One of my guilty pleasures is a discussion board for softball players. The portion I feel guiltiest about, the one that is a pure waste of time, is the rambling one for posts not about softball.
I saw an interesting thread on there recently that may give some perspective on the state of the nation. Don't think of this in a condescending manner because it isn't meant to be. I'm sure plenty of the loud and rancorous conservatives gathering everywhere from the Capital to local parks have plenty of education and carefully considered opinions. And, I learned long ago the number of years a person goes to school has little to do with their intelligence or moral bearing.
But perhaps this thread provides insight. One poster who regularly posts angry-at-Obama messages, started a thread about the over-the-edge behavior of the senator from South Carolina. (Strom Thurman is dead, so it couldn't be him.) He said the senator spoke for him. Since when is it wrong to call a liar 'a liar?' he asked. He even had problems with Obama's plea for more civil discussion.
Well, a couple of more liberal softball posters happened to be on-line at the time and they let him have it, pointing out that he had not been able to supply any evidence Obama lied about illegal aliens not being covered by health care legislation. (I'm not proud of Obama for this, by the way...)
Obama "scares" him, he wrote back.
Some posters asked him why he was scared. The answer, of course, is because he watches Glenn Beck, but he didn't admit to such.
Finally, he sort of broke down, as much as you can break down virtually.
I guess one of my problems is sometimes I just feel really alone in the way I think, he wrote. He said he has a tendency to think he is the "only person on the planet" concerned about the things that scare him. Then he tries to regain his footing saying a lot of people come up to him and say they are scared of Obama, but since he has already told us how alone he feels, this ploy doesn't seem authentic.
You start to get a feel for him, and, just maybe, for these others who are actually finding community in their Nazi posters and Joker signs, their fear, and their hatred of liberals. And, of course, finding brotherhood in the way the earth beneath their feet has been shaking after a black man was elected president.
A few posts later, comes this about Obama's speech to the children. It really got under his skin, he said. I'm waiting to hear why because I could find nothing momentous in that speech.
Turns out the phrase that hurt him "on a personal level" was "there's no excuse for not trying harder."
What a puzzler. How could anyone object to that phrase in a speech to school children? What followed fills in the blanks.
It came across as "snobbish," he said. His "missing out" on an education sucks enough, he says, without the president rubbing it in. Then the president has to teach a whole generation of kids 'there's no excuse'? he asks. It is as if the president is saying people with little or no education are less honorable or dignified.
Then the president made it seem, he said, like baseball and rap music are a waste of time and those are two things he enjoys. The president, he said, was making him out to be a villain.
Then some guy comes on thinking the problems with the dollar are just part of a conspiracy to "merge" the United States with Mexico and Canada. So much for rational thought. A small skirmish breaks out over this topic.
But the guy who started the whole thing comes back later. There were reasons for his academic failures, he says. Does this make him less noble? Does he have to prove anything to Obama? The president is passing judgment on everybody who has ever failed in school, the guys says.
Now, you can speculate on whether the word "uppity" fits in here before Obama in each reference. But, if the guy is sincere -- and you never know when you deal with people on-line -- you have to feel for him. And, you have to wonder if his sense of this changing world isn't bearing down on the folks who create these wonderfully original -- but often around the bend -- signs and get themselves out to tea parties. Just a thought. I wonder...