To the Editor,
State Delegate Dave Albo (R-42) wrote a distorted article [“‘Somebody Else’ Didn’t Come,” Connection, Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2012], repeating a false mantra about business owners that was attributed to President Obama by virtually every speaker at the Republican national convention.
Albo, like other Republican politicians, quoted the president completely out of context when he wrote “if you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The problem is that Albo chose to omit very important words that President Obama spoke immediately in front of the quoted line.
The president’s actual words were "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. Somebody else made that happen.”
Given reports by independent fact-checkers around the nation, I believe an astute politician like Albo knew he was taking the president’s remarks out of context to fit neatly into Republican Party political spin. But Albo does go on quite a bit in his article to cite his personal sacrifices as he built his law practice. Never once did he acknowledge any of the great teachers he surely had at West Springfield High School or the University of Virginia—the taxpayer funded education that gave Albo an opportunity in the first place. And he doesn’t mention the publicly owned roads and transportation infrastructure that his clients use to come to his law office, or the government’s legal system that makes the business of his law firm even possible. And he seemingly argues that those who are successful should not have to pay more taxes than anyone else, contrary to over 100 years of American history when our country became the greatest nation ever.
That is precisely President Obama’s point. People who are successful got help from others along the way. “Somebody else” did come for Albo whether he recognizes it or not. Success carries a moral obligation to help others have the same opportunities. At the least, I think Albo should show more gratitude for living in a country that gave him a chance to become successful.