President Barack Obama's incredible speeches no longer have the same positive effect.
The first campaign speeches were eloquent enough for many of us to contribute time and significant amounts of insignificant incomes to his campaign.
His promises were inspiring. And he symbolized an achievement that many never expected to be realized in the United States.
We saw in the election of Obama the iconic symbolism of what democracy promises — a man of color being elected president solely on merit.
Obama's speeches are now reminiscent of the promises made to the city by IBM to obtain concessions for their move to Columbia.
There is a relationship between these two promises for Columbia residents. We need to be more skeptical of both Obama and IBM. Will either Obama or IBM bring the jobs we need in the way we need them?
The Obama promise, if achieved, is no more than a shell game that takes resources from one area — such as health care and Social Security — and gives it to another.
Perhaps the shift will result in temporary unemployment relief at the expense of a resource and job loss in other areas.
This appears to be a charade that might look good before a political campaign but fails, as usual, to meet the test of time.
With regard to IBM's promises of local job hires: If legal provisions were not adequate to insure that local hires would not take place within a certain time frame, we may have allowed ourselves to be tricked. The key words are "local qualified residents."
Neither Obama nor IBM appears to be able to keep promises. We need to adopt a "show me the money” attitude in both cases.
We must be skeptical.
Remember this: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU.