"Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy,
as the Lord your God has commanded you."
- Deuteronomy 5:12
At the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in May 2009, President Obama felt quite happy and contented that his first 100 days in the office had been a whirlwind of activity and even joked that his next 100 hundred days would be so successful "I will be able to complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest."
And rest he does. A lot.
The President takes his Sabbath a little too seriously. In his two years and nine months in office, he has gone golfing close to eighty times already and been on vacation nine times since becoming president. A dutiful wife that she is, First Lady Michelle Obama makes sure that she follows her husband's lead in respecting the sabbath. Taking it a step further, she has gone on vacations sans Mr. Obama by her side meeting the King and Queen of Spain, visiting family roots in Africa and skiing in Vail, Colorado. In their last getaway to the ritzy Martha's Vineyard, she took indulgence to the next level by flying to Cape Cod in a separate plane with her daughters FOUR hours ahead of the president, going to the same place and at the same day!
There is nothing wrong at all with taking a break from hard work. God Himself commands us to keep our day of rest. Vacations are a symbol of an average American's lifestyle (used to be anyway, before the economy took a nosedive). People do not normally begrudge their elected officials taking a much needed respite. The world sits on the president's shoulders and he deserves times off to clear his mind. The $50,000 he pays for the summer retreat in Martha's Vineyard is surely a welcome infusion to the rental market. The first lady's trips overseas are certainly a boost to the struggling global economy. But the private money the Obamas shell out for their leisure trips is dwarfed by the millions of public money that the taxpayers pay for their entourage of Secret Service, security details, fuel and other expenses. The First Lady's trip to South Africa alone was said to have cost taxpayers some $500,000.
With a dismal economy and 9.1 unemployment rate, some Americans have stopped going to public parks because of expensive parking fees while it seems like the President is hitting the links every couple of weeks. As mothers clip coupons to save a few bucks at the grocery store, Michelle Obama steps out confidently with a $1000 tote bag. With drivers worrying where to get the money to fill up their gas tanks so they could get to their workplace, the Obamas had no reservation in flying in two, separate gas-guzzling taxpayer-funded planes even if they're going to the same destination.
The First Family just ain't feeling our pain.
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