Your View: Guest Column - Read ‘you didn’t build that’ in proper context

Dec. 22, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

BY JODY MCGHEE

Many of President Obama’s opponents have made a fetish out of his “you didn’t build that” comment back in the summer of 2012.
Here is what President Obama actually said:
“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” he said. “You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that,” he continued. “Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.”
Now, if you choose to believe that he really meant that you did not build your own business, you are free to do so.  But I think he was referring to the infrastructure which allows free enterprise to thrive.
Allow me to point out that Gov. Mitt Romney said something very similar to the 2002 Olympic team.  If you don’t believe me, look it up on You Tube.  He told the athletes that they did not get there by themselves, but that they stood on the shoulders of other people who paved the way for them.  Here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8Yp9SVSWJU
Or just go to You Tube and search “Mitt Romney’s 2002 Opening Ceremony Speech.”
You may prefer to continue to believe that the worst thing that could happen is not a bird flu pandemic that kills 50 million people, not a nuclear war that kills 200 million people, and not an asteroid hitting the Earth and killing everyone on it. No, you may choose to believe that the worst thing that could ever happen is for some undeserving poor people to have taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.  It still is a free country. You can believe what you want.  Oh, and by the way, Ms. Foody (Your View, Nov. 29), you can buy Christmas stamps at the post office, just like always.  But you are free to believe otherwise.

Jody McGhee lives in High Point.