Monday, April 14, 2008

Okay, I Admit It: I'm Bitter

Much has been made about Barack Obama's now apparently infamous "bitter" comments about rural Pennsylvanians. The candidate made them at what was supposedly a closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco -- which just goes to show the concept of "private" doesn't exist in the political lexicon.

Much ado has evolved around the statements -- pro and con, wrong and right, and Obama has clarified and re-clarified his remarks and completely eliminated the word "bitter" from his vocabulary. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, called him elitist and downed a shot with voters to show how simpatico she was with the common man. Of course, John McCain is using the whole thing to fundraise and further capitalize on the disarray of the Democrats and their marathon intraparty bashfest -- a.k.a., primary.

As a result of all this fuss, I'm compelled to tell you -- to share -- that I, too, am bitter. I admit it.

I'm bitter about gotcha politics that delight in tearing down rather than building up and making progress.

I'm bitter about ready-fire-aim rhetoric that blows away the possibility of productive debate on policies that might actually improve the lives of working Americans.

I'm bitter about 24-hour news outlets that gnaw on the latest "fill-in-the-blank-gate" story like a Rottweiler with a juicy bone, overlooking real news stories in the process.

I'm bitter about how these same 24-hour news outlets amplify and elevate these empty, manufactured controversies in order to feed their insatiable appetites for more -- and more base -- content.

I'm bitter about talking heads that gleefully dissect the mundane details of inane incidents, puffing up their own importance with their pundit hot air.

I'm bitter about tabloid-style reporting that denigrates the public discourse so thoroughly that good people disengage in simple self-defense.

I'm bitter about a primary that has devolved so completely that Democrats vilify other Democrats, jeopardizing the party's chance to win the White House and putting the entire country in jeopardy of four more years of narrow-minded Republican leadership as a result.

I'm bitter about a Democratic Party that often takes some of its core constituencies -- women and African Americans -- for granted, trading away or simply folding like a house of cards on our issues, always based on the cynical calculus that we'll stick with them because they're the lessor of two evils.

I'm bitter about the shamelessness of one political party and the spinelessness of the other.

Yeah, I admit it, I'm bitter -- sometimes. But I'm not giving up -- and I'm not going to quit bitching about what's bad, either. Sometimes, the bitterness is what gives us the courage to speak truth to power -- which in turn fuels the drive to make change. We need that now more than ever.

Copyright 2008. The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.

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