Why are American politics infuriating? Not because of all the disagreements and ideological clashes, made-up "culture wars," etc. No; it's because the level of discourse is so trivial and wasteful when there are way more than enough important, serious, urgent issues to tackle--issues that actually affect the lives of most Americans! I'm ecstatic that Barack Obama bothered to mention the situation (I don't think it's too much to dramatically call it a "plight" at this point) of the working class in America. How could people living paycheck to paycheck with no health insurance, uncertain whether their non-living-wage job will even BE there next week, NOT be "bitter"? Is anyone besides the mainstream media surprised in any way by this concept?

Actually, what scares me is that the working class itself has been painted by the ever-untrustworthy spin cycle as shocked by the idea that they might have some strong negative feelings about a system that perpetually fails them. I know the things that Obama said might have sounded "condescending." But it's painfully obvious that he was sincerely attempting to focus the endless chatter on a vital issue for once, so my feeling is that it's really just tough if you felt "condescended" to! I consider myself to have come from a working-class background, and I've seen up close how we shoot ourselves right in the foot as working people when we play the stupidly defensive, tired old "You think you're better than me?" game we play on a grand scale here in America--the game wherein you take someone down by asserting their "elitism," the game which, in my opinion, had an irremediably negative impact on the last three presidential elections.

News flash: The elitist economic policies--we're talking laws that act to determine your cost of living and opportunities--of George W. Bush and his ilk tangibly demonstrate, in the real world down here far from the ether of the airwaves and blogosphere, that they think they're better than you, and you mustn't allowed them to placate you with their calculated, empty personality projections and glee-club popularity contests! Obama took his chance to speak on behalf of this country's working poor, of whom there are far too many, and say something substantial; I think that's more than we can say of most other politicians, let alone our embarrassing profit-driven media. It is too bad there isn't a prominent voice that is itself working-class (and I think there are very specific reasons why there is not, not in shallow, rose-colored American mainstream public discourse). But at least there's someone willing to stick his neck out and bring up what any fool can see is the working class's rightful resentment of the system, which makes me feel even better than I already did about being an Obama supporter.

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