I had to review a text of President Obama's State of the Union address to verify that I actually heard what I thought I heard. But there it was in black and white. And with those few words, I have at long last found some point of agreement with our president.
The president said it was time for everyone to "play by the same rules."
"Play by the same rules!" Oh, how sweet the words.
I can only assume that the president was forecasting the end of quotas and preferential treatment for selected groups since that obviously would signal a movement toward playing by the same rules.
It can also be assumed that this new approach would mean that the 48 percent of the American public who pay no income taxes would be asked to pay their share of the national burden.
And in the spirit of playing by the same rules, now all voters will be asked to prove their identification with a simple photo ID when they cast their ballots. At least that's the assumption I make from those bold words spoken by the president.
For a number of years, the rules of the game have been changed to shift the burden of responsibility to fewer and fewer people at greater and greater rates.
This new attitude toward shared responsibility will now involve every citizen having equal input into the outcome of this great nation.
By playing by the same rules, we will no longer accept the sad reality that many people benefit from the sacrifices of others. Now through shared sacrifice and a level playing field, all Americans are active players in the progress of this great nation.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that the president's definition of "playing by the same rules" might differ slightly from mine. And perhaps yours.
The president wants to establish rules that he defines as fair and then impose those rules on everyone. But his rules seem to involve fewer people shouldering a greater share of the workload. And within those rules are none to require any sharing from far too many people.
In the president's world, playing by the same rules means playing by the rules he establishes and pretending they are the same. Yet even a casual nonpolitical observer can easily see there is no sameness to these rules. No fairness. No shared responsibility. No spread burden.
When this administration says they want everyone to play by the same rules, look closely at those rules. They are not fair. And they are not the same.
Words often betray reality. In this case, the words sound good. But the reality is far different.