Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Audacity of Truth

As I sat last night watching Keith "Truth-teller" Olbermann report on the most recent campaign flap - this one focusing on remarks Senator Barack Obama made in San Francisco last week about his assessment of the mindset of many voters in the middle of the country, my first thought was ho hum, here we go again, creating another mountain out of a molehill. But reflecting on not only Obama's comments, but also the outrageous response to what seems like simple statements of truth, I became angry. My anger grew out of realizing a distinct difference between Mr. Obama's remarks and Ms. Clinton's outright lies. Obama simply offered an opinion about what is going on in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and other mid-western states that have lost industrial jobs and are dealing with the ramifications of a souring economy along with the loss of those good paying jobs, and with them the loss of pensions, and health care. Obama's comments ring true to me. Along with his words about race, Obama speaks the truth as he sees it, as he experiences it, as an intelligent, well-spoken young politician, he is giving us not what we want to hear but rather what the reality is "on the ground."

Are you feeling bitter, well are ya?

Hell yes, I'm feeling bitter. I am bitter that my country is spending not only our current resources but also is bankrupting our children's and our grandchildren's future by continuing to fight in a country that posed no threat to us, that had no weapons of mass destruction, and that had no ties to Al-Qaeda (the terrorist group that actually attacked the twin towers and the pentagon on September 11, 2001). I am bitter that the current administration has catered to the wealthy at the expense of the middle and working class people in this country, granting tax cuts to the ultra-rich and corporations while average Americans are facing foreclosure and are having a hard time filling their gas tanks with the very commodity that is sold by corporations who are profiting by feeding at the government trough and gouging the nation's working people at the same time.

I am sorry to tell the media, but I do know the difference between an outright lie told for effect "I landed in Bosnia under sniper fire," and an assessment offered as insight into what is going on in America right now "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." The only change I would suggest that Mr. Obama make when he offers future assessments of the American psyche, is that he use the pronoun "we" rather than "they." It is more accurate and inclusive.

Here's a link to the full audio of Obama's speech, listen to it and decide for yourself whether you feel optimistic or bitter about the state of America right now. I know how I feel, and that is why I so desperately want a change in direction and leadership in this country. Viva Obama!

Read Catherine Crier's piece in HuffPo, Punished for the Truth, (April 12, 2008).

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