When Mr. Obama was in San Francisco chatting informally with the rich power elite, he referred to rural Pennsylvania with these words:
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.
When I first read Mr. Obama's remarks I didn't think them particularly nasty or elitist. Perhaps this reflects poorly on my own tendencies toward arrogance.
Update: I forgot to stress that Mr. Obama's remarks are not so much troubling because they are elitist, but for the values they reflect.
But upon closer reflection, I started thinking about what this reflects about Mr. Obama's underlying worldview. What's primary in his thinking is the economic determinism latent in his remarks. What drives and defines the people of rural america are economic factors like jobs or government handouts. I don't believe any of this, but it appears Mr. Obama does. Karl Marx also believed in economic determinism and I don't agree with him, either. Am I saying Mr. Obama is a marxist? No, but sharing the same ecoomic worldview as Karl Marx makes it harder to not be a marxist.
Moreover, look at Mr. Obama's view of human suffering. Mankind, at least in rural Pennsylvania, suffers because of inadequate government compassion and activism. This kind of thinking is statist at best. Contrast this with Mr. Reagan's claim that government wasn't the solution, but that government was the problem. I don't think the government is my momma at whose breast I must be fed. But this is not the reason I have in mind to vote against Mr. Obama.
My reason to vote against Mr. Obama has to do with the opiate of the masses. Another idea of Karl Marx's.
Mr. Obama painted a picture of human pain, and then described how poor people self-medicate to dull that pain. One of those painkillers is religion. Religion, qua religion, as Mr. Obama has posed it, has nothing to do with events of 2000 years ago when our Saviour was crucified and rose again.
I think this explains why Mr. Obama was a member for 20 years of Trinity Church in Chicago. You'll recall that Mr. Obama has claimed he's not a racist, that he doesn't think God should damn America, etc. But he joined and stayed in that church where such things issue from the pulpit. Why? I think it's because he wasn't listening.
There is another explanation for why people in small towns in Pennsylvania go to church. This reason doesn't carry much weight with the power elites. There might just be something to religion. People might go to church because they find truth there.
If you don't believe that way, that's up to you and I'll respect you for it.
But if you believe there's only political expediency or economic painkillers in religion, and then you make any claim of faith, be it Islam, Christianity, or anything, you're a phony.
Because Mr. Obama's remark leads me to believe he's a religious phony, that's a reason to vote against him.