Black Man’s Burden

Their lack of self-awareness is tragic. They’ve been unable to help themselves for 25 years. They hate outsiders. They are racist homophobes. Their bitterness rivals that of a Michelle Obama campaign speech. These pathetic beings deserve our pity and our charity. We can redeem them though change. Or maybe change them through redemption. Whatever.

Raising the self-consciousness of these hinterland hicks is a tremendous burden, especially without resort to a “my Grandmother was sort of mildly and privately like that” analogy. Barack Obama is the man to do it, though, and The Huffington Post catches him on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania.

You go into 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,” Obama said. “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. And 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 anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Bill Clinton felt our pain. Barack Obama commiserates our defects. Let Us Parse:

“I understand why you are bitter, xenophobic, isolationist, protectionist, unemployed, gun-toting religious zealots. Except for the gun part, I’ve got beloved mentors just like you. Though you are deluded and pathetic, your vote still counts. Cast it for me.”

In his own defense Obama explains that he is not elitist, he simply understands why people are bitter. What he does not explain is why he thinks they are also knuckle dragging mouth breathers, which is the point.

PS; And what’s with this anti-trade critique? Last I heard, reviving the punitive economic border fences of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which helped precipitate the Great Depression, is the province of big hitters like Obama and Clinton.