Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama: I'm too bitter to be elitist

In the fallout over his remarks about small town Pennsylvanians, Obama challenges the notion that he is elitist:

"I am amused about this notion of elitist, given that when you're raised by a single mom, when you were on food stamps for a while when you were growing up, you went to school on scholarship," he told a town hall meeting of U.S. military veterans in western Pennsylvania. [...]

"We lived for the first 13 years of our marriage up until three years ago in a three-bedroom condo without a garage so if you live in Chicago that means you're scraping ice every morning," he said in rejecting the elitist label.

I think it all makes sense.

No matter their actual economic station in life, the Obamas perceive themselves as being lower than they deserve. If they are making a quarter of a million dollars in 2001, they have crushing student loan burdens. If they are living in a three bedroom condo in Chicago, they don’t have a garage. If they are getting over a million dollars in book royalties, Michelle complains about the struggles of making due on $10,000 a year for extracurricular activities for their kids.

So when Obama says that folks in small town Pennsylvania have become bitter, clinging, among other things, to religion and antipathy for those not like them – what we may be seeing is projection.

When the imbroglio over Reverend Wright unfolded, one of the most asked questions was why did Obama stay in such a church under such a hate-filled pastor for more than twenty years?

And the answer appears to be this – Obama had become bitter through his own perceived economic struggles and he clung to his religion, filled as it is with antipathy for those not like him.

If this is true then surely we should ask, has he changed? Has he overcome the bitterness? Has he transcended it? Or has he just become very adept at hiding the bitterness (Michelle less so), only letting it slip occasionally like at the fundraiser in San Francisco?

Well, Obama has told us that he can no more disown Reverend Wright than he can the black community or his white grandmother.

He clings.

No comments:

Post a Comment