What am I going to do with all this food?


Anne Vivino-Hintze: “I’m over 60, too, and I sometimes feel like Ken does – like giving up – but not because of Obama. I have lived in my rural Republican township in a Republican county for over 35 years. The vitriol towards Obama that erupted as soon as he was elected surprised me. My car displays an Obama bumper sticker and a born-locally friend in her 80s told me that she sometimes fears for my safety because of my bumper sticker. My neighbors are good folks who work hard for very modest wages and help each other out. They would benefit from Democratic policies. But they are blinded to that by the vitriol. The local cable company carries Fox but not MSNBC. The Republican owner says MSNBC would cost too much. The most erroneous, venomous emails about Obama are quickly and enthusiastically shared and believed. When I counter with facts from Snopes or FactCheck, I am removed from those email lists. I have talked with Democrats who are furious with Obama but who also say they don’t personally know any Republicans. If they really got to know their Republican neighbors, they would be amazed at all Obama has accomplished, while maintaining his dignity and civility, in the face of a wall of hatred and misinformation.”


Truly, as Anne notes, there is such a divide. The world according to Fox (“the wealthy are job creators”; “by far the vast majority” of Bush’s tax cuts went to “people at the bottom end of the economic ladder”) versus the world according to facts (after Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, 23 million jobs were created; since Bush lowered them, few jobs have been created; by far the vast majority of Bush’s tax cuts went to people at the top of the economic ladder).

Here’s how many on the other side see it: a comment on a post that criticized the President for compromising too much. It shows – not that we didn’t already know – how sharply divided the country is.

Steve a 44-y-o from Carmichael, CA: “Typical liberal/socialist nonsense. However, [the post is] right in one aspect…Obama is looking more like Carter every day. But it’s not because he won’t stand up to Republicans, it’s because he is a LIBERAL/SOCIALIST. LIBERAL/SOCIALISTs are always weak because they are always wrong. I have never met a liberal that could objectively defend one of their political positions using reason or logic. You guys still are stuck in broken record mode chanting over and over how the rich don’t pay their fair share. Define rich. Obama would have you think that anyone who has more money than you is rich. Funny how the richest 1% pay about 30-40% of the taxes and the poorest 40% pay about 3% of the taxes. The rich are already paying a lot more than they should be. Big shocker here…it’s their money, they should get to keep it. Funny how you want the people who actually work to just give their hard earned money to people who refuse to work. Do you have any facts at all in that liberal brain of yours? You do realize that half of the people in the country pay ALL of the taxes and half of the people pay none! Guess which half vote for socialist/democrats? That’s right..socialist welfare slugs vote for democrats and hard working patriots vote for conservatives. You are always wrong. When are you gonna figure it out. Liberals think act and reason like little children.

☞ To many of us, this seems profoundly wrongheaded. Where Steve sees lazy people refusing to work and hedge fund managers sweating to earn every penny of their $100 million – by creating tremendous value – we liberals tend to see the lawn guy working all day for eight bucks an hour while his wife cleans hotel rooms for another eight, struggling to make a good life for their kids. Or we see people desperate for work, lining up in jackets and ties for a five-hour wait in the Atlanta sun for an interview. And we see Wal-Mart heirs on yachts who never worked a single hour for their fortunes. We do NOT begrudge them those fortunes; we just think it would be better if we went back to the kind of taxes on wealth that prevailed under Ronald Reagan (second greatest man ever to walk the Earth). And we agree with Warren Buffett (whose reasoning ability may be beyond that of “little children”) that it’s nuts for him to be in a lower tax bracket than his receptionist.


Jeff Cox: “I suspect I would like Rachel Maddow, and I almost always agree with her; but I can never watch one of your links all the way through because she takes too long to make a point, and I do not share her level of interest in the details. Ken who does not care anymore probably does not watch her either. However, Ken – and anyone else of reasonable progressive sensibilities – should not miss the silver lining of the polarized political discourse today. Once upon a time, reasonable people had to invest time weighing the candidates, choosing the one who might be better for the country. We had to research positions and weigh pros and cons. That is all over now. I just vote Democrat and go on. Sure, I would like more moderation, more compromise, more concern for others’ values, but the two parties are really not much alike right now, and one is much better for me. As for the president’s compromising, that is his job. As far as I can tell, he is usually the smartest person in the room, and he plainly does care. He spends time on pros and cons, so I’m happy with whatever he recommends.”


Dave Davis (who also inherited the happy gene): “We humans are sure a negative lot. But, that’s nothing new, right? ‘Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.’ – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC). More people need our happy gene. It’s hard to imagine not being completely – and deliriously – optimistic about the future. We have an amazing foundation on which to build an incredible America. What our pioneer fathers and mothers would have given for electricity, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, paved roads, railroads, computers, the Internet and grocery stores stocked with everything imaginable! If they were to come back today and see our wealth of resources, they would laugh at the very thought of our being discouraged and glum about the future. That’s the spirit we need right now.”

☞ Indeed. When everyone joins the fight to modernize our infrastructure, achieve energy independence, and spur innovation, we’ll have even more to feel hopeful about. There shouldn’t be an unemployed construction worker anywhere in America.


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