12 April 2008

Obama's Indiana Comments Are Terrifying

At a San Francisco fundraiser last Sunday, Obama played on the fears of well-cultured urban people towards folks in middle America. From Politico:

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Sure, whatever. Obama is simply playing politics here, since he is seizing on stereotypes held by city folk that people from middle America are lovable rubes who have a gross misconception of an ideal life. No worries, there. When I moved to California from the Midwest, the most common question was what was it like to grow up on a farm and if I was in-bred. I'm not characterizing myself as some whinyass victim of Bay Area elites, since it would be impolite to the people of San Francisco to discuss on this blog what we thought about them growing up. This cultural disparity in America has been around for eons, and it is not necessarily a bad thing as it makes America more cosmopolitan. So no need to get the proverbial panties in a bunch over the Senator's statement, IMHO.

However, reading what he said in Indiana to clarify his remarks was what truly scared the bejeezus out of me. From Reason:

People don't vote on economic issues because they don't expect anybody is going to help them. So people end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community, and their family, and the things they can count on. But they don't believe they can count on Washington.

This wordplay implies a collective submission to the enterprise of the state, while downplaying the importance of other entities (and I'm not even religious!). Even if the state bears free health care, guaranteed jobs, and smiley faces, it should still be feared as it rules with overwhelming force. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought government's role outlined in the constitution was to guarantee the rule of law, provide for the defense of its citizens, and something about delivering the mail. How far have we drifted from that document that we, as Americans, now want the government to provide everything for us in Nurse Ratched-like fashion. Are we so short-sighted that we don't see the inherent danger in granting the state such vast powers over its own subjects? Obama certainly makes a good case to need the right to bear arms at a time like this. Anyone who knows where I can stash an AR-15 with 12 boxes worth of ammo and my zombie-survival equipment, feel free to drop me a line.



Vote for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

24 comments:

Lisa said...

Well, people do feel an enormous impotency today. And not just b/c of the t.v. ads on Viagra and Cialis. They always have wanted
someone else to lead--that old "cradle-to-grave" idea of being taken of. Of course, the problem is they've been sold down the river, and not even their grave is secure.

We're not far from the dark ages. Monty Python movies provide a great glimpse into the mindset of the average unmobilized citizen. It is all about hysteria over me and mine, and the nefarious "Other."

So the things they can get their panties in a wad about concern gays, and abortion, and anything easy for them to find a local coterie to cleave to. Something that doesn't require reading, or take them too far out of their comfort zone. Hatred and and an ignorant sense of superiority seem to be the prime motivators for many people.

"Jesus loves me, this I know; for the bible tells me so."

Anonymous said...

You tell 'em, Nixon!

I'm tired of people whining about things like losing their home and life savings just because their kid got sick and they can't pay the bills.

They can still afford boot straps, can't they?? Pull 'em up!

In all seriousness though, I used to think a lot like you, and I still do have a libertarian streak when it comes to various issues. But it's getting pretty old that the government seemingly has endless money for this project, that adventure and this tax cut, but when working class families stick their heads up and wonder where theirs is, all of a sudden it's SOCIALISM!ALERT!SOCIALISM! NANNY STATER, NANNY STATER!

LT Nixon said...

Anonymous,

Where is this excessive poverty you speak of? Only in America are there fat goddamn homeless people. I've lived all over America and have never really seen these abominable living conditions that you see in many third world countries. America is the richest and most prosperous country in the history of civilization. Yet here comes a large portion of American citizens screaming for free shit from Uncle Sam and wanting to vote themselves largesse. Do you think it won't come without a cost?

LT Nixon said...

Lisa,

Do you see it that way from both sides of the political spectrum?

Anonymous said...

Nixon, what the hell are you talking about?

Entire regions of our country have been devastated by jobs leaving the community.

I think you're seriously conflicted when on one hand you're always raging against and mocking elitist, out of touch yuppies, while on the other hand characterizing people who have worked hard for their part of the American dream, only to have it snatched from their hands by circumstances often beyond their control, as "screaming for free shit".

Anonymous said...

By the way, I'm a huge fan of your blog.

You're actually one of the few bloggers who inspires me to post, usually I'm content to lurk.

Anonymous said...

To clarify my post before the last one - you write a lot professing your (appropriate IMO) disdain for people who look down their noses at "regular folk", and then you'll write just as many posts and comments where you sound like a typical Country Club Republican.

It's possible that this seeming contrast is simply me misinterpreting your views.

LT Nixon said...

Anonymous,

Depends on what I'm mad at for the day. Sorry for the uneven ideology. I usually just fly off the handle on whatever. Also, no need to be anonymous, I don't bite. Thank you for your patronage!

Mezzo SF said...

I think that often times, folks on either end of a spectrum (be it political, socio-economic, religious, geographic, etc) have a hard time relating to those folks on the opposite end from them. That's fine - it's human nature, to some extent. I DO, however, have a problem when people who should ... know better...or who are in a position of leadership fall back on "sweeping generalizations" of people they don't know, lives they are not familiar with, etc.
Especially when those people are seeking be the spokesman for an entire nation (not just the coasts!) I just hope our next President is respected by the majority of this country...or else he (or she, I gues) will never be respected abroad. And right now, IMHO, to say that that piece of foreign policy is important just might be an understatement :P

SF is not...a boring place, that's for sure. I definitely had culture shock when I moved here (from CO, via TX). And, while I love a lot about the city, there are some parts I am just "over" and done with...

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Obama's comments. Whenever I catch myself feeling "woe is me" and "you'll never get my guns", I sit back and self-analyze myself and figure out why I'm thinking that way. When people feel cornered, they grasp onto the things that make them feel safe, or lash out at the things that "threaten" them, either real, or imaginary. I think that's all he meant by his comments.

Anonymous said...

And can't you just hear Hillary saying the same thing? Kind of a -- you know you little people, I'll take care of it, I'll make the decisions, and you just stay out of the way, I know what I'm doing.

And I think Hillary and Barack both come across that way -- to me. That they know better and they just want your vote and then you should shut up and go away. And so if you disagree with them -- well, then, you're one of those not very educated people that "just don't understand" all they can do for you, you're not accepting enough of their ideas.

And then that whole attitude gets me irritated and they lose me. So maybe that does make me close-minded and not willing to listen. But I really do feel that of the two, Obama and Clinton, that he has the more condescending outlook towards America.
I don't think he embraces people, I think he looks down on them.
Kath

Arch said...

nix,

this is my first trip to your blog. i actually found it somehow in a search for a larger font of: كافر. i am just catching up with the news of obama's speech but have listened to the comments he made in indiana. i live in west texas where there are plenty of small town republicans to go around and i have to agree with the senator from illinois. people around here, for the most part not all, either don't understand economic policies or foreign policies OR they are just too lazy to TRY to understand them. that being said, when these people do not understand certain issues in an election (for whatever reason) they fall back on their 'bread & butter' issues. such as gun control, abortion, gay rights/marriage, etc, etc. i see it happen too often here. i cannot tell you how many email forwards i get from christian people i know about obama being a muslim. that is a fear stemming from 9/11 and their ignorance in the muslim faith. all they know is that they don't believe in their god. i am frustrated at how many people in my neck of the woods are SOO hard pressed against obama or hillary but can't tell you why except they are democrats and democrats are pro-abortion. notice i said 'pro-abortion' NOT pro-choice. that is how they see it and there is no conversation involved that will change their minds. then there is gay rights/marriage. most of them fall back on this because they have been taught that it is a 'sin' to be gay. forget the fact that jesus spoke of loving all or the cliche' of 'hate the sin, love the sinner' it is all about those two issues. then there are the gun lovers. now i love guns and hunt like the next guy but even i can't see the necessity of owning an AR-15 or AK-47. nevertheless, big time gun lovers will fall into the whole gun control issue because it is what they know and can be confident in. i believe obama is simply saying that people who can't understand a particular issue OR have been burned on an issue at sometime will fall into what they know and are comfortable with being their religious faith or whatever their passion is. i never heard him once say that was a bad thing, just simply it was so. i did hear an implication that we need to better educate people or get them interested in the other issues though. i know plenty of people around here that would blindly vote for ANYONE who:
1) went to church every Sunday
2) was 'pro-life'
3) anti gay

i pray we never come to that being the only criteria for president of the united states of america. keep up the good blogging my friend!!

LT Nixon said...

Mezzo SF,

I agree that politicians shouldn't make sweeping generalizations in a position of authority. But I'm not looking for a Prez to "feel my pain", I'm looking for one who can fix the mess and all the graft that has taken place in Washington.

Anonymous,

Don't you think the overarching power of the state is a legitamate fear?

Kath,

I don't care if politicians look down on me, but they have to understand that they ultimately work for the American people.

Arch,

Thanks for stopping by and please come back often. I think the internets is a way to provide some level of education (not the best, but it's cheap and easy to get information from). At this point I think it's the best hope for our country.

Everybody,

Thanks for the great and insightful comments!

Anonymous said...

What was noxious about Obama's comments was his use of codewords like guns, God and anti-immigrant to characterize rural people. Worse, he did it in a tony SF fundraiser where press and recordings were not allowed. It was recorded surreptitiously by someone there He had the expectation of a limited audience.

And yes, the overweaning power of the state is something we should be very, very wary of.

Sergeant Grumpy said...

Well LT, this generated a bunch of discussion. I lived/worked in SF for three years, and I found people there so "open-minded" that they were intolerate of any opposing view to their "openness."

If you haven't seen Hope's post on WFW on the fine citizens of Berkley, check it - http://wordsfromwarriors.blogspot.com/2008/03/you-have-to-laugh.html

I think you got it right that Obama, and all the candidates, are playing politics when they talk.

Which is why I moved to a Rocky Mountain State, if you are Active Duty here, you automatically qualify for a CCL. Plus we can always head to mountains and hold out forever. *wink*

LT Nixon said...

SGT,

I don't understand, since OBama is from the midwest. It certainly just politics. Hehe, save me a cot at the Rocky Mtn Fortress. I'll bring the booze!

ABWF said...

My favorite part about the whole thing is how Hillary Clinton is now "embracing" her gun heritage. Apparently her father taught her how to shoot and she has hunted duck.

Maybe my memory is shot, but I don't recall her taking a pro-gun stance in the past....have I forgotten something?

ABWF said...

I almost forgot....this is one of her quotes included in the article I linked to:

“You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.”

Mezzo SF said...

In response to SGT' Grumpy's
"I lived/worked in SF for three years, and I found people there so "open-minded" that they were intolerate of any opposing view to their "openness."
I completely AGREE with that sentiment...it's true and frustrating.

And to LT: agreed...we need something/someone to un-ass all the screwed-up-ness...I just don't know if it's going to be this go around or not. Here's hoping...

Bag Blog said...

I'd comment, but being an Okie, I'm feeling a bit stupid right now. Guess I'll just go down to the pond and shoot a turtle or sumpin.

Arch said...

ok, i'm gonna state it one more time. obama was NOT saying that anyone was dumb, stupid, or a red neck. all he said was that people (ALL PEOPLE) tend to go back to their 'biggest issue' they have when they don't either understand a particular issue(s) or they are bitter about one particular issue. you are COMPLETELY misunderstanding the statement made by him and listening too much to the media.

Bag Blog said...

Actually,Arch, I was refering to this comment people around here, for the most part not all, either don't understand economic policies or foreign policies OR they are just too lazy to TRY to understand them

Whatever political party in power will change the economic situation as best they can. Then next political power will change it again. Economics is theory and everyone has his/ her view of what will work or not work. But what is important to these ingnorant, lazy voters is that the Constituion be upheld. In the next four to eight years some president will have lots of power - not by changing the economics of this country, but by appointing judges - especially Supreme Court judges. So yeah, knowing a politicians views on religion, abortion, gun control, gay rights, etc. is important.

Anonymous said...

You say someones statements are terrifying, or include your hate to
satisfy your need for thearpy you
can't afford.Even for that matter,
you should be your own man or woman
by not letting others control your
mind, or maybe you are weak? It appear you do not know the truth VS.wrong. Who put you in charge, and at what extent? Perhaps you could do better by seeking some type of perfessional help since you
do not know between night and day.
When you get through try to explain
who caused the gas problem, unemployment, home lost, environment issues, economy, and the dollar worth.

LT Nixon said...

Hi anonymous,

You must've come from the comments thread over at ThinkProgress. Nice to see that your tolerance of other people's viewpoints is certainly "Progressive". You'll be glad to know that I am seeing a shrink and phrenologist. Since I can't afford it, I've turned to repaying with bizarre sexual favors. Man, this is Deja Vu all over again!