Bitterness is baked into this very Web site. There once was a passage in the META information up front that said, fairly unequivocally, "A bitter, dying man takes one last shot at the society that perturbed him; well, maybe he's not dying, but he's definitely bitter."
Of course, we're all dying, albeit at different rates; "health," I am inclined to believe, is nothing more than a slower-than-normal downward spiral. (If "downward spiral" seems unduly harsh, well, Nine Inch Nails is playing in the background as I write.) And maybe some of that bitterness is due to knowing that The End is inevitable and not knowing what to expect afterwards.
However, absolutely none of it is due to anything Barack Obama imagines:
You go into some of 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.
Points that need to be made:
Communities do not "regenerate."
The very word suggests that the process is somehow on autopilot: you combine ingredients A, B and C, wait a while, and you've got your Utopia. The number of times this has actually happened, from the beginning of recorded history through a week ago Tuesday, is right around zero. Academic types, for whom the real world is a statistical outlier, nonetheless continue to argue for America as their petri dish, and they can't understand why someone might object to being a laboratory specimen.
People become bitter for many reasons, not always political.
Of course, if you're the sort of person who insists that "the personal is political," bless you and please be on your way: you're part of the problem, not part of the solution. I came by my bitterness by observing the results of both Gresham's law, which applies to ideas no less than to currency, and the Peter Principle, which applies to all of our hierarchies, occupational as well as political. Those of us who have cynicism thrust upon us by the interaction of those two metalaws tend to resent it greatly.
All those things we allegedly "cling" to are guaranteed us by the Constitution.
The Second Amendment permits me my weapons; the First Amendment permits me my faith and whatever "sentiments" I may embrace. The notion that I should not be allowed such "sentiments" is wholly un-American. (In fact, it's Canadian.) And in fact, I have nothing against immigrants neither branch of my family tree started here nor against trade, which, much to the dismay of some theorists, keeps the economy going. As for people who "aren't like" me, the only ones for whom I have any antipathy are those whose existence is predicated on sponging off everyone else.
Which group includes, not incidentally, Mrs Obama:
After law school, she and Barack were beset by loans they'd still be paying had her husband not written two best-sellers, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father.
Those debts early in their marriage, she said, equips her husband to better understand the problems many Americans face.
Should she become first lady, she said she'd focus on family issues.
"If we don't wake up as a nation with a new kind of leadership ... for how we want this country to work, then we won't get universal health care," she said.
"The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."
Not gonna happen. You want to see some serious bitterness, just keep right on raping the taxpayers in the name of Utopia.
15 April 2008