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If You’re Not Angry and Bitter, You’re Not Paying Attention


Mary Lyon

A one-sentence comment posted in the blogosphere really nails it. As the political hissy-fit over Barack Obama’s “bitter” remarks continues to heave itself on the floor like some three-year-old tantrum-thrower in the canned soup aisle at the grocery store, a blogger calling herself Lugnut spells it out: “If you’re not angry and bitter, you’re not paying attention.”

The conditions in this country now, after the GOP has owned the White House for almost eight years, dominated the Senate for most of that time, and the House of Representatives since the mid-90’s (except for the last year-and-a-half), have left America with a serious case of indigestion -- at the very least. The bile from years of reckless Republican charging and spending, holding no one accountable for anything, and allowing Wall Street to run amok is indeed leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Main Street by now.

I can’t help but suspect that this is the bitter fruit harvested from years of social engineering, GOP-style: Reverse Robin Hood Reaganomics. Millions of Americans believed it with all their hearts. They were told that government with its pesky regulations and safety-net programs was the problem, not the solution. They were assured again and again that if they just were patient while the elites at the top of the economic food chain cut to the front of the line, their turn would surely come, too. Shower the benefits on the wealthy and then watch them share the wealth, creating jobs and spilling such large crumbs off their groaningly overloaded banquet-table that eventually those blessings would trickle down onto everyone else, too. The have-nots might not have a seat at that table, but the bounty falling off the sides onto the floor would still be plenty. It sounded so good, so sweet.

What’s basically happened, instead, is human nature, and the drive by big business and its lobbyists to build bumpers around the edges of that table -- the better to keep all the crumbs on the table and prevent any from falling off. We’re supposedly all taught to share in pre-school. Some of the haves, grown-ups as they are, especially those who can most easily afford it, evidently still haven’t learned this. It seems to me when the have-nots have been forced to swallow about 30 years of these fairy-tales and have watched the promised happy endings stay perpetually just beyond reach, it shouldn’t come as a shocker that hard feelings start to set in. Maybe even bitter feelings. I think there IS bitterness all over the country, from heartland to coastline. This is how it feels when large numbers of Americans wake up and realize they’ve been had.

Many of the voices weighing in with CNN’s Jack Cafferty eagerly agreed.

Jack, I am bitter I admit it. It is time for people to face the truth and if you are middle class or poor you are bitter. Bitter by the fact that oil companies are hitting record profits and we are feeling the strain at the pumps. Bitter by the fact that illegal immigrants come into this country use our education and health care for free while our kids and our health suffer. Finally we are bitter that our own elected officials are turing their backs on us every day by not making the tough decisions that America needs at this time. Bitter. Hell YEA!!! -- George, Somerville NJ

I think his “bitter” comment will be great for him. After the smoke settles and the average working American turns of the News and wonders how they can pay their mortgage, gas, get a job and pay for healthcare, most will realize what he said is true. The truth will set you free.” Government stop working for the people a long time ago. YES WE CAN, YES WE WILL.”
-- Molly

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I live in Ohio and I’m bitter about all the jobs lost over seas. I’m bitter about oil prices that keep going up. I’m bitter about a war we want ended. I’m bitter about the tax break for the wealthy. I’m bitter about the state of affairs of our once great country. -- Walter

I think these comments will not hurt Barack. After thinking about what he has said, people will realize that - YES, they are bitter!! AndÉthey have a right to be. I think the Pennsylvania people are smarter than that. What really bothered me is that Hillary called a fellow Democratic candidate - an Elitist!! Obama is anything but. Hillary and Bill are the ones worth over $100 million. -- Judi, Irvine, California

Sen. Obama’s comment about blue collar middle class citizens being bitter is”hitting the nail right on the head”. I am a middle class American citizen, and dont know any of my peers who are not angry and bitter about our current status. We don’t need someone who made $100+million dollars in the last seven years, telling us everything is rosy, and the streets are lined in gold. These people are the ones out of touch, and should talk to the real people who struggle to pay at the gas station, or rent, or food. We have seen jobs shipped oversees due to corrupt trade agreements, and politicians who promise the world then screw us when they get in office. I don’t know anyone who lives in the real world who is not bitter and suspicious. At least Obama is trying to tell it like it is!!! -- Reg

This is not the first time the truth is coming out as bitter. Do one celebrate if he or she loses his or her job? More amd more people find solace in God in time of trouble. This guy just said the truth and the others are afraid to say, just as he gave the race speech that no other politician has dared to say. Give me a break!!!! -- Patrick U

I am a degreed chemist who spent four out of 5 years unemployed. My husband is a degreed computer programmer laid off 6 years ago who could not even get an interview in his field. He is now a bus driver, and the pay is not enough to live on, but at least we have insurance. We were forced to live off all our retirement savings when unemployment ran out. We sold our house to avoid falling behind, and lived on the proceeds for another year. Now we rent. It’s all gone. My health fell apart, largely from the stress, but we couldn’t afford the copays for the doctors. Our kids had to pay our utility bills.

Faith is the core of my life, church is its manifestation. When things fell apart, yes, I embraced the church with a vengeance. When the fear set in, we bought a gun because our feeling of security was gone. It has not returned.

If Obama’s opinions about this get him in trouble, than the whole nation has the worst case of denial I have ever seen. Hillary doesn’t get it, McCain doesn’t get it, but they haven’t been there. None of you on CNN seem to get it either. Wake up! I dare you to publish this. -- Phyllis Des Jardins

These and hosts of similar laments are sad indeed, but not a bit surprising. I feel the bitterness myself, watching the needless suffering, the struggles to make ends meet and not be terrified about the wolves at the door far more than a group of vaporous terrorists, the lavish CEO pay raises while the little guy counts pennies at the gas pump and worries about finding health insurance and covering the next mortgage payment. My bitterness arises when I see the Democrats constantly hesitating to flex any muscle or backbone, and the lack of accountability for what now looks very much like White House war crimes. My bitterness flares when I note the arrival of Income Tax Day, wondering how much of my taxes went to Iraq when New Orleans is still on its knees. Again, as he did with the race issue in this country, Barack Obama dared to broach another inconvenient truth. Truth that does indeed hurt.

It’s long past time for a change in Washington, AND it’s long past time we told ourselves the truth about it. We’ve tried the conservatives’ way for years now, and look where we are. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding’s gone cold. And it tastes terrible. It tastes -- well -- bitter.