April 14, 2008


Misreading "The Deer Hunter" (G. Tracy Mehan, III, 4/14/2008, American Spectator)

SENATOR OBAMA'S DISPARAGING remarks about religious people in small towns is really a puzzler, given his own testimony to his journey of faith. His own experience is counter-factual to his view of religious belief as a mere psychological response to bitterness in small towns.

In some cases it may be that embittering experience leads a person to faith, but that experience usually helps a person lance the boil of bitterness through faith, hope and charity. If religion is an important part of a person's life, it hopefully remains so in good times and bad, transforming one's being through his or her relationship with God.

Pennsylvania and other manufacturing states suffering hard times are regions that have always had large communities of religious people and very diverse ethnic populations. Again, this was the case long before the current economic downturn of the last two decades.

What has failed Senator Obama is his social and moral imagination with respect to people in other walks of life, far removed from his own. We all have this failing to some degree. But given the Senator's self-evident social skills and his self-professed goal of unity or changing our politics, his comments in San Francisco were truly stunning -- and disappointing.

Talking about unity and change is one thing, but the contradiction in Senator Obama's program is that he fails to grasp the importance traditional modes of living for folks outside the hot house of far-left Democratic politics. He cannot even sound sympathetic when abortion or the right to life comes up on the campaign trail, which even Hillary Clinton tries to do from time to time.

Senator Obama very much needs to discover his moral intuition on social and cultural issues to rival his keen sense of racial matters.

Given his own stated view of faith as a function of bitterness and the fact that his pastor preaches little but bitterness, what reason do we have to believe that he misspoke or failed to reflect his own experience?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2008 7:59 AM

Parts of Pennsylvania have had some hard economic times, but a "twenty-year downturn"? The Philadelphia area has done very well, State College is growing, and even the Lehigh Valley is doing better today than it has been in years. Other than the mill towns around Pittsburgh (and the old neighborhoods in the city), PA is doing better than Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.

Obama, of course, looks down on them all.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 14, 2008 2:35 PM