Us and Them

I’ve been mulling over writing a post called Me and Barack and God, about why I find Obama’s rhetoric so powerful because I share his religious tradition, as well as working intermittently on a post about talking about race that I can’t bring to conclusion because, I realize, I don’t know what the conclusion is.  But a narrower post about us-them language in the election I think can raise some of the themes I’ve wanted to address.  For the first time I can remember, Republicans are getting mauled in the media for saying that some people are “real Americans” or for questioning the patriotism of people who disagree with them.  They are actually having to back down and apologize, at least when the national news is watching.  I’ve never seen this before.  I think Obama’s refusal to engage in tit-for-tat is why we are seeing this.  In Pennsylvania, where a Democrat referred to white voters in the western part of the state as “racist” and then as “rednecks” when he tried to correct himself, McCain got more of a pass when he called people the “most patriotic part of America” because he was countering an attack on them, and the name-calling seemed more balanced.  My daily “spirituality and peacemaking” email arrived today with this quotation from Henri Nouwen in Peacework: Continue reading “Us and Them”

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wealth?

Here’s a quick one for you.  I’m back in LA again.  Talking politics a bit with my brother & mother.  My brother drives a package truck and delivers boxes for UPS, his wife is an X-ray tech.   My mother worked as an accounting clerk before she retired; she lives on a cash income in the $20,000-$30,000 range but does fine because she owns her house clear and has low taxes due to prop 13.  My  brother says Obama lost a lot of votes saying that above $150,000 is rich, that the people he delivers to in southern Orange county couldn’t afford their homes if they didn’t make more than that.  He says that if his wife were working full time, they’d make close to that, and my mother chimes in and says “that isn’t that much.”  She asks me, don’t I make more than that?  I say, yes, my husband and I together make more than that, but we vote against our class interests.  I tell them that the median family income in the US is about $45, 000 a year (taking the time to explain the median to my mother).  Well, that may be true elsewhere, they say, but not around here.

Hmmm.