Monday, April 14, 2008

Economic Hardship = Bitterness = Clinging?

Obama’s statement saying people in small towns in Pennsylvania (and, by extension, throughout America) are bitter over the economy, and that their bitterness has translated to love of guns, reliance on religion, racial hatred, opposition to immigration (legal or illegal), and fear of trade agreements is wrong on many fronts. About all that is accurate in the statement is what is implied but not actually stated: differences exist between people in small towns and large metropolises, the differences being in interpretation of the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, how we deal with our fellow citizens and residents, and the potential for isolationism.

Is small town America bitter, specifically over the state of the economy? I doubt this it true for most of small town America. The small towns I live in and work in are not, but that’s merely anecdotal. I think for the most part Americans understand that the economy is never stagnant. As technology advances, some jobs become obsolete and other jobs are created. My dad was pushed into early retirement because technology advanced beyond his ability to change. Should he have been bitter against a government for allowing technology to advance? How silly to think so. I doubt there is so much bitterness as there is fear--fear of the unknown.

Does small town America embrace religion at a greater rate than big city America? Probably, but why? This is a sociology question, I suppose, and far beyond my ability to answer. I seriously doubt it has anything to do with economic hardship translating to bitterness.

Does small town America want greater access to firearms than bit city America? Probably, but why? Is this merely a closeness to hunting fields, and a cultural difference that results? Probably so. Again, I seriously doubt it has anything to do with economic hardship translating to bitterness.

Is small town America more racist than big city America? I’m going to guess no, that if accurate gauges of public opinion could be had, we would learn that the racist component of society is about the same in both. This is opinion only, but

Is small town America more opposed to immigration than big city America, especially as this relates to illegal immigration? Again, I would like to see data on this, but I suspect it is not true. I suspect Americans across the board--urban, suburban, small town, rural--are all about equally opposed to illegal immigration and supportive of legal immigration. That would be except for those locations where a large amount of illegal immigrants already live; that would tend to skew the data.

Is small town America more isolationist in terms of trade policies than big city America? Where is the evidence of this? Small town America tends to be closer to agriculture, less so to manufacturing. Since America is a net exporter of agricultural products, it stands to reason small town America would favor less isolationist trade policies.

Senator Obama describes these as "clinging", thus putting a negative connotation on each, and attributes them to bitterness at the current state of the economy--ot so much the current state, but rather of the change in the economy over a 25 year period.

I don’t see this as a gaffe on Senator Obama’s part, but rather a statement of his deeply held beliefs of what is wrong with America. The truth about what he believes is slowly coming out, speech by speech, as he is forced to campaign against Senator Clinton. Voters must try to figure out what policies he will promote if he believes economic bitterness results in clinging to religion and firearms, racism, anti-immigration, and isolationism. Personally, I fear the policies he would promote.

I think this also shows the ignorance Obama, a product of big-city America, has of small town America. He doesn’t understand small town America, he doesn’t understand why anyone would have a different belief than he does, and he’s come up with his own reason for it.

If you want to see bitterness, just wait for the tax increase that would come if the Bush tax cuts are rolled back.

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