Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm not sure if any of you have heard - but President Obama is going on vacation next week. He'll be taking what seems to be becoming an annual summer stay on Martha's Vineyard with his wife and kids.

And if you've heard about that, you've probably also heard about the folks who are all up in arms because the President is taking a vacation while the economy is in the tank and markets are in flux and unemployment is high.

Now... I normally try to avoid teetering on politics on the blog, and really what I'm about to say isn't all that political. It's a bit more pragmatic than it is political.

I'll touch briefly on the economy before I get to my real point. A couple of weeks ago Steve and I went to a baseball game wearing non-descript T-shirts and jeans. If you didn't hear us cheering, you never would have known that we were there to see the Red Sox play. So after some deliberation, we decided to go ahead and get ourselves Red Sox caps (queue Kenny Chesney music...) to the tune of $50 total. Steve posted a picture on Facebook & Twitter of us in our new caps with a comment of why the heck did we just spend $50 on Red Sox caps.

Doing our part for the economy and Red Sox Nation.

Within minutes he received a comment from a friend of ours reminding us that we're Americans and the economy needs us to spend money in order to be stimulated. Economies are stimulated when money - real money, not lots of credit card usage - is spent by those who are able to spend it. President Obama (like all presidents before him) makes a substantial salary for running one of the most powerful nations in the world; if he wants to spend $50,000 of his money to rent a beach house - please, by all means - let the man stimulate the economy.

Now... onto the bigger point I want to make. This one goes out to all those critics who are saying that President Obama shouldn't be taking a vacation "right now, when everything is a mess". All due respect - you're wrong.

Yesterday I was waiting for my coffee to be dispensed out of the company Keurig when I noticed that the President was speaking on TV. The first thing I noticed is that he - like other Presidents before him - seems to have aged during his time in office. He looked tired and his hair had greyed. Being the President of the United States of America is one of the hardest, most taxing jobs in the world. Personal politics and beliefs aside - whoever is in this position is looking into the face of at least 4 years of some of the hardest work they're ever going to have to do. Looking at Barack Obama's face yesterday and seeing that gray hair, I could tell that the job is starting to take its toll on him just like it had on those who came before.

And yes... I've heard the reports of how much this is going to cost taxpayers in Secret Service costs and blah blah blah.  I get it. That's partially my money too - so to that I say please, spend the money to give Mr. President a break and let him recharge his batteries, read books on leadership or whatever, spend time with his family, and rest. The reality is that he's not going to solve all the world's (or country's) economy problems overnight AND if this new committee whose focus is to come up with solutions comes up with something amazing - I'm sure the President will set up an office to review what they come up with and either comment back or sign it or whatever. When you're the "Leader of the Free World", even vacation doesn't mean you get to completely disconnect.

And let's not forget that tourists will buy anything - which means that Obama's vacation will further put money into the economy in apparent T-Shirt sales.

This morning I read a commentary about this whole thing and wanted to share this one excerpt with you that I think sums up and helps to drive home what I'm getting at:

But former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry says that every president needs a break from the confines of the White House.

"We do need to let these guys have vacations and do some reading and thinking outside the box," he said.

What's more, keeping a sizeable crew of aides nearby is critical, he said. "Remember Clinton's trip to Martha's Vineyard in August 1998 when we ended up trying to decapitate bin Laden with a cruise missile strike? That's why the 'entourage' has to accommodate all aspects of the presidency, even on vacation. You never know what might happen..."

There is one other thing... taking a break is so important to how we're wired and how we're created that God requires it of us. Let me explain briefly.

When God created the heavens and the earth, the fish in the sea, the birds on the land, and then capped the whole thing off by creating man & woman - He took a break. All of that creation was a lot of hard work to have to accomplish, and He had a lot more work to do so he took a step back and recharged His batteries. We are created in His image... when we have done a lot of work and have a lot more to do, it's important for us to take a step back and recharge our batteries too. He has designed us to need to do this periodically, and so I appreciate that Mr. Obama is willing to make a point to take a vacation every year. It's setting a positive example for our country - step back, recharge, enjoy the blessings you have in your family and in your life. Do you need to go to the Vineyard - no. You can go in your own backyard with a grill and some suntan lotion. You can take a day at the beach. But for crying out loud - take a break. Your brain, your body, your outlook needs it. You are designed that way by God as a child of His created in His image.

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:3, ESV)

And let's not forget that He even gave it to Moses as part of the 10 Commandments - you know, incase His example of taking a break wasn't enough that He had to put it in writing for us.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

You were designed by God to workworkworkworkwork and then REST. And so was President Obama. He's one of God's children too. Let him be and let him do what God designed him and requires us to do.

Mr. President - enjoy your vacation. If you can, try to get over to Back Door Donuts and have a fritter for me.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

100% agree-I've always said that people need to shut their pie holes when it comes to the president vacationing. Um...he's human. Ridiculous.

On another note-good to see B's caps! :)