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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Saint, I aint.

I think one of the great downfalls of Christianity has nothing to do with Christianity in fact.

Christianity should never be righteous, arrogant or boastful, for none of those things are what Jesus Christ was about and there is nobody on this earth who is deserving of that praise. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

During Lent, Christians prepare themselves for the Resurection of Jesus from the dead, which is something beyond all comprehension.

Lent, for many Catholics, myself not included, is a time of fasting, penance, privations even.

I respect that type of admiration and enthusiasm for Christ because it is far from what I have been able to achieve in my life.

Since “becoming a Christian” in 2001 and being Confirmed in 2002, I have made just as many mistakes, committed just as many sins and done more lousy things than I did before. Nothing has changed in that regard.

I don’t disclose this to be exculpatory towards myself. In the end, there is but one divine judge He will have his way with my soul.

At times I’m not sure why I call myself a Christian.As a Catholic, we’re supposed to love and love until it hurts. And when the hurting is too much to bear we should call on God to help us love more.

It seems at times that I’m incapable of that type of selfless love that binds all men to God.

In the fall I had a spiritual experience that I can’t describe other than peace. It went away, but I’m glad I have it and welcome for it to come again into my life. Until then, it appears that I’m like everyone else, just a person, a man, confused, tired, wanting.

This is a life worth living and one that I love, despite it’s frustrations. I only wish I could do better though. How is it? It’s no one’s fault either.

We prepare for ourselves a condominium on earth when there is a Kingdom beyond us. The grass is greener on this side of God, I suppose. It looks that way.

The best Christians, in my view, aren’t the righteous, but those who recognize their weakness, their tendency towards evil and their shortcomings (I won’t include myself in that group, despite my predeliction to do wrong!).

Instead, I’m speaking of the models of Christian life: St. Augustine comes to mind as does my hero, St. Francis of Assisi, the reveler and prodigal son who before founding one of the greatest spiritual movements known to man, was a carouser and womanizer and a drunk.

The best Christians aren’t always the ones wearing robes or certainly not pin striped suits, dancing and screaming Hallelujah.

The crem-de-la crem of Jesus’ flock are the prisoners who turn the other way, the murderers who recognize their evil, the corrupt leader who asks forgiveness.

Karla Faye Tucker, who the state of Texas put to death in 1998 for murder did in my opinion more for the message of peace and love by asking for her forgiveness than a million holy men looking for praise, attention or worse, money.

Then Governor George W. Bush, the compassionate Christian leader that he is, ignored Tucker’s plea to be spared execution, turned his back on her tears and signed away her life.

In writing this, I don’t imply that a murderer, a molestor, adulterer, rapist, drug dealer, thief or any other miscrient is doing good work for God’s Kingdom simply by doing what they do. No. Not at all. But doesn’t God rejoice over one sinner turning his way more so than a multitude of holy men?

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My issues with the anti-war movement

More than four years after the invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation of a formerly sovereign–albeit corrupt and dictatorial nation–the United States has lost more than 3,100 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors in the conflict. Compared to the numbers of my father and grandfather’s conflicts, Vietnam and World War II respectively, the totals of American dead are much less. In comparison to the the combined combatant deaths of the American Civil War (1861-65), the amount of armed forces personnel is miniscule, less than 1 percent, in fact.

Taken into consideration that the total loss of American life in Iraq, which includes armed forces personnel, private contractors, public officials and journalists,  is relatively low, Americans who support the war tend to write off the sacrafice that is paid in life.

On their syndicated radio programs, both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have used the comparatively low armed forces deaths as a rebuke towards the anti-war movement.

Limbaugh cites scurilous statistics to conclude that an Army soldier is safer in Baghdad than he or she is in the streets of crime-plauged American cities such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Not only does this reasoning cheat Americans of a fair analysis of the War in Iraq, it is also wholly irrelevant. Our is a nation based upon the Enlightenment principles of reason and intellect, not simply emotion. Our joy and tears should take a back seat to the objective measurement of cost and benefit.

Wars are not fought with the consideration of the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines fighting them, but of the compelling national interest that would motivate Congress to pay to send people into harm’s way–the Constitution in particular.

As long as a war in Iraq is fought the troops will and must be a consideration. The problem is however, that both sides treat armed forces personnel like children and until they stop doing that an objective analysis of the war and its costs will scarcely be considered.

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Edwards may poll well in Iowa, but Hillary Clinton may have just scored her slam dunk

I’ll start by saying that despite my being a New York resident, and a Democrat, I have never and will never vote for our junior senator, Hilary Clinton.

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