip to the Alexandria, Virginia Target, wearing a florid shirt and pants and disguised with big sunglasses and a baseball cap. Personally, we always doubted this was more than a campaign stunt. Are we supposed to believe cameramen just happened to be hanging around that store or that the Secret Service  was nowhere near her? In any event, she played this to the hilt on the Letterman show, an appearance clearly set up by the election campaign to underscore her populist nature. There she laughed about how no one recognized her:

 

MICHELLE OBAMA: I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said -- I kid you not -- she said, "Excuse me, I just have to ask you something," and I thought, "Oh, cover’s blown." She said, "Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?"  I kid you not…And the only thing she said -- I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down -- she said, "Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy." That was my interaction. I felt so good. ... She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up — I was with my assistant, and I said, ‘This is it, it’s over. We’re going to have to leave.’ She just needed the detergent..

Now, that her husband has been re-elected and the need for pretense diminished, she offered up an entirely different version of the event, one in which the request was evidence of the racism of her fellow shopper, implying, in the context of the piece that she was asked because someone assumed that she was a Target worker because she is black.

“even as the first lady -- during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new.” 

As this is the only evidence of her being the victim of a racist slight, one assumes that racism has been eradicated in America. (I am speaking as a very short old woman who frequently gets assistance respecting the overseas rack from fellow airline passengers or asks taller shoppers to help her with things on upper shelves. It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with heightism)

What better can we expect from the wife of a man who urged us to forego charitable contributions this year in lieu of contributing to his political chest?

(c) Ordinary Americans are the Real Heroes

This is the holiday season though, so let’s try to turn away from all the Obamas’ outrageous behavior and the evil in the world. I do not mean that we should adopt the mindless  “I’ll Ride With You“ nonsense in Australia  following the hostage taking and murder in the Lindt chocolate shop satirized by Iowahawk. The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto reminded us of the phrase to describe it --  “pathological altruism -- by Barbara Oakley. My friend Alex Bensky has an equally fine descriptor: “the rapture of righteousness”. No, that is not what I mean at all,

I mean the kind of  goodness which ordinary Americans demonstrate day after day and which binds us together even in the face of  faked-up racism, mendacious claims of sexism and sexual violence, and phony appeals to class warfare.

This year my nominee for the best exemplar of that American spirit of loving charity is Naomi Feil. I cannot watch this white, Jewish woman bringing love and life to an elderly black woman through song and touch, without tearing up:

 
I hope that despite all the excessive commercialism of the season, the hustle and bustle, the moronic political-media cant, you will remember when you watch this that millions of your countrymen and women day after day with no publicity or personal gain, eschewing mindless raptures of righteousness, give love and hope to others, and that -- not Emmys, Oscars, spreads in People, political office,  booming bottom lines -- is the spirit of this holiday and of every day in America  before and after this joyous season.