If Romney wins, we won’t have to worry about what the red states are saying — we’ll hear it every day in the form of legislation, tax policy, executive orders. But if Obama wins, we have a chance to try to grow the majority through the simple act of listening.
On the surface the red state folks say things that we know are not true, and most of them probably do too. The president is American. He is no more a socialist than any Republican president ever was. It’s all repetitive talking points given to them by their pundits. Same as the Democrat pundits on MSNBC give their people idiotic talking points. A lot of my friends think there’s a difference. If anything the MSNBC dogma is richer than the Fox News bullshit. That kind of crap isn’t worth listening to or arguing with. Time-wasters. The people who really believe that are hopeless. They are drugged into a coma.
I also say we should not focus on policy issues, because they are mostly symbols, ways of expressing a more fundamental distrust, dislike, perhaps even in some cases hatred of east and west coast liberals. It’s the fundamental things below that, what the symbols are expressing, that we should focus on, because they have validity.
That may sound surprising, that the source of hate is valid, but it is — and until we listen to it, and try to understand what causes it, we will not grow the majority. What if we can give them what they want? What if they feel the world is moving too fast and leaving them behind? Is that something we can relate to? We all feel that to a certain extent. My guess is that people in flyover territory generalize about people on the coasts, just like we generalize about them. We’re all greedy, powerful, ignorant and rich.
But people voting for Obama are not all alike. And middle class people have similar issues whether they live in the Bronx or Jacksonville, Florida.
On the networks we hear from people in Louisiana saying that finally the people up north have a taste of what it’s like to be them. That’s sad, because that didn’t just happen. It’s been like that all along. People in Staten Island and Rockaway have always been forgotten. Just like people in Louisiana.
The crazy thing is we all feel forgotten. Every one of us. Even the chairman of Chase or the mayor of New York or the governor of New Jersey feel unheard and unappreciated. I think that’s the symbol we’re all trying to manipulate, to light a huge flare, to send a message saying very simply — hey I’m here, don’t forget me.
That’s why the visual symbols of the people jumping off the WTC holding hands, or standing on roofs in New Orleans waiting for rescue, or lining up for gas in New Jersey, while differing in degree, are all expressing the same idea. I’m lost, we’re all lost, we have no idea what we’re doing, and what we’re doing isn’t working. This isn’t a new idea with Obama. This has been our problem in America ever since the 60s, the last time we, as a country had a mission.
The way things are, our leaders will never come up with the answer. We have to do that ourselves. It’s a game of inches. It’s two people communicating and helping each other across the red-blue divide. It’s bi-partisanship not in Washington, it’s bi-partisanship between us.