23 April 2008

I Don't Know Why He Didn't Win PA

Unrelated note: My computer is seriously ill. It makes a sad beeping sound and will not start up. We think the videocard is dead. It will be going back to HP for repair soon. So, if you don't hear from me for awhile (especially on e-mail), that's why. I'm at the library right now, because after only two days, I'm going through Internet withdrawal. Pathetic, I know.

The much-quoted quote from Obama about his Pennsylvania trip (but I couldn't resist anyway):

"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."

Wow, those people sound really unpleasant. Good thing I don't know anyone in those God-forsaken small towns in Pennsylvania (um, wait...) who cling to their silly religion (like going to church every week? and maybe even like, trying to do good stuff and all? hmmm...) and want to use actual guns to kill innocent creatures (oh, you mean like deer? I seem to remember having a school day off for hunting season. And, venison bologna? Yummy.).

Yes, I remember all of those bitter people just sitting around waiting for the government to save them from their horrible fate. Like, when the paper mill closed? And the town fell through the cracks of the Bush administration, never to be seen again. And...oh, wait, didn't a local group of investors end up re-opening the mill a few years later?

Yeah, I think I'm over Obama. I knew I didn't agree with him on many issues before, but this statement along with the one equating an unexpected pregnancy with an STD, has finished off any illusion that I could vote for him. What really got me about the Pennsylvania quote is the sheer condescension. Like he was slumming for a while and then went to San Francisco to tell the other smart city folk what he had learned about those poor schmucks who don't have the sense to move out of hick country (pause for irony check re: my current whereabouts).

Still, the people Obama are talking about are not familiar to me. There are bitter people everywhere. There are fanatics about religion or guns or anti-whatever everywhere. But I just haven't met too many of them, in small-town Pennsylvania or anywhere else. And the whole story line of these poor benighted towns who are waiting for the federal government to save them just doesn't ring true to what I've experienced. I've listened to plenty of bitch sessions about what is wrong in this or that town, this country, the world, but rarely has the conclusion been that it's the government's job to solve it. (Unless we're talking about things like the war, that is.) I'm not even convinced the government really has the capacity to do much to help the economy. We did that to ourselves, with the crazy lending and borrowing practices, the frenzy to buy over-priced homes, etc.

And I suppose that's where I part ways on much of what Obama and Clinton are saying. I just don't think that the federal government can or should solve many of the problems in our country.

The war, well, that's a whole different post.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Webkinz broke your computah! I know it, cause they're eveel!

Jennifer said...

Yes, yes they are. Eveel and annoying. Katrina would like at least ten more of them for her birthday. As she tells me, Every Single Day.

My husband has rigged me a substitute computer so I can get online and check e-mail, at least. It has a German keyboard, so typing is fun.

Sarah said...

Sehr gut...er, I mean...love that venison meat!

p.s. glad the baby girl is wunderbar!!

Dave said...

"And...oh, wait, didn't a local group of investors end up re-opening the mill a few years later?"

Yes, with the assistance of a $3-million-dollar grant from the Pennsylvania taxpayers. Which I don't begrudge them in the slightest (especially since they're making recycled paper).

Jennifer said...

Dave--Yeah, I almost didn't put that in because I didn't really know the circumstances. Still, though, I think my point is still true--that the problem was solved on the initiative of the local people, not top-down. It was the image of everyone sitting around waiting for government to save them that irked me (especially the federal government, as if local and state don't also have influence).