HillBilly's hillbilly factor

 

 

Well, at least she didn’t promise them coal mines

 

It was no surprise to anyone that Hillary Clinton would win the Moutain State, West Virginia yesterday in its Democratic primary contest. She beat Barack Obama by well over 50 percentage point and demonstrated once again that when it comes to appealing to ignorant, embittered, maginalized white folks, she can beat the Senator from Illinois.

There is a compelling case that many are making that due to the fact that Sen. Clinton does so well in rounding up votes from the rough-around-the-edges crowd (white folks in particular), she should be the nominee. After all, someone’s gotta beat McCain, right?

I wont deny that Clinton does well with lower educated white folks. The polls show it, the history indicates it and even some of the comments made from some of the people who came out less to vote for Hillary but to vote against Sen. Obama. Among their complaints about the man who could become the nation’s first black president, that he’s Muslim, hates America, doesn’t salute the flag.

These of course are all nonsensical. Sen. Obama is not Muslim, has lead the Senate in reciting the pledge (which is of course a pretty empty gesture) and also seems to embody something extraordinarily American, which is that someone from lower middle class origins can rise to prominence here and do well with a good work ethic and a thirst for education. That of course should be a selling point for any candidate, Democratic or Republican. Then again, when you’re dealing with hillbillies, it aint so easy to get these things across.

What should be exponentially troubling to most folks about the Clinton campaign is it willingness (purely Machiavellian) to play to the demographic of embittered, willfully ignorant, racist red necks. By saying that, I’m not implying that people who don’t vote for Obama are racist, but that in those hot under the blue collar contests that the junior senator from Arkansas…errr, New York has one, the specter of race, more particularly, the fear of a black man in the White House, is a factor. Just take the polling done recently. A good portion of those who voted for Clinton over Obama said race was a factor for them. Put simply, “we don’t want no nigger prezdent.”

Of course the polling firms don’t word it so strongly, but it doesn’t take an Appalachian linguist to know what they’re saying out there in West Virginia. Some folks just don’t want a black president.

The Clinton campaign however is desperate. They need to make a compelling case that the party needs to scrap Obama and they need to do it fast. Instead of arguing that the policies of their camp are more sound or that Hillary has a better voting record in the Senate than Obama, they play up their appeal among white voters. Hillary Clinton has come out and said it. She told USA Today last week that she does better not only among whites, but less educated whites. In other words, she polls well among the people that are more prone to believe Obama prays five times a day facing Mecca, that he refuses to put his hand over his chest during the pledge and that he fundamentally hates America. Ironically, however, Sen. Clinton polls way better than Obama among those who she has the least in common with. That is of course unless Hillary really is a stuck-in-her-ways banjo-picking, dirt track redneck. Knowing her penchant for trying to be all things to all voters, it’s not that hard to believe she’s considered that route.


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Seemingly stuck at 188 – And I think I know why

The unanimous opinion in the fitness community seems to be that you should not weigh yourself every day when you are in the midst of a diet or weight loss plan. It makes sense that the daily scale reading would be somewhat unreliable for an overall picture because based on a number of factors ranging from the amount of food in your stomach or water in your bladder to your unique hormonal make up, your body mass can fluctuate from day to day. Still, I weigh myself each day, keeping track of the amount of miles I walk or run, how I eat and how I handle negative or challenging thoughts and situations throughout the day. I don’t buy into the whole don’t-weigh-yourself-each-day scenario. I weigh myself to make sure I’m not outside of what I consider an unacceptable weight for more than a day or two. The way I figure, if I can catch myself gaining a pound, I can prevent myself from gaining back the thirty that I’ve taken off in the last two years.

Still, I seem to be stuck at 188. When I say that I seem to be stuck there, let me just admit that I know a big reason why I’m there and have failed to take off 20 lbs. since January (though I have taken off 12). I’m stuck there because I haven’t gone the additional steps I should be going to cut out certain destructive eating habits and because of that I’m somewhat glued to 188. I would like to get down below 180 to 175, but to do that I obviously have to make some lifestyle changes.

All of the changes that I must make to be successful have less to do with the enjoyment of food than with other things going on in my life. For example, eating late at night was a huge cause of my weight gain over a period of several years. When I cut down what I ate past 8 p.m. to apples and other low-calorie foods, the weight seemed to come off. Now, that I’ve reached a more comfortable weight of 188, I am back to eating at night. Sure, I may run a hell of a lot more than I did, but that means nothing if I’m eating when the sky is dark and I am closer to bed than I am to being physically active. The second habit I could do to break again is snacking on sweet stuff. Doing that caused me to gain weight, cutting back caused me to lose weight. Now that I’m doing it again (though less), I’m stuck.

These two factors explain a lot about why I have been stuck at 188 for some time. But knowledge alone will do very little so long as I don’t address the underlying reason for late night eating or grabbing a package of M&Ms when I could make due with an orange: I’m doing these things to feel better because I’m stressed, depressed or anxious.

I know now what causes late night binges on food. It’s a feeling of being sad or unfulfilled. Granted, binging for me nowaday is not what it was in the past, but it is still most certainly binging. When you have a snack you don’t need or two bowls of cereal at 11 p.m., that’s binging. Binging is from avoiding how you feel. Sometimes, it seems in the world that there is no one better at avoiding personal conflict than me.

Address the problems, and the need for food as a painkiller will subside. When I’ve been at my best mentally, the weight has melted off. When not, it’s either gone up or stayed the same. There’s much I can do, but I must get started right away…As in now.

Brains do funny things

 For more than seven years now I’ve dealt with on and off bouts of depression. None have been particularly awful, but the indescribable feelings of low mood and reduced energy do come and go enough to be noticeable in my life. Sometimes they are fueled by stress that is not handled correctly. Other times they just come with no real basis, sorta like a migraine headache.

Yesterday, I was feeling good most of the day until about 4 p.m., when I had this sore feeling that seemed to live somewhere deep inside of my head. It shot out little pulses of discomfort throughout my body and suddenly I had trouble concentrating on anything in front of me. My vision took on a skewed perspective and I felt then and there at my desk that I needed a nap.

When I got home I passed out in a chair. When I awoke, I felt considerably better. This morning, same thing again. I feel as if I want to sleep. Nothign much is bothering me. I think this is just the way that my brain works every so often. I am hoping it will go away, although I really wish I could hop under my desk and fall asleep!

It’s funny how the brain works with all of its circuits and chemistry. I believe in the soul but I also believe in the brain. Where one is, so likely is the other to be that caring or neglecting one means nurturing or abusing the other. To care for the brain is to give it exercise, patience, sleep and healthy food. To care for the soul is to give it forgiveness, humility and respite from the things that are beyond your control. As I’ve gotten slightly better over the years at doing both, waves of depression such as I felt yesterday and for a bit this morning because more of a blip on the radar rather than an oncoming stormfront. Still, vigilance and a sense of self-love is always needed. Emotions are complex things. Complex things require maitenance. Maintenance requires insight. Insight requires living and experiencing the joy and hurt of life. Depression is a part of that.