On Bitterness, Pennsylvania Style
by bluemoon, Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 12:16:06 PM EDT
Ah, my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament and love.
George Herbert (1593-1633)
In one fell swoop last week, Mayhill Fowler burst through the velvet rope line which protects the rarefied world inhabited by Senator Barack Obama. In other venues, Obama has said:
"Words matter. What our leaders say matters, because the American people need to know we're saying what we mean and we mean what we say."
After citing lines from historic speeches, such as those by Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Obama -- with a raised eyebow to each -- asked: "Just words?"
By the Senator's own admission, nay, at his continuous nagging admonition I submit: yes, "words" do "matter." Yet by merely deploying a single word- "bitter," Fowler, an active Obama campaign supporter, pulled down the curtain to reveal the inner workings of a rather smallish seeming man inside a rather curious establishment machine tucked inside the control room of the wonderful, wonderful world of Ozbama.
Who cares, right- bitter. So what. We're all bitter about something. After seven years of Bushworld, who hasn't got an extra dozen somethings to be bitter about? As a Pennsylvania resident & small business owner, I'd like to state for the record that I am especially bitter, on an ongoing basis, that we didn't get universal health care in the 90s as the first Clinton administration tried to expand the New Deal.
Rarely given credit for anything at all, let alone being a "visionary", let me say outright this little Clintonista would LOVE to be 10-15 years down the road towards having established sane national health care medical coverage for all Americans based on citizenship, not employment status than where we are today. Today, we've not only not made progress, we've fallen even further behind in healthcare rankings, quality of life & experienced a tremendous increase in net stress as America has fallen & can't seem to get up in ways too numerous to count.
Heath care premiums monthly for myself & one other family member cost a prohibitive, stinging, heartwrenching & budget busting, business growth killing & savings killing $825 a month. I know more horror stories, we all do- friends in California pay over $1k a month for one healthy person each. My mom has recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of Rheumatoid Arthritis, so fierce she had to take an early & un-pensioned retirement & her Cobra coverage must be maintained at all costs.
Those who have the money to pay are perhaps "lucky" in some sense, but if one is living in the red, then they, in fact, don't have the money to pay for it. That'd be me, at least at the moment. And don't even talk to me about student loans. Don't even go there. Don't talk to me about my mom & predatory mortgage refinance lenders. Don't. Don't do it. Not today.
For the sake of freshness, here is Obama's $1000 a head private fundraising remark:
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Um. Okay. Antipathy? Haaaaaaa ahaaaa. Nobody ever actually says "antipathy." Should one be avoid, or be afraid to use beautiful, precise language- those two- or ten-dollar words? Speaking as a one time English major & teacher of poetry at a magnet school, let me say, "Hell no." But still- antipathy? hahahaaaaaa
I like arugula. I really do. But this guy comes across as being from another planet, not another zip code. We grew up in neighborhoods- little clusters known as communities. This is the patchwork of America, this is how America really is - the territory, not the map.
"Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" the senator said. "I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff."
Rising food prices to push 100 million into deep poverty
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Econ omy/Rising_prices_to_make_100_mn_poor/ar ticleshow/2951426.cms
Food costs are highest in 17 years
But the utter tone deafness of the Obama bubble truly stuns as it blows up bigger, and bigger & bigger & bigger & bigger.
And whatever I say, please, realize that you have to take it with a grain of salt & remember that I am speaking as a "typical white person" from Scranton. I really did have an Archie Bunker type of grandfather. Some of his reasoning was a byproduct of his times, some of it was & remains legitimate. That's IF I'm allowed to register the changes I've seen in the neighborhood I grew up in, which was just a few blocks away from where Hillary Clinton spent time as a kid. And I may have had a college education- but apparently, that isn't good enough.
We don't like being pushed outside of our comfort zones. You know it right here on this campus. You know people sitting at different tables- you all living in different dorms. I was there. You're not talking to each other, taking advantage that you're in this diverse community. Because sometimes it's easier to hold on to your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That's America. So the challenge for us is are we ready for change?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIHTFuMn WI&eurl=http://hotair.com/archives/2 008/03/26/michelle-obama-america-the-ign orant/
Change what, Michelle? Be gone, bodysnatchers! Since when did the presidency become some giant nationwide Dr. Phil/Oprah therapy session where people are tasked with working on their comfort zones? Would you mind taking a step back, your ego is suffocating the rest of us who don't particularly feel obligated to spend the next four years holding hands & sitting in a circle. You know, "working on things."
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.--Abraham Maslow
Honestly, I admit I'm not the person trained in the community organizing methods of Saul Alinsky. I just DON'T blame the government for all or even most of my problems. Generally I don't rely on guns or god or advisors to put the puzzle together for me. I do not know any Pennsylvania person who fits Barac's descripton- but then, I'm a latte Indie-dem liberal who is an arugula fan.
As a kid from a one parent, pretty poor family on the wrong side of the tracks who likes arugula & lived in New Orleans, I should be in your corner. As a person who was against the IWR I should be in your corner. But then I don't buy the fiction that HRC was FOR THE WAR. I suppose in college I was a bit of a feminist in that I read a lot of anti-war poetry, particularly, Adrienne Rich & Denise Levertov. I took a Black studies course where I was the only caucasian & was told emphatically that my great-grandparents enslaved the great-grandparents of the others in the class. As a metaphor, I understand. But in practice this was not at all true as my literal forebears actually faced a wicked combination of famine & political purges in Russia & Poland at the time, so - not so much.
But I'm not in your corner. I'm told I'm just ignorant. Typical white person. Even the lefty blogs tell me so, as they spew Clinton hate night & day with a distinct whiff of there has always been a person with male genitals sitting in the Oval Office & there will always be male genitalia sitting in that desk calling the shots about it, just under the surface.
John Kerry kind of reeked of elitism. If not metrosexuality, in a Bob Casey kind of way. That's why the swiftboaters nailed him with the windsurfing thing, tied to the more powerful charge of flip flopping.
Here's the problem, all right? There are no typical black people. Just as there are no typical white people. No typical democrats, no typical republicans.
I have lived in many many places in Pennsylvania. A lot: Scranton, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Erie, a summer in the Poconos, another in Lewisburg, lived in Media, Kutztown & am shortly off to the dreaded Northcentral red state-esque area of Clinton County.
Who do you represent, Barack? Your ads here have been schizophrenic, microtargeted & frankly all over the place. Overt dogwhistling to Republicans, ads prominently featuring your grandparents, ad featuring you discussing your mother's cancer, Ethics point man so on & so forth. Will the real Barack Obama please step forward? Is there one?
Can I just tell you something about Pennsylvania? People who breeze through in a campaign bus with a bunch of advisors evaluating the state (that's why you guys ran that skin-crawling ad with Barack detailing his mother's cancer, right, because we have one of the highest cancer rates in the US? By the way some may think that brave or groundbreaking, but I thought it was incredibly cynical to throw that into the mix), telling you what messages to stress.
We have everything here from a teeny beach in Erie to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. We have gorgeous farmland & areas still trying to recover from strip-mining & deforestation. We have vast natural resources & a massive rustbelt & massive resources & massive natural talent. We have wonderful schools & colleges & we have schools that should be razed & started anew. We have urban blight & hawk sanctuaries. We have hate crimes, predatory lending, a health care crisis, jobs (that were never promised to return)
Peoplewise we are everything from soldiers to metrosexuals, baseball addicts, Amish, Mennonite, Catholics, a disproportionately greying state due to brain drain (not the Clintons), drag queens, many immigrants, suburbanties- we are America. We are not anything other than what America is. We are urban, rural, suburban, male, female, old, young, native, immigrant, insider, outsider, poor, rich, somewhere inbetween- so please, please, please, just STOP pigeonholing & test marketing us with god & guns, campaign claptrap, for god's sake. And knock it off with your damn arugula. Pennsylvania is just like the rest of the United States we didn't discover there was lettuce other than iceberg lettuce until there were yuppies & even more so when the 90s brought gourmet & worldwide goods to the larger grocery stores.
Yes, we'd all love more whole foods. If you wish to do something useful, check your giant ego, & tell me how your going to green Pennsylvania get rid of urban blight & make all these little houses more energy efficient.
Bitterness, Barack, is one of the six necessary tastes in the Ayurvedic (India) traditions. It is also the human condition. It is not unique to Pennsylvania, nor is it the Clinton's, or any other government's fault. Our private woes & personal griefs are frankly none of your business.
My Archie Bunker grandfather gave me one excellent piece of advice in life. I've always felt it would serve as an ideal political platform. It's a very simple piece of advice.
STOP THE BULLSHIT
Meanwhile, I'll be at the bar doing shots with Hillary Clinton first chance I get.
P.S. Another thing or two, Barack.
I really do appreciate the fact that Hillary Clinton does not wear her faith on her sleeve. And I know that I feel smarter about politics just having watched the West Wing, let alone have lived it firsthand for eight peaceful & prosperous years.
I think she knows something you don't about the Presidency- actually, I think she knows a lengthy & important list list of things that transcends theory which you don't about the proper scope of it. I don't blame you for that, but she has a massive headstart on you & the fact that she can snap in instantly is very appealing at this moment right before we hit the real economic wall. A lot of people, particularly on the left have been angry with Hillary Clinton for not giving what they feel would be an adequate apology for her yes IWR vote.
I believe that it is not fitting or proper for the President or the last nominees standing from either party or the President-elect to say the war was a mistake with troops still in the field. You may think it, you may feel it, you may believe it- but you must not say it that way.
And you don't understand that either.