My Obamist Friends: Pop-Sociology Updated 9/16/12

Another bad jobs report the morning right after President Obama’s triumphant speech. He couldn’t know yesterday about the dismal job report. Or, if he did have advanced knowledge, it did not make any difference. His declarations bear little systematic relationship to reality. The President was triumphant about what he is going to do next. Why not? He received the Nobel Peace Prize to reward his future achievements after all. His speech last night contained striking numbers pulled out of thin air, completely imaginary achievements, and taking credit for saying “yes” to the obvious (attacking Bin Laden in his lair). The speech was also very well delivered. It was more coherent than anything the Republicans gave at their convention (with the possible exception of Condoleeza Rice’s rousing patriotic speech). Republicans want to fix things. That gives you laundry lists. Barack Obama has a leftist, “no more injustice,” Third Worlder, “government-will- fix-it” vision. It was developed over the sixty years since World War Two by the international Left. Of course, it’s coherent.

It looks like this race is going to be between well-spoken histrionics backed by gut-feeling, on the one hand, and rationality and facts, on the other hand. Bad forebodings for me after brief conversations with three people in their late twenties.

One, a guy I have know since he was in elementary school, is an artist, a painter who actually paints, paints a lot. He sells some of his work but it’s not enough to support him. He lives off little. He has a small disability pension from the federal government. He is one of the able disabled, you might say. I can’t say more because I like him. His mother is your straightforward State of California bureaucrat. She works for a state agency I would abolish after one minute of serious thought and analysis if I had a chance. His father works in the real world but, like many others, he seems to be having a tough time right now.

One evening, I am buying the artist a beer and I ask him casually who he is going to vote for. Obama, of course, he replies. Why? I ask him. His reply has two parts. First, the government does not do much anyway. Obama has done fine with the minimal job of leading it. Second, he says, he looked at Romney and he couldn’t possibly vote “for someone like” him. In an instant, I see Romney with my young friend’s eyes: He wears a suit even when he does not wear a suit. When he actually wears a suit, he also wears a tie. The tie is not even elegantly tied. It’s a matter of style. My artist friend need not go further. He can’t vote for someone pokey, uncool. Romney is pokey; Obama isn’t.

There is an attractive young woman I know only a little. She lives in a smaller town in Northern California. I like her beyond her attractiveness. (I often have strong preferences in people. These things are mysterious. If I were not so sturdily anchored in rationality, I would believe this woman and I we were something to each other in a previous life. Maybe I am just fantasizing, of course. I am just trying to tell you that I am far from hostile to her.) She is a struggling student who works at mediocre jobs to support herself, I think. I have reasons to believe she has moral courage and independence of mind. (She wouldn’t even know how I know.)

My beautiful acquaintance posts on her Facebook, “Obama all the way.” I ask her why. She sends me a private message saying two clear things. First, Obama is pro-woman, Second she likes what he has done so far. First answer makes perverse sense: The rumor of a Republican “war on women” works for some. The Republican rigid anti-abortion platform does not help. Who is going to explain that party platforms are not binding? Who is going to explain that abortion is a state issue, that a US president’s position on the issue does not matter? Who is going to explain that Republican rank-and file differ little from the majority of Americans on abortion, that they believe what President Clinton said best: Abortion should be rare, legal and safe.

As for her second answer, I ask her what Obama has accomplished that she likes. She gives not answer, not even the obvious: health care reform. She is not embarrassed by her lack of response, I am guessing. Her non-answer resembles my artist friend’s answer: President Obama has done well enough at whatever he has done; no need to go into detail.

She has sent me a private message because, I am guessing, she would rather not her friends were aware that she even knows someone like me. Talking to me is a kind of slumming. Is there any other interpretation? Am I missing something?

Finally, I have the briefest of exchanges with the young woman who checks my membership at the gym. The truth is that I ambush her. She is curious about why I am sitting at her counter taking long notes (for this blog, actually). I explain briefly then I ask her abruptly: Who are you going to vote for? She volunteers that she is ignorant of politics but that she feels she has no moral right not to vote. Then she says she will vote for Obama. Why? Because of his “family values” she replies. I am guessing she refers to the attractive picture of Obama with his pretty wife and daughters on television much of the time. (I am just guessing. I can’t know for sure.) She admits readily she knows nothing about Romney’s family values. Of course, she did begin by asserting that she was ignorant.

I am underwhelmed by the experience of communicating with these three Obamists. There is so much to do and, at the same time, it’s so little. It’s only a little that nobody, but nobody seems to be doing. Here is what I would do if I had a chance. I would tell them this:

8%+ unemployment (and probably underestimated) is very high. Unemployment impoverishes everyone, not just the unemployed themselves.

2% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) economic growth rate is miserable for America . (In France, it would be an occasion for celebration; another story, obviously.) The dollar someone does not earn today is lost forever. That dollar will not have children, ever.

When unemployment is high and economic growth slow, women are among the first to suffer. Poverty is anti-women.

Both unemployment and low economic growth ( GDP growth ) respond to specific government policies. Any government that does not do what needs to be done is deeply stupid or criminal. (One does not exclude the other.)

The nation is obligated to support increasing large numbers of older people. It does not have the money to do so. Something has to be done.

Current high unemployment and low economic growth are pulling back this country to the level of much poorer countries and possibly toward economic disaster of Greek magnitude. (Explain Greek disaster.) There is no guarantee anywhere that the US cannot become a Third World country. It could even happen in a short time, in less than the lifetime of my younger friends. A high national debt will do that (explain national debt). Unfulfilled Social Security and Medicare obligations impose and even worse burden on the next generations, on people who are now I their late twenties, precisely

That would take an hour or so. Then, if I had another hour with them, I would try to explain what a corporation is. That would be a challenge. Every time I say in front of young people that I own parts of several oil companies and of several large pharmaceutical corporations they dismiss my words. That’s because I don’t seem rich. The “rich “ own corporations. (Would I make this up?)

My Obama-friends friends don’t know that the guy who made the best speech at the convention urging them to trust Obama again was himself impeached for lying under oath. If they have heard of it, they think it’s only a rumor.

As a teacher, I feel terrible, guilty by omission.

I wish I could vote for my neighbor, Clint Eastwood. He speaks more clearly than anyone in politics today. He does it with a great economy of words. As he said,  Obama is a hoax.

Updated 9/16

Nine days later. The reader who said in a comment that “reproductive rights” (abortion rights)  are being eroded state by state did not respond to my challenge to give instances, or an instance.  I don’t read much into this absence. People are busy. They have lives.

I do read something however in the lack of any other response to my simple challenge except one. Dr Terry, my most faithful liberal critic, also a professor well versed in empirical research, referred us to a something in the Huffington Post. The quality of this response speaks for itself.

The original commentator illustrated a general phenomenon: The overwhelmingly liberal media makes noises about this or that form of oppression from conservatives. The noises are so persistent that regular people end up believing that they correspond to something in the real world. People are too busy to check much of anything. They rely on media which they think wrongly to be objective. This is a source of sadness for me and of frustration. I do what I can but it’s not even a drop in the bucket. I wonder what it would take to cause the main liberal media to lose their undeserved credibility. I wonder what will happen that might remedy the fact that schools don’t train students to be critical. It would have to begin in the fourth grade or so. Instead children, and later adult students, are trained into mindless conformity.

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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12 Responses to My Obamist Friends: Pop-Sociology Updated 9/16/12

  1. Thomas H. says:

    Sir:

    My second attempt at a comment here as my computer is acting up today. While there are voters who do like the Democrats these days, that U.S. liberals’ party does have some of the character and traits of a scientological grouping or trendy clique. The democratic leadership right now has been trained by gifted and worldly people (some of them well – known and effective bureaucrats and public figures themselves,) and today is advised again by gifted people. Nonetheless, many of the Democratic supporters have no idea why they are supporting their party other than while supporting the party line. This is not an example of old – fashioned political charisma, but an example of set – and – forget, mindless civics; all in all a sin in and of itself. Your comments invited.

  2. Karly says:

    The message i sent was not private; I highlighted your name so you would know i posted back.You are on my FB page for all to see. I am aware reproductive rights are at a state level but I am also aware how our President can change the Political climate about these issues.Honestly I am terrified, state by state women”s right are being taken away; by Republicans. How I vote for someone who stand for nothing I believe in?

  3. Hi, Karly. First, I apologize for misinterpreting the channel you used as private. Please, blame only my gross technical incompetence. (It’s hard to imagine, I know, but it’s really there!)

    I don’t know of how “state by state” women’s rights are being taken away by Republicans. A fair number of people follow this blog, directly and through other, more popular blogs. You would do me and a significant number of others a favor by giving some instances of such rights being take away. My guess is that you will not find any. (I think attempts that fail don’t count because politicians are always making grand gestures for the benefit of the folks back home that they are sure will fail when the voting comes.)

    I am not completely sure what you mean by “women’s rights.” I suspect you mean abortion rights. Of course,I think there are no women’s rights. (emphasis on the word “right”) I also think there is no “right” to abortion. If there were, it sure as hell wouldn’t be called “reproductive right.” Destroying a fetus is not reproduction, for sure. That’s pure Newspeak, right out of Orwell’s “1984.” (My turn to be scared.)

    What there is is a central majority (MAJORITY) public opinion stand that has not changed for about thirty years, I think. Again, Pres. Clinton stated it best: Abortion should be safe, legal (LEGAL) and rare. When a large fraction of public opinion really believes that abortion is murder, the best you can do is let the democratic process determine what the law will be. Any other position is anti-demoratic. (And, I ask you, what is the alternative to democracy? It’s worth thinking through. This is a real question for all who would have their way at any cost.) What you and your side on abortion issues can do is try to persuade the others that their position is unreasonable. In the meantime you can no more decide that abortion is OK than you can make them accept the murder of, say, one-year old babies. (Or, say, teenagers!) You are simply lucky unconditional abortion opponents are a minority. This may change for the worse. My subjective opinion is that the more strident, the less rational-sounding are “pro-life” (More Newspeak) public voices, the more likely the anti-abortion minority is to grow.

    Let me ad again that, for the record, I espouse entirely the Clinton position: I think abortion should remain legal. I will vote that way in my state of California any time the occasion arises. I also think it’s tremendously regrettable. My imagination fails me when I try to think of any woman, specifically, who would not think it’s regrettable.

    Also I have posted several essays on this blog about the numerous alternatives to abortion. I am not a Christian. If I were a believer at all, I would have trouble imagining a God obsessed with the happenings between people”s legs. I am not prudish. (I used to be French!). Consequently, sexual abstinence ranks low among the other possibilities I examine. (I will give the reference to an essay on the topic in a comment following.)

    Last (really last): There is a feeling of unfairness toward women running through any debate on abortion, I acknowledge. Don’t blame me, the messenger, and don’t blame patriarchy, and don’t blame phallocracy ( a beautiful word fallen sadly into disuse). Rather, blame Mother Nature, that heartless bitch!

    Thanks for taking the trouble to respond.

    I refrained from posting this long answer on your Facebook. Please, post the link if you see fit. Thanks.

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Karly. My dear friend Jacques is up to his old tricks again, having others do his research for him. I’ve fallen into that trap before. My advice is ‘turn-about-is-fair-play’, have him show proof that there is not a systematic effort by teapublicans to take away abortion rights. As you know, he won’t be able to do anything of the sort but his efforts to duck the question should be entertaining.

    • A touchingly childlike, illogical proposal. One simply cannot demonstrate, or begin to demonstrate, that something did not happen. That’s on the one hand.

      On the other hand, if Karly shows a single instance of what she advances, my position is undermined for all to see.

      I am guessing that she could come up with something that would be worth discussing.

      Of course, my self -assurance comes from the fact that I monitor Republican sources closely.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Pish-posh. Let me give a simple example. I claim that you have a refrigerator in every room in your house. It is trivially easy to take a picture of every room to show that, in fact, you only have a refrigerator in your kitchen. Of course your conspiracy-theorist acquaintances would shout ‘photshopped’! I think we can safely ignore them for the nonce.

        A single instance eh? Your position is now undermined for all to see.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/03/north-dakota-senate-candidate-abortion-rape-incest_n_1852889.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

      • Terry: Please, can you make it easy to link to the single instance? I don’t really want to spend much time finding wisdom from the Huffington Post, of all things. Is it really the best you can do for a source? How about the National Inquirer? The Journal of Feminist Studies?The Daily Worker?

        Note that Karly who was the one who made the statement I challenged has not responded yet. She may still. I am sure she has other things to do.

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Jacques. I know it will be difficult but can you give 5 positive policy reasons to vote FOR Romney? So far I’ve seen nothing but desire to vote AGAINST Obama. Please try to list tax cuts for millionaires only once.

    • I don’t know? Why should I?

      There is no mystery; like many others I will vote “Not Obama.” Obama is a disaster; Romney will be normal. Warts and all, Romney will be more conservative fiscally than Obama without even trying. I think Obama is anti-American. I know him well. He was coached by my Leftist former friends. Even the negatives line up for Romney: He is entirely devoid of charisma. I like that for the same reason I would have disliked Mussolini. And, he is not an impostor like Obama who pretends to be African-American. I have to go.

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      No reason other than curiousity.

  6. Pingback: That Dog Won’t Hunt! So? (The President) | FACTS MATTER

  7. Pingback: Obama Stories | FACTS MATTER

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