Barack Obama is a rarity in Washington — an honest politician who tells it like it is. Unfortunately the truth is often painful, as it was when he made the statement to a group of supporters that many working-class voters have been manipulated and used. The manufactured outrage from John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and much of the TV media has been utterly predictable and utterly self-serving, because all of these people know that Obama speaks the truth.
For years, decades in many areas, hard-working Americans have seen their jobs eliminated or shipped overseas for no reason other than the greed of CEOs and corporate boards. It may be called “good economics” or “cutting business costs,” but what it amounts to is greed. If they claim it is to make a product more affordable to consumers, this is also obfuscation, because consumers are forced to buy sweatshop products only when their own wages are stagnant (or falling). This is exactly what is going on now; regular Americans like you and me are unable to stave off a recession because we cannot afford to.
The Republican Party has long invoked the old specter of communism, convincing people that there is a government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth from the top down. This could not be farther from the truth: For years, the redistribution of wealth has been from the middle and working class into the pockets of multimillionaires. It’s been done with our nation’s economic policies, which tax work and reward wealth. It’s been done with the out-of-control cost hikes in healthcare, which have not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in people’s wages. And it’s been done in the war in Iraq, which has seen billions of our tax dollars taken from our paychecks and deposited into the coffers of Blackwater and Halliburton.
People do become bitter when they see everything they ever worked for taken away. But rather than make elections about the real cause of that anger, Republicans and a fair number of Democrats have been playing games with everyone, stirring up unfounded fears that the government will seize guns from law-abiding Americans or outlaw religion. It is a very smart tactic. It was no mere chance that freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to self-defense were the very first amendments to our Constitution; these liberties are important to Americans and a perceived threat to them would stir up outrage.
But there is no such threat. The years-long campaign to convince people otherwise has been to give massive coverage to local stories where individual people illegally abused their power, and pretend that it is a formal government policy. It stirs up that outrage and distracts people from the real issue. Can you go to church? Can you talk about God to someone in the mall? Can you keep a gun in your house? Why, yes, and there is no danger that you will be denied these rights. However, there is a very real danger that you could lose your job, and with that, your healthcare, your life savings, your property, and even your house. The government won’t help you, either, despite that you have paid taxes all your life and been an honest American. They will bail out Bear Stearns, but you’re not important enough, in their minds.
THIS is what Barack Obama was referring to. HE is not the elitist. HE is not the one who looks down on voters. To the contrary, Barack Obama wants to address nationwide, systemic, real problems, not fearmongering and lies. Those who are on TV blathering about what Obama said have too much invested in the system to offer a fair assessment of his words. However, the voters have the opportunity to stand with a truly straight-talking politician and prove to the naysayers that they will not have their intelligence insulted and will not be lied to anymore.