Monday, April 14, 2008

Now I don't normally talk about US politics but......

What has been going on between the two US Democratic hopefuls has me scratching my head in wonderment. To me it looks like a real bitch fight. Lots of slapping, scratching, and pulling of hair, but no real punches. Fun to watch of course, but nothing of genuine substance.

One thing did jar with me though. The remarks Barack Obama made about working class voters 'clinging to God and guns'. The exact quotation being;
“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 antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I think Barack Obama has got it wrong here. I don't think he truly understands working class Americans. Maybe he considers their attitude 'small town', 'insular' or 'backward looking'.

Having done a bit of travelling through the US in 2002, particularly through small towns populated with many of the kind of people he appears to be referring to, I'm moved to disagree. No one 'clings' to anything. The people I met and talked to at the time truly believe that God and Guns are what made America great. No 'clinging' about it, they have a deeply held faith. A solid faith in God. A solid faith in the constitution of the United States of America, part of which enshrines the 'right to keep and bear arms', not to mention 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. The belief is not 'God and Guns' but 'God and the Constitution'. This belief is very strongly felt, so much so you could almost bend iron bars with it, no matter what the individuals economic circumstances might be. It is too much a part of what 'white' working class America is. 'Small town'? Maybe, but from my own personal observation, 'small town' and 'working class' are the backbone of the USA and the politician who forgets that is bucking to lose.

Just for the record, I'm not a 'fan' of any of the candidates. Just an interested bystander making observations based on personal experience.

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