Punished for the Truth

Here are the controversial comments Barack Obama uttered in San Francisco. "You go into 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...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."

Inartful. That is the only fair criticism of this analysis. Let's ask the voters in Pennsylvania these questions. If the 'distracting' issues of guns, gay marriage and abortion were all resolved to their liking, would their economic lives change? How about immigration? If all illegal aliens were to disappear, would those rust belt jobs return? For so many years, such issues have been used to corral blue collar workers into a party and political philosophy that serves the elites in this country. When someone speaks the truth and acknowledges that this sector of our society has been royally deceived, that issues they rally around have little to do with their ultimate welfare, it is time to banish such a person from the campaign trail.

Heaven forbid we should suggest that bitterness might exist in this country of such optimism or that this emotion might be an appropriate and effective reaction to current circumstances. Hillary Clinton countered with this statement. "Well, that is not my experience," she said. "As I travel around Pennsylvania I meet people who are resilient, optimistic, positive...If we start acting like Americans," she said, "and role up our sleeves, we can make sure that America's best years are ahead of us." McCain's spokesman chimed in. "It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking...It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

Are you kidding me? Pulling the curtain back on a very effective political trick, the old bait and switch, is far from elitist. Americans are working harder than ever. Two job families are the norm. Yet the poor and middle class are falling further behind. What is breathtakingly condescending is watching two candidates stroke this group with platitudes about their being tough and resilient. What exactly has that gotten them? Nada. The real stereotype Clinton and McCain are playing on is that blue collar workers are easily manipulated and will 'stay down' if you just tell them they are hardworking, patriotic, value-driven Americans.

It is time for these people to get mad. Illusion may make us feel better, but it simply serves to keep us tilting at the wrong windmills. It is time to embrace the truth and turn that anger, yes bitterness, on those who created such conditions. The alternative is to pat ourselves on the back for our optimism and 'can-do' attitudes while politicians in Washington laugh at such naivite and continue on their destructive course.