Monday, April 14, 2008


You can definitely tell that the political season is picking up. Where the elephants know exactly who they're going to throw out to the voters this fall, the donkeys are still trying to hammer out their final details. This, of course, makes any and all comments magnified, as the candidates try to verbally out-duel their opponent (ah, for the days of Aaron Burr, when duels didn't have to be only verbal).

As many of you may have heard, candidate Barack Obama, in a speech last week, made mention of people in "small-town America" being "bitter". Naturally, this statement has led to both his direct opponent, Hillary Clinton, and his potential future adversary, John McCain, to step forward and draw attention to his comments, while painting themselves in a better light. Clinton may have more at stake than McCain (and we're not talking about the party nomination). After all, according to Obama, part of the bitterness felt is at least partially due to her husband's term in office.

Admittedly, part of the problem with Obama's statement is his reference to people in smaller towns as those who "cling to guns or religion", which has led some people to call him elitist, and saying that he doesn't understand the voters. Here's the trick, though. In the actual context of his words, you can see that he is saying that he understands why people turn to things they can feel sure of, especially in light of the way that politicians have jerked them around. Okay, the jerked around bit is us taking some liberties, admittedly. But what we're getting from Obama's words is that, in large part due to government failing middle-class Americans, it makes sense that people would be bitter, and would find solace where they can.

We can also, to an extent, understand the cries of elitism coming from all around. But when they are coming from fellow candidates who have had just as rose-colored of a recent history as Obama has (if not more so), shouting about elitism smacks of hypocrisy.

And the real kicker? People in the middle- and lower-classes SHOULD be bitter. After all, it is exactly those people who have been forced to shoulder a larger and larger financial burden (going back to at least Reagan), while the upper-class has been given more freedom to escape said burden. And yes, the wealthy do pay. We know this. But we question whether or not the amount is equal on a percentage basis.

The other kicker? The nation as a whole should be bitter. We've been lied to, bold-faced, without anything even approaching an apology. We've been lured into conflict under false pretenses. We've seen our cost of living rise rapidly, while our actual wages have remained fairly stagnant. We've seen jobs that we were promised fade away, or be lured overseas. And through it all, we've continued to put the same people in office, after promises for change when all they really intend on doing is maintaining the status quo.

So yes, we should be bitter. But not at the politicians. After all, it doesn't matter what jacket they were, they still have the same insides. We should be bitter with ourselves, for allowing this to continue unabated.

As for us here at the CSM, we're bitter that we might have missed a story about an inept burglar or a new "breakthrough" in science because everyone is concerned whether or not admitting that the country might not be as peachy-keen as they want to believe is elitist.

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