Posted by Dr Fro 10:12 AM
I have a few blog posts that are backlogged in my brain that are slowly making their way from my brain into cyberspace. One of them is a response to the suggestion that voters for Obama were ignorant (and the implication that voters for McCain were not.)
Anytime you divide a group of people based on beliefs (political, religious or even sports-related), each side invariably thinks that the other side must be ignorant in order to belief what they believe. I don't buy into this. Let me tell a story about an experience a month ago - not to prove that McCain voters are ignorant, but to provide a bit of balance.
One week after the election, I was at the AICPA National Oil and Gas Conference in Austin. It is hard to find a more conservative crowd than a bunch of CPAs in Texas who work in oil and gas. Keep in mind that the attendees are all college educated, most have a Masters degree, all have CPAs and most have generally been fairly successful in their professional career. The fact that the crowd was probably top 5% of America in education/experience makes the following three stories that much more disturbing to me.
Story #1 - I was talking to a woman about Obama and make one of my usual sarcastic remarks about having a terrorist Arab Muslim in the White House. Not only did she not get my sarcasm, she piled on with "I know, I think it will be really weird having a Muslim in the White House." I poked and prodded - she was being serious. Someday, I am going to write a book on this topic. The first chapter will be called "Being a Muslim Does Not Make you a Bad Person." The next chapter will be called "Neither Does Being Arab". The third chapter will be called "Not all Arabs are Muslim and Vice Versa." The next one will be "FWIW, Obama is Neither Muslim or Arab".
Story #2 - I was talking to another woman who said, "I don't know why his victory is being hailed as a big step forward for race relations. I think it is a big step back. I mean, once he puts in place all of his 'pro-black' policies, it will alienate the whites and increase racial tensions." Wow. She is right. We really shouldn't ever elect a black person for this very reason. Seriously now, what are those "pro-black policies" of which she speaks? Will all black people get an extra personal exemption on their taxes? If so, will Tiger Woods and Obama get half an extra exemption?
Story #3 - One of the speakers at the conference was an economist. He started to talk about what Obama's election might mean for the economy. He started with a disclaimer that he could only talk about how campaign promises would affect the economy (recognizing that no President in history has made policy decisions that were a perfect reflection of their campaign promises. Think "read my lips: no new taxes.") So, he started out with the statement that Obama's proposed policies would be bad for the current economic environment. As if on cue, 300 heads nodded approvingly. He then said, "Obama has promised to lower taxes for most Americans, but we need to increase taxes to fund programs that will stimulate the economy." There were 300 stunned faces. When the guy was done, a question was asked "You said Obama wants to decrease taxes for most Americans, but doesn't he want to RAISE taxes for most Americans?" The speaker said, "Where did you get that? Most Americans make less than $200k, and Obama promised to decrease taxes for people making less than $200k." Then the participant said, "No, I am pretty sure he plans to raise taxes across the board." Without getting into a debate about what policy makes what sense, it is abundantly clear that even though the candidates repeat their talking points many times daily for over a year, people - educated people - hear want they want to be true, not what is actually said.
Argue all you want on all sorts of issues that are tangential to the point of this post, but don't ever try to convince me that the people who voted for McCain are the epitome of enlightenment or that the people who voted for Obama are a bunch of uneducated idiots that were bamboozled by a smooth talking politician. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans (in fact, people all over the world) are idiots. I'd say that based on life experience, 97% of Americans I have met are fucking morons. So, unless McCain lost the popular vote by a split of something like 3% to 97%, it is mathematically impossible for either camp to claim that many of their voters have much of a clue about anything.