The Helping A Hero organization has a mission:
Empowering our severely wounded veterans returning from service in the War on Terror, primarily by partnering with the wounded hero to provide specially adapted homes to reintegrate them into their community.
Their tagline is “Empowering wounded veterans, one home at a time.” They look to be a focused, and worthwhile organization.
But this post is not about Helping A Hero, wounded warriors, or the organizations that support them. It is about perspective.
In 2012 former president George W. Bush spoke at a fundraiser dinner for the Texas-based non-profit. According to a July 8, 2015 article in The Hill, Bush commanded $100,000 for the speech. The amount reflected a large discount from Bush’s normal fee of $250,000. ABC News reported the use of a private jet to shuttle President Bush, a convenience valued at $20,000.
A lawyer for Helping A Hero claims to have raised “a million extra dollars” for their investment. (See the video at ABC link.)
How much a former president gets paid for giving a speech should be up to the man and the organization. I’m not a member of Helping A Hero, and until yesterday didn’t know they existed. If Bush can turn $100k into $1M they may have him back. Ten times your money is a strong return on any investment. Just ask Grandpa’s puny certificate of deposit down at First Federal.
But what if President Obama had done the same thing six years after leaving office? What if a headline read, “President Obama charges wounded veterans group $100,000 for a speech”? I can only imagine the responses from some corners of social media.
“Obama hates the troops…even the wounded ones”
“You’ll never believe what Obama charged to ‘help’ wounded vets”
“Bush loves our veterans more than Obama and here’s proof”
“Just another instance of Obama disrespecting our veterans”
And what if Michelle Obama had charged $50,000 to speak to the same group in a different year? The First Lady, who has been subjected to the vile, speculative, and juvenile comments over the last few years would have been pilloried and mocked forever. Sean Hannity would need a third hand to shuffle all his paperwork.
But $50,000 is the amount Laura Bush received from Helping A Hero in 2011.
There is hypocrisy in America today. It is overt and deep-seated. If Obama gave his entire salary to the homeless one year, some would complain because he didn’t write a check. If he wrote a check the next year, they’d complain about his handwriting.
When one president is routinely hammered for doing things a different president is praised for doing, it’s a problem. The Bible says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” There is a lot of double mindedness in presidential perspective. (Those of you on the Left don’t fall off your high horse. The same kinds of biased misrepresentations were leveled against GWB after eight years of Clinton.)
We who are followers of Jesus face ongoing pressure to conform to political norms. For some there is no anti-Obama meme, however specious and easily disproven, that will not be shared on Facebook. There is no limit to the duplicity displayed to put down the current president while elevating a former.
How have we reached the point where we who are commanded to pray for the president, spend hours marshaling personal attacks?
This is a call for consistency, truth seeking, and truth telling. He who is the Truth deserves such representation.
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