Saturday, June 28, 2008

Folksier Than Thou

Carrying on dialogues seems to be my bent today, so I was intrigued to find the theme of elite/folksy at Mahablog that relates to our heritage of racism in the southern U.S. This time it's those embodying the political manipulation of prejudice that comes out.

Right-wing elitists in particular just love to think of themselves as Men (or Women, as it were) of the People, particularly the People of the Homeland, because these People share their Values and are easily snookered can be flattered into voting for Republican candidates who present themselves as People Just Like Them, and who in turn can be counted on to protect the privileges and prerogatives of the right-wing elitists who don’t see themselves as elitists.

John McCain’s recent mangling of Barack Obama’s famous “bitter” remark is also illustrative:

“We’re going to go to the small towns in Pennsylvania and I’m gonna to tell them I don’t agree with Senator Obama that they cling to their religion and the Constitution because they’re bitter,” said McCain, who might have been referring to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. “I’m gonna tell them they have faith and they have trust and support the Constitution of the United States because they have optimism and hope… That’s what America’s all about.”

A lot of people jumped on the malapropism about the Constitution, but I say look at the next part also — he’s going to small towns in Pennsylvania and (emphasis added) “I am going to tell them that they have faith and they have trust and support the Constitution of the United States because they have optimism and hope and that is the strength of America.” These are people he’s never in his life lived among, but he’s going to tell them what they think? Does anyone beside me think that’s weird?

Shortly after Obama was slammed for the bitter remark I wrote a post called “Elitism for Elites” that most of the people in media screeching about “elitism” were, in fact, elites who had never in their lives enjoyed the true small-town white experience. Yet they stepped all over themselves rushing to a microphone to speak for small-town white folks everywhere.

Being a descendant of 'folks' and at the same time the product of those Eastern Ivy-League schools, like so many of my fellow bloggers I have some confusion about how the two backgrounds relate. The higher ideals I find in the left are so often adopted as their own, while in practice they use the lower ones, by the right wing, adds to that confusion.

I do hope that their association with humane, decent behavior in words will eventually wear off on the wingers, and that they will be infected with it. If anyone develops an appropriate treatment that will create a shortcut to that ideal, please let us know.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your comment over at Debbie Howell's, Ruth. Here's mine:

ifthethunderdontgetya wrote:
Deborah Howell wrote:

...the Onion, a satirical tabloid printed by The Post but not owned by it -- and obviously without The Post's standards of accuracy or taste.
The Onion is far superior in taste and in accuracy to the vast majority of Fred Hiatt's editorials.

If the Post is serious about improving itself, then fire Fred Hiatt.
6/28/2008 10:17:16 PM

Single minded, as always (and a botched editing job in there, re: to and than). But I see more an more people are catching on!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

You're right, thunder, it's worth the aggravation to comment at WaPo, tho as you see I've been staying away to preserve my temperament for awhile. But if you read - you have to comment just to preserve sanity.

Very nice, hope she will follow your sage advice.

3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of different types of cluelessness, and they bother me more or less depending on type. For example, that Bush the elder didn't know how grocery store scanners work is OK with me. I don't want the president putting her/himself at risk and taking time away from the business of state to pop down to the convenience store for a Twinkie.

But when Bush the younger responded to a reporter's question about $4 per gallon gas by saying flippantly, "Really? I hadn't heard that"… Well, that really irritated me. I mean, I don't want him to pump his own gas, but I do want him to be aware of the serious practical consequences for American citizens of his foreign and economic policies.

That's why I really appreciated Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Here's a well educated, well off, well connected journalist who actually attempts to survive on minimum wage income--not only the income, but the actual labor that earns such income.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Anon,doing the labor and living off the wages would be a terrific practice for everyone who votes, and put into office those who make the policies that make our economy. That they most likely couldn't make it without the support of influential families handicaps the drones like the cretin in chief, and I doubt they would ever recover from the effort. IOW, their handlers will not take that chance.

2:24 PM  

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