The bitter truth about America

If Hillary Clinton manages somehow to wrest the Democratic Presidential nomination from Barack Obama, it will serve as a bitter reminder that telling the truth is all too often suicidal in politics.

Obama told the truth when he said small town America is bitter about the declining quality of life. He told the truth when he said the small-minded cling to their guns and their religion as crutches to prop themselves up against the pathetic realities of their failed lives.

I’m a product of small-town America, raised in a Blue Ridge mountain community: Population 435. I gladly left that restrictive, fundamentalist-dominated environment behind in 1965 to pursue a career that included big cities, world-wide travel and life in the fast-lane. Yet, with a big-city born wife, I returned 40 years later, seeking refuge in that same small-town solitude that seemed so stifling four decades earlier.

We saw some signs of change: Barack Obama carried our small county in the Democratic primary earlier this year; a mixed-race couple owned the town’s most well-known restaurant and a Catholic Church was under construction in this bastion of Southern Baptist fundamentalism.

But change comes hard in small town America.

Outside one local polling place, a local musician overheard an overalls-clad farmer telling someone that “when Hillary Clinton is the only other choice, I’m forced to vote for the nigger.”

Local blogger Colleen Redman reported the following:

Animated Woman: If Obama is president the black people are gonna take over. They’ll line us white people up and shoot us.

Postal Clerk: I think you should go home and go back to bed so you can wake up again.

The local woman’s club sponsored an annual arts and crafts fair at the local high school and invites a revisionist, self-published “author” whose books claim blacks prospered under slavery. That same high school has a “redneck hall” where only like-minded white boys are allowed to “hang.”

When I left the area, the small-minded directed their bitterness towards blacks. That bitterness remains with aging old-timers but they have a new target: A growing community of Mexican immigrants – both legal and illegal.

Fundamentalist preachers rant and rail against plans to put a state-owned liquor store in the county but those same ministers look the other way at the entrenched racism. In an adjoining county, the Ku Klux Klan thrives and holds rallies at the birthplace of Booker T. Washington.

Yes, small town America is bitter. Small town America is angry. Small town America is ignorant, frightened, intolerant and small-minded.

Barack Obama told the truth when he said small town America is bitter. That bitterness gave George W. Bush eight years in office. That same bitterness could put another Clinton in the White House.

Legendary journalist H.L. Mencken once said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

The same is too often true of politics. Few, if any, politicians ever lost an election by underestimating the ignorance, anger and intolerance of the American voter.


  1. sherry

    Sandra, I agree with you. I was brought up in the church and those values worked for us I believe, only because my parents demanded we be independent thinkers. We were taught to find our own spiritual path. Although we were active in the church, we were also seeking knowledge on our own.
    We had some pretty spirited discussions around our dinner table.
    We were required to vote. We could vote for whomever we wanted, but we had to defend it. O my. It is a wonder we didn’t all wind up with ulcers!!!
    BTW, my Dad was an old blue collar guy whose family got thru the Great Depression with faith and sheer determination. Yeah. They had guns. It was the way dinner was obtained.
    I was never personally comfortable with the church becoming involved in politics. That to me is a highly private matter, and indeed Jesus Himself told us to pray in the closet and to be wary of those who prayed loudly and long winded in the streets to be seen and heard.
    I have no children to impart the wisdom I was given at home.I think parents are just too busy. I am at the tail end of the baby boomer crowd. It’s a different world now. Both parents work buying the bigger house, the nicer car and all the stuff they really don’t need but think they do.
    People make decisions regarding elections with a combination of distain and intentional ignorance. It’s all about the sound bites. No research. If it ain’t on the favorite cable channel, well it’s not worth knowing.
    I haven’t given up. We are in for some tough times. I believe people will turn that bitterness into action. It’s a different ballgame now.
    Sandra, when you wrote those letters for 30 years, you were a lone voice. People didn’t care. What can I say? You were a woman ahead of your time. The masses have finally caught up to you!

  2. Sandra Price

    So we will continue to blame the corporations, the lobbyists, the Liberals and Conservatives for the mess we are in. Quoting dead people will sell not a single freedom to any American.

    About every 20 years we catch wind of a new candidate who represents all the missing elements to our problems and we are helpless to support him into office.

    Who within the realm of our individual lives can we open up the subject of Constitutional freedoms? How about the next generation? How about turning our own homes into discussions of what went wrong politically and try to explain and train what is right? It starts with a desire for academics, work ethics, individual responsibilities and knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the American values that must start from the families.

    My grandfather gave me a firm history of American Values. He tried Christian values and failed. I also used the same training in my home and even with 6 years of Christian schools, that fell apart. American Values are far more understandable and easier to instill.

    Americans need leadership along with knowledge and a firm endgame. It is not offered in schools, churches and certainly not within the campaigns. Restoring the Constitution means training the next generation to use it as a guide for elections as well as the general set of laws for controlling the government itself.

    This CHB forum is not yet convinced that we are losing our freedoms every time Congress meets. This happens because we are not breeding the next generation to think for themselves.

    Are we too late? Is it even possible to join as a team to stop the corruption? Can we take a rational look at what has brought us down to this 3rd world situation? Or do we continue to blame the greedy corporations and the lobbyists, leaving out the corruption from our own government? I don’t think we are ready to do this.

    We will be stuck with quick-fixes in our list of candidates and in another 8 years, we can repeat this discussion and shake our heads in wonder at who else is at fault.

    Sherry, come of us have spent 30 years writing letters, sending telegrams, emails, faxes and reams of private letters to our representatives. When the internet opened it was like our problems would be solved. We forgot to teach our voters what was the road to freedom and they will always vote for handouts and even the destruction of our corporations who sign our paychecks.

    We must take charge of our family’s education before we do anything else. The schools and churches will not do it!

  3. Bluesman2007

    Sherry, I couldn’t have said it better. The only thing left is the people (god help us). I predicted they wouldn’t wake up until the seriousness of the situation actually TOUCHED them in ways they could possibly comprehend (lost homes, huge increases in gas prices, outsourced/lost jobs, and now food prices are steadily on the rise). When reality hits their slurpies, maybe, just maybe….well, one can hope.

    But I think to defeat the status quo, we have to think like the status quo and use their own tactics against them. It’s not been done yet but I think it must be done and soon.


  4. sherry

    I am encouraged by the sheer numbers of voters who are registering to vote for the first time. It tells me America may just be waking from its long slumber.
    Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, Americans wrote called and faxed congress with their displeasure. The bill was defeated, because for the first time I can remember our elected ones had to pay attention to the masses. People were angry and they were heard in those hallowed halls by people who think they know what’s best for us. Perhaps it occurred to them, lobbyists can’t overcome that opinion.
    I only wish the masses would have done something before now.
    The 2006 elections were full of hope and promise. I personally worked hard for Jim Webb. He is one of the few who hasn’t disappointed me. Yet.
    Pelosi and Reid have all the spine of a snail. The democratic House and Senate hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.
    I submit that if Americans take their jobs as citizens seriously, it won’t matter so much who is in the White House. It will only matter how well we,the people are standing up to them. O yeah, the congress will not like it. Time to turn the tables kids.It’s so much easier when they are working for the lobbyists and paying lip service during election years. It is our job to make them accountable. We must do that.
    Let’s start by restoring the constitution. We don’t have to wait for an election. Let the letters begin!

  5. knockknock

    Amen to Mencken’s “…underestimating the American public” and that may well be the Clintons’ creed.

    Hillary is just like Johnny Cochran during the OJ trial — when he was addressing the jury, he began using phrases like “prayer meetin'” which he never used in real life. She tailors every remark, every motion, every thought to the specific state in which she’s crying, oh, sorry, I meant to say whining, oh again I’m so sorry, I mean to say snickering — oh heck, you get what I mean.

    Obama pretty much says the same thing and if his message requires clarification, his ideas are all right there on his website.

    I did, however, note how shrewdly Hillary used the words “closed door meeting” (which is her thing, not Obama’s), suggesting the opposite of the transparent government he wishes to implement.

    She’s crafty and dangerous. If she’s nominated (God forbid!) and elected president, the entire world will know we’ve been doped up by injected zuccini and room scent.

  6. AustinRanter

    I think Uncle Dave said pretty much how it is.

    “We have government of the people, by the politicians, for the corporations.”

    As soon as Hillary becomes President, she’ll up the ante.
    Hillary will make sure that we’ll have “government of the corporations, by the politicians owned and appointed by the corporations, for the new world order of corporations.”

    The corporations will eventually stop feeling obligated to pay their stockholders, royalities, dividends, or 401K funds. Why? Because they’ll be the government, which will have a new constitution written by the corporations that protect the corporations rights…not the individual’s.

  7. Flapsaddle

    You’ve come as close to the truth as anyone I’ve seen on the internet:

    It is not a single candidate that will change things.
    It will have to be American’s coming together and demanding a change in Politics.


    There is no knight of the Round Table candidate beyond corruption and possessed of Galahad-like purity; nor is there a magic-bullet third party with principles as immutable and inexorable as the laws of physics. There is no magic-bullet legislation that will dot all of the “I”s and cross all of the “T”s – but we do have a Constitution that could be followed rather than loopholed to death. Nor are there any magic-bullet writers lurking out there in the internet, ready to post megabytes of brillance that will be a solution of Euclidian perfection, elegance and simplicity. There is no group concensus of posters, no collection of action items and no internet petitions that will really do anything other than further clutter the world with Rube Goldberg cubed schemes to unravel the Gordian knot or allow Sisyphus to keep the boulder from rolling.

    As Bertrand Russell said, “the Golden Mountain does not exist!”

    But the voting public does, and that’s all there is – but that’s all that is needed. A voting public that realizes that it’s to blame for both tolerating and encouraging the crimes of the two morally irredeemable and chancre-ridden, political whores that are endlessly pimped to a gullible nation.

    The voting public must, like Oliver Cromwell dismissing the Long Parliament, point to the door and shout loudly and clearly, “Begone, you rogues! You have sat too long!”

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  8. griff

    Welcome to Social Engineering 101. You mentioned H.L Mencken. Here are a few choice ones…

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety -and menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    And then there’s Arthut C. Clarke…

    “Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal – and power.”

    America is kept in an endless Hegelian cycle of conflict, controlled and manipulated via by the unseen hands of master puppeteers.

    Drugged from cradle to grave and bombarded with endless propaganda, it’s a wonder there’s anyone left with the capacity for independent, rational thought. Turning off the TV does wonders for this recovering dumb-ass.

    So don’t blame the medicated masses, they are powerless to stop it. We will continue to be hand-fed our thoughts and ideas and think them our own, all the while our public “servants”, including Obama, will continue to snicker and laugh at just how easy it is to manipulate an increasingly stupid society.

  9. Sandra Price

    uncledave. You must not forget that those corporations write the paychecks for most Americans. Many of us seniors are living on the retirement funds from the corporations.

    We need our American products and if we slam into our corporations it will be necessary to buy our products overseas and leaving us to work for the government.

    We have the Securities Exchange Commission that is supposed to keep an eye on our Corporations involved in t he stock market but they are not doing the job. It is simply another oversight mess that is not working.

  10. SEAL

    You nailed it uncle Dave. Change has to come from the people. They must stop buying into the corporate program and take the responsibility themselves.

  11. Sheep

    It’s so sad that ignorance is the reason this country is in a mess. The same type of small minds in small town America will elect Hillary Clinton as their president. This is truly scary.

    By the way, in 1991, Bill CLinton made the same comment that Mr. Obama made. Please tell me Mr. and Mrs. America, who is really the elitist in this campaign?

    Obama 08′

  12. uncledave

    Several posters have stated that the USA is heading toward Socialism, but the country has been sliding into Corporate Fascism for decades. Everything is becoming corporatized and privatized, wealth and power are continuing to concentrate in the corporate sector, and even though we still have remnants of our social programs and our democracy, they are being chipped away as rapidly as is realistically possible.

    The change we need, is not so much a change in the government, but a change in how we are governed. We have government of the people, by the politicians, for the corporations.

  13. txfarmer

    Sandra Price commented that many had tried to get a candidate elected who might have made a real change in how things were done.
    It is not a single candidate that will change things.
    It will have to be American’s coming together and demanding a change in Politics.
    Demanding that big money no longer plays a role in who gets a nomination. By requiring any political donor to be eligible to vote for that candidate, and then limiting the donation to $2000, maximum. With a prison term for the donor and disqualification for the politician.
    No more 527’s, PAC’s, Unions, Corporations and wealthy individuals giving money or other “in kind” donations.
    Once we take away the opportunity for a politician to get rich on the job, we will get a group that is truly willing to serve for two terms and then go back to their career.
    We can’t expect the politician to do this on his/her own.

  14. Hoosier_CowBoy

    I don’t think his “bitter” comment will hurt Obama one bit. For one simple reason, those clingers won’t vote for Obama even if Satan himself were on the opposing ticket.

    They are one class of voters that the Democrats have always pined over, not understanding that whatever the Party does for them, they will never ever support the Democrats.

    Like leaving the brain dead to die peacefully in the triage of a hospital emergency room, those who are doomed to die politically must just be made comfortable while turning medical attention to those that can be saved .

    The funniest part of this whole episode is that its turned Senator Clinton into a Gun Toting Bible Thumper whining about Obama being an elitest! Excuse Me! What a phony!

  15. Sandra Price

    Austin, there will be no solutions for America in the next 8 years but we must stay as a team and try to form a movement that reflects what we want rather than what we don’t want. We have Doug, Rob, Hal and Phil who are able to rationally expose the rot in our government. I was up there trying to represent Capitalism but failed to make my points and simply attracted some ugly people from another forum. I gave up; as it was not worth the aggravation.

    We must be prepared for another graduation class from our highshools who cannot read and accept the kids from other nations to get into our Universities and take on our scientific discoveries.

    Can we stay a team here at CHB or will we eat each other alive? I have a website with all the bells and whistles and I plan to work with CHB in promoting the freedoms that must be ours again. But not until after the November election. This time I will not use my real name. I learned the hard way to trust nobody!