About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Will the Dems lose the 2008 Presidential?
But this time, I think, if the Democrats will lose in November it won’t be (entirely) their fault. True, they have been engaging in some self-destructive behavior, like the mess they made with the Michigan and Florida primaries. I mean, who the hell cares when individual states hold their primaries? Let them decide, and for God’s sake (so to speak) don’t alienate voters anywhere, especially in Florida (remember 2000?). Or like the fact that Hillary just won’t quit despite the math being plainly against her, either because she “owes it to her voters” (Obama doesn’t?), or because she “can’t go home and tell Chelsea that her mother is a quitter” (please, who the heck would ever argue that Hillary Clinton is a quitter?), or more likely because her ego simply cannot accept that an upstart from Illinois beat her.
No, these won’t be the reasons the Dems are likely (though by no means certain) to lose the race for the White House this year. The reason isn’t even the well-known Republican penchant for sleazy tactics (swiftboating and such) or downright electoral fraud (Ohio 2004). Nope, the reason became clearer the other day, with the West Virginia primary: a sizable enough portion of Americans are simply stupid and bigoted.
I know, to insult someone isn’t going to make them change their mind. But from time to time one has to call them as one sees them. Besides, I doubt many West Virginians are reading this blog anyway. Of course, stupidity and bigotry are not (entirely) the result of genetic inbreeding: more likely they both stem from lack of a suitable cultural milieu and a well-rounded education, which goes a long way toward explaining why Republicans have always mounted vicious attacks against public education and in favor of “parents’ choice” (i.e., religious schooling).
But, you may reasonably ask, what’s my evidence that many Americans are stupid and bigoted? And what’s West Virginia got to do with it? West Virginia is of course just an example, albeit a pretty egregious one. According to the New York Times, the exit polls taken Tuesday night reported that “More than half [of the voters] said they would be dissatisfied if Obama was the nominee. Half believe he shares the views of the Rev. Wright, and more than half said he does not share their values. More than half also said that he is not honest and trustworthy [as opposed to Bush or McCain or for that matter, Clinton??]. Just under half of the Clinton voters said they would not support Obama in the fall.” Moreover, and more importantly, “Two in 10 voters said race was important in how they voted, and more than 8 of 10 of these went for Hillary.”
The bigotry is evident from the fact that a sizable portion of those polled bluntly stated that “race is a factor” in their voting. In other words: he’s a n*gger, I won’t vote for him. And that’s among Democrats, one can only imagine the anti-black (and, let’s be fair, anti-women) sentiments rampant among Republicans. Actually, one doesn’t have to imagine, just watch any Fox-News show, pick at random.
The stupidity ought to be clear from the fact that even though the overwhelming majority of Americans say that they’d rather see a Democrat in the White House, and that according to a poll released this morning 80% of them think the country is going in the wrong direction (well, who’s at the helm, dummy?), when they are presented with the choice between Obama (or Clinton) and McBush, they split evenly or go for the Big Mc. To refuse to see that the United States and the world at large simply cannot afford another several years of the crap we’ve been dealing with during the past eight is just dumb. The only hope, I think, lies in the mobilization of the younger (and educated) white and black generations that Obama has been able to energize throughout his campaign. That is, of course, unless what everyone is thinking but few dare to say will happen: Obama going the way of JFK. It’s more than idle speculation: the same NYT article reported that a voter in Susquehanna County, PA responded to a call on behalf of Obama in the following manner: ‘Hang that darky from a tree!’ Boy, do we have a looong way to go until civilization.