Appearing at a Head Start classroom at the University of Kansas last Thursday, President Obama told a collected group of pre-kindergartners that the Dr. Seuss book, Sneetches and Other Stories was one of his favorites. The book, which teaches a lesson about the perils of discrimination, provided a platform for the president to pontificate on its themes.
“That is one of my favorite stories,” Obama told his young audience. “In fact most of the things I deal with as president would be solved if everybody read about the Sneetches. Because there are some people who think they’re special ‘cause they’ve got stars, and some who feel bad ‘cause they don’t.”
The book centers around a group of characters – Sneetches – who feel superior to others based on whether or not they have stars on their bellies. But when stars become available to everyone, the original star-bedecked Sneetches are sorry to have lost their special status. Thus, they pay to have their stars removed and begin discriminating against those Sneetches who still have stars on their bellies. This cycle continues until all of the Sneetches are out of money and don’t remember where they started.
But in using this powerful message to teach a lesson about his own administration, Obama neglects the biggest theme of all. Though Dr. Seuss argues that the star is irrelevant – it’s just a meaningless “thing” that rallies people together in cliques – Obama clearly doesn’t believe it. If he did, he wouldn’t spend so much time playing star-bellied Americans against those without. Discrimination is what this president is all about. What were the gun-toting “bitter clingers” but a group of Sneetches with a different star on their bellies than the one Obama prefers?
At the crux of Dr. Seuss’s tale is a character named Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who makes a fortune playing off the discriminatory-minded Sneetches. With his Star-On, Star-Off machines, he is able to line his pockets with riches while his customers race to make sure they’re in the right in-group. Who is Obama but McBean himself? Along with Al Sharpton and other liberal-minded activists who have made careers off the back of discrimination, Obama has done everything in his power to pit one group of Americans against another. And in the process, he has floated his way to two successive presidential victories.
A simple lesson against discrimination is one that every American child should read, but adults should be wary of a president who thinks he’s above the star-obsessed Sneetches. Because he has missed the central lesson of Dr. Seuss’s wisdom. By exploiting racial differences, trumping them up to make them appear as something they aren’t, he has divided this country worse than ever.