Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Question of the Week: Obama's Quote

I would like to disclose Obama's full quote, so everyone can see the context and then I can explain why I am even more put off by him after the full quote, not just the quote we've all seen on T.V., the part which I have placed in bold.
Here is a large chunk of his speech, so you can all the context of what he was saying:
"So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work--don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.
Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by--it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laughter), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).
But--so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is--so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing--close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. 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. So it's not surprising then that 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.
Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background--there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing."
Essentially was Obama is saying is that people are frustrated with government and that when people are down and out, they turn to things like guns and religion (traditionally conservative/Republican areas) and that's why he won't get the vote. I strongly disagree with this, which I made clear in my last post. But the full context also points out an ambiguity; an oxymoron in Obama's reasoning. He states that people are fed up and untrustworthy of government. A funny statement to be saying, as most of his solutions to all of our problems is MORE government, more intervention in our lives, and more complex, inefficiently run government programs that are the very thing that people are fed up with. I don't trust government in the least (Republican or Democrat), but I have to make a choice to have some sort of government, and at least I have a better shot getting less intrusion into my life electing a Republican. Obama claims that he is the man who can fix things, he thinks people are thinking "what can this guy do for me", to use his own words. Well I know a very famous Democrat (with whom I actually happen to agree with) who said "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." John F. Kennedy said that, and he's very right. I don't look to Barack Obama or John McCain to solve my problems. I know how to best fix my problems and help others fix theirs way better than any governmental official or government program because I know them on a personal level. The attitude of people shouldn't be "Obama will fix our problems," it should be "what can I do to better my country and the people around me and find solutions to my own problems?" If everyone helped their friends and family a little bit more, this country would be much better off and that's when people would stop being so cynical, Mr. Obama. People cling to things like religion because religion can give people something on a personal level in a way that government can never possibly begin to do. The country is better off when people help people, not when government helps people.

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