Robert Draper, a New York Times reporter who followed a few of the novice Republican Congressmen around Washington after their election in the 2010 landslide and then published his perceptions in "Do Not Ask What Good We Do," was likely struck by Blake Farenthold's resurrection of JFK's "do not ask what your country can do for you" and the further elaboration he quotes in his book:
"... this is the greatest country on earth! People are risking their lives every day to sneak into this country illegally, just for the chance to have an opportunity! And we are sitting here bickering! This is still the land of opportunity! We get there through had work, self-reliance, helping our family, and helping one another!"No doubt, when we talk to people who consider themselves a success, they'll ascribe that success to themselves. The American dream is really a myth cooked up by self-centered people who see no contradiction between praising the bravery of mirgrants and hunting them down as illegals in the desert. Farenthold, a Congressman from Texas, reveals his disconnect from reality in his diction. He feels, in the first person, singular and plural, but when it comes to "welfare," that's somebody else's concern. Indeed, the Congressman rejects that he's got an obligation, as an agent of government, to provide for the general welfare. Where do they get the idea that they've been chosen as some sort of moral paragon?
"And again, I feel like that's what's wrong with America today. We were built on rugged individualism and that's the American dream: going out and becoming a millionaire as a result of the fruits of your labors and the brilliance of your idea, not by sitting at home and watching Jerry Springer and getting your welfare check. If you talked to every successful person, they'll have failed at something."
Perhaps it's just a matter of not being able to comprehend the agency function. Perhaps "agent" gets confused with "actor." I'm indebted to Justice Kennedy for the distinction between those who govern and the agents of government. But, I suspect he draws the distinction between those who are directly elected and the selected bureaucrats or semi-permanent staff of regulation writers and paper pushers. He probably thinks that the top dogs, of which he is surely one, are designated to rule. It's an understandable mistake. After all, the people governing has yet to be realized. Indeed, much effort is being expended to insure it never comes to pass.