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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Disillusioned

Has everyone been living under a rock for the past 8 years? Barack Obama has been under constant attack since he spoke of bitter Americans trying to explain and rationalize their growing frustrations with a country that has been unresponsive to their needs and has led us into times where the economy is in peril, our country is in a war without end, the costs of health care are spiraling out of control, the price for gas seems to escalate from morning to evening, the environment is an issue left largely unaddressed and our position as a world leader is being diminished day by day. While Obama's choice of words may have left him vulnerable and exposed, his perception of an angry public is not wrong.

In a summary of findings of the Pew Research Center, polling results showed an American public angry with Congress. There was talk of the public's strong appetite for change in Washington. Their poll found that twice as many voters were looking to cast ballots reflecting their position against the Bush Presidency then for it. Congress had achieved little and Americans were fed up. That poll was taken in 2006 and the discussion focused on the pending mid-term elections. Those sentiments have only grown stronger in the succeeding 2 years.

It was this feeling of increasing unhappiness and resentment that was the catalyst for the Obama campaign. Hillary Clinton , in response to Senator Obama's recent remarks, spoke of her unshakable faith in America and its promise. Well, the real truth is that our faith has been shaken . America's promise has come into question. We can dance around it all that we want but the 'in your face' reality is that many of us are bitter with where the government has taken us. We are not , as individuals, or as a country, where we think we should be. We look for answers and explanations in many different arenas.

Robert Reich, a former Cabinet Secretary under President Clinton, recently wrote in reference to Senator Obama's comments:

"Are Americans who have been left behind frustrated? Of course. And their frustrations, their anger and, yes, sometimes their bitterness, have been used since then -- by demagogues, by nationalists and xenophobes, by radical conservatives, by political nuts and fanatical fruitcakes – to blame immigrants and foreign traders, to blame blacks and the poor, to blame "liberal elites," to blame anyone and anything."
Link to Robert Reich's post

Many do believe that the government has led them into, and then left them unattended, in hard times. The centerpiece of Senator Obama's change message is that what has been happening is not good enough, and that we can do better. In his recent words, he was not trying to castigate but to explain.

It has always seemed to me that the sounds of hatred and divisiveness have emanated primarily from the Republican party. Their method has too often been to point fingers at others as a source of their problems. It is pure fantasy to believe that we reside in a country in which finger pointing does not serve as a way to rationalize our frustrations. If Senator Obama overstepped the bounds of what politics dictate one should discuss, that is unfortunate. If the consequences of his transgression is that we step away from him as the candidate of choice for the Democrats, that would be disastrous.

5 comments:

Howie Jo said...

You are a great writer and very poinient

Robert said...

Thank you for you tribute. As I have said in the past, all praise is gladly accepted.

I do think that we overreact to so many of the comments that our politicians make. In trying to find a vulnerability, opponents strain to make mountains out of molehills. With the millions and millions of words that each candidate is to utter before the election, there will be plenty of slip ups. But we must try to look for the substance of these people, which is something that is very often not done.

Alex said...

i find myself not so much angry, but disillusioned. i remember when the results came in of the 2000 (mis)election and thinking "how can something like this happen in the USA". it was the first time i can remember feeling such a sentiment. now, it is rare that i am not saddened or shocked by what the government is, or is not, doing. my faith is, unquestionably, shaken.

alex said...

oh. i am just noticing the the title of the article is "disillusioned". i guess we are on the same page. and once again, thinking alike.

Robert said...

I think that your reference to the (mis)election shows you are starting to think about your own blog.

Keep writing.