Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Working Poor -- Yes, they are bitter

Let me first apologize for being such a poor correspondent of late . . . it has been two months since I have added to this blog and I have no excuse except being on the road relentlessly where, ironically, much learning occurs but there is precious little time to record it.

I have spent time in Little Rock, Los Angeles, and now a small town in southern Kentucky which will home for the next several weeks. The genesis of each of these matters sprang from the same dark fountain -- unhappy, dissatisfied employees who see their standard of living being eaten away by higher fuel, food and medical costs. To add insult to their injury, they worry that their jobs may not be here much longer. And these worries are legitimate. Manufacturing companies continue to flee the United States with impugnity.

This weekend as I catch a breath, I have been fascinated by the news of Barack Obama who is being virulently criticized for saying these words: "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 has replaced them. 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."

Regardless of one's political persuasion, I don't see the problem in this statement, if only because it is completely consistent with what I have seen developing over the last quarter century. Surely the criticism can't be calling the working poor "bitter." They are bitter and they do lash out at those who they feel responsible for their plight. Their recognition that their labor has become dispensable, or if not, at least movable to save a buck, or make an extra buck, would make anyone bitter.

While there there is no candidate for President that fully expresses my views about significant social issues, including Mr. Obama, I congratulate him for observing what should obvious -- the working poor are bitter because they have been left behind or fear they soon will be, and as such they have every reason to be bitter.

Indeed to label Obama's observation "out of touch" is itself out of touch.

Take care friends and I'll write soon . . .

2 Comments:

Anonymous Stephen K. said...

Jim,

The angry response to Obama's statement has little or nothing to do with his observation that the working poor are frustrated, even to the point of bitterness. I think we all agree on that point.

While I agree that the reaction to Obama's statements is excessive, the anger is not in reaction to his statement of the obvious, but over his trivializing legitimate values. He is indisputably implying that religion, gun ownership, opposition to illegal immigration are not legitimate values; but, instead, are solely the result of the failure of the government. If the government was meeting our needs, we wouldn't need God or guns and wouldn't care about illegal immigration.

One more manifestation of the liberal belief that those of us who believe in God, own a gun or oppose illegal immigration and irresponsible fiscal policy (a/k/a, the "red states") are just a bunch of ignorant sheep, incapable of holding an independent thought.

-- your former protege

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that I disagree with your mmain poiint, but if one lived in a place wher there wno jobs for 25 yrs, then one needs to move or educate oneself to whre one can get a local job. I can't read this in your black page, so forgive the typos.

Hope all is well. Met Kinky Friedman last week. Enterttaining fellow - he also helps dogs.

12:27 PM  

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