Wednesday, April 16, 2008


So now Obama is in trouble for suggesting that a lot of folks in America are bitter about their lot in life. I’m not much concerned with the political fallout of his comments one way or the other, but I am amazed that so many folks would express so much surprise at the notion that folks might be bitter. After all, almost 90 percent of Americans rate the current economy no better than “fair,” and more than half rate it “poor,” according to recent polls. At the same time, according to another poll, more than half of the country thinks the decision to go to war in Iraq was wrong, and about half the country believes that troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. The results of the 2006 Congressional elections clearly underscored the public’s desire for an end to the war, but almost two years further on we seem no closer to an end than we were at the beginning. All of which is to say, when people feel economically at risk and politically powerless on issues as significant as war and peace, it would come as a surprise to find that folks were not “bitter.”

Whether or not that bitterness explains other political perspectives, as Obama suggested, is, of course, a far more complicated question. And whether or not it has anything to do with faith perspectives is even more complex. But bitter? I’d guess that’s the most polite term that could be used to describe the mood of lots of folks these days.