Generally, I wouldn’t put Barack Obama in the same category as Queen Marie Antoinette.
You remember her: the queen of France who famously lost her head – literally – as the French Revolution tore that country apart.
How could she – female, pampered, royal, wealthy, aristocrat – have any comparison to the man who is president of the United States at this pivotal time in history?
I never would have connected them, but the events playing out in Washington and in world politics have made me change my opinion.
I’d not been a scholar of the French Revolution – blame that on gaps in my education – but as time passed, I’ve learned a lot.
The recent graphic and stunning account of what happened during those days of civil and political unrest as described by Ann Coulter in her new book, “Demonic: How The Liberal Mob is Endangering America,” got my attention in ways I’d not thought about.
Prior to that, the constant, one-liner quote about the chaos in France in those days, which roiled not only that country but which spread politically and philosophically across Europe and the Western world, was Queen Marie Antoinette’s supposed rejoinder when she learned that the peasants had no bread to eat: “Let them eat cake.”
According to Coulter’s research, Marie Antoinette never said those words, but philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that he’d heard it years before from unnamed princes.
The problem is that the queen is blamed for the put-down, and it’s persisted over the centuries as a key example of uncaring elitism.
Was she was naïve, thinking everyone had the same choices she had and, therefore, if bread wasn’t available, cake was always there? On the other hand, she could be accused of being cold and crass and totally without compassion or consideration for those less fortunate than she.
It’s your choice. It depends on your politics, remembering always that we judge the past by the circumstances of today. While we don’t have the turmoil of revolutionary France going on, we do have similar political and philosophical conflicts. Like it or not, we have what appears to be a “revolution-lite” taking place in this country. If we’re not careful, the “lite” part of that is going to be lost and we’ll be facing the real deal.
So how does Obama compare to Marie Antoinette?
OK, he’s male; she’s female. I get the difference, but it also gives him more power in the workings of government. After all, she was queen by marriage. He was elected to office, head of the most powerful country in the world.
Given that, he’s more powerful than she, yet she was held responsible for all the unrest of her country.
But look at Obama: He claims no responsibility for anything negative, and he has the media in his pocket to protect him with positive reporting or by ignoring his most egregious faults and mistakes.
With all the financial and political turmoil swirling in Washington, none reflects on him. Whatever happens is the fault of George Bush (both of them) or the tea party or Republicans or Ronald Reagan.
Marie Antoinette was pampered.
Is there anyone who would say Obama is not pampered?
He’s led a charmed life, protected from any conflict, eased into the elite class and the white culture in this country at a time when race was a divisive issue. He went to the best schools and literally got whatever he wanted.
Marie Antoinette was wealthy.
She came from a good family, but being elevated to queen as a result of marriage changed her whole life. Money was no obstacle for her desires.
Barack Obama came from modest means, and today he is a multi-millionaire.
Clearly, no one could accomplish this alone, yet how he did it, who assisted him and why has been successfully hidden from public view – hidden because he doesn’t want that information known and has done all his power and money can accomplish to keep his personal history from public view.
Marie Antoinette was an aristocrat, but from all reports she maintained until the end a caring, charitable and kind nature.
Coulter reports that she was compassionate to the poor, eliminated class segregated seating at the palace and invited poor children to dine with her children.
Obama isn’t an aristocrat in the royal sense, but he is of the elite academic class and acts it to the hilt. A graduate of Ivy League schools, he has the air and demeanor of the privileged class. He’s never held a real job, never owned a business and is totally removed from the pain Americans are enduring in a devastating recession.
While he hasn’t said “let them eat cake” – his actions speak louder than those words.
Why else does he golf and vacation frequently, travel extensively like royalty with an entourage of family, friends, political contacts and, of course, security?
Why else would he declare he intends to raise billions to get re-elected at a time when people can’t find work and are losing their homes?
Why else would he stay aloof from the prolonged budget battles, except to issue threats to the Republicans or sneeringly demean millionaires and billionaires, corporate jet owners and oil companies – yet these are the same people he runs to for campaign contributions?
Why else does he have two, huge “birthday parties” disguised as fundraisers, attended by rich, famous entertainers and others and with specific orders at the White House event for no photographs to be taken or published.
The man who is president has no shame, no sense of propriety and no sense of decency and no class. Humility is not a word in his vocabulary.
Where is Marie Antoinette when we need her?