Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama's Words about "Bitter" Workers, Guns, and Religion: No Big Deal

Barack Obama has been receiving considerable flack about this statement made earlier in the week - "It's not surprising then they [economically hard-pressed workers] 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." Hillary Clinton and John McCain have gleefully called such words "elitist," Obama has regretted and clarified them, and the media have been having their customary field day, ever on the lookout for a possible slip by a major contender.

You know what I think? It's no big deal.

Why should working families having trouble making ends meet take offense at a Presidential candidate recognizing that they may be feeling bitter? That's a normal human reaction, and ignoring or denying it - as Clinton and McCain are doing - is plain hypocrisy.

What about the linking of religion to this? Well, I thought that was supposed to be one of the social purposes of religion - giving solace and comfort to people who may be frustrated for whatever reason. How is what Obama said an insult?

And the reference to guns? As any psychologist will tell you, feelings of powerlessness can indeed sometimes lead to violent fantasies - and realities. (Not videogames, by the way, and not television - but real life frustration.) So in what way was Obama so wrong to make this point?

All in all, this is another tempest in the teapot, stirred by Obama's opponents and happily carried by the media.

You know what else?

I think the workers of America - including Pennsylvania - are far too bright to fall for this.
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