Barack Obama: Elitism or the Condemnation of Intellect?

During this remarkable U.S. election season, talking points, laced with politically jargoned rhetoric have entered our ears and appeared before our eyes- thanks to the reporting of today’s numerous media sources and user blogs.

Anyone who has attempted to keep stride with the ever morphing events, within and between the presidential campaigns, has by now become acquainted with such keywords and phrases as, “earmarks,” “energy independence,” and “reform.” Additionally, another phrase has become a staple within mostly conservative circles and used as a rhetorical weapon against the opposition- “elitism.”

For the record, a rough definition of a person who embodies elitism is one who believes that he or she is of superior distinction and thus entitled to be treated and considered favorably.

Specifically, elitism is the word that has been pinned to the backside of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama. And that pesky little tail has been left to dangle in the minds of voters.

However, this election will not make the first time that many conservative politicians, and citizens alike, have labeled their more liberal counterparts as “elite.” Although ironically, it was Hillary Clinton who first pegged Barack Obama as “elite,” following a speech in San Francisco where he referred to people living in rural America as, “bitter, and clinging to guns and religion.”

The Full Quote:

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate, and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” – Barack Obama – 4/6/08

It is obvious to understand why many Americans felt incensed by the above speech. On the surface, it appeared to be judgmental and divisive. However, is it possible that some Americans were upset by Obama’s remark because it hit too close to home?

Art Imitates Life – when in doubt, expound with a movie reference…

Entertainment notwithstanding, all we would need to do is watch the biographical movie, “Boys Don’t Cry,” to witness art imitating life. “Reel” life: where intolerant and disenfranchised communities, such as Richardson County, Nebraska, depicted in the movie, do exist. Of course, the movie in question is an extreme example, perhaps even a controversial one when used in this context, but still relevant.

Barack Obama has been called a rockstar, a snob, and most outrageously, “The Messiah.” Such accusations stem from Obama’s education, to his capacious and reflective oratory style, and popularity.

In May, John McCain urged Barack Obama to take a trip with him to Iraq. The objective would have been for McCain to prove to Obama that U.S. efforts have helped to stabilize Iraq. Obama declined the invitation, but in July, took a trip of his own to several countries in the Middle East, Including Iraq, and Europe.

Due to his popularity overseas, Barack Obama was notably depicted as the “biggest celebrity in the world,” by the McCain campaign. The message was relayed in an ad that aired after his trip to Europe, where he delivered a speech before a crowd of 200,000, in Berlin, Germany.

In August, while Barack Obama and family were on vacation in Hawaii, the RNC sent copies of what was called the “Barack Obama’s Hawaii Travel Guide,” to reporters. In the mock travel guide, a spotlight was focused on the Punahou School, the college preparatory institution that Obama attended in his youth. Conclusions were drawn, indicating that the RNC lampooned Obama’s education in its parody travel guide.

On a side note, Barack Obama attended the aforementioned college preparatory school from grade 5, until he graduated from high school. As a young adult, he attended Columbia and Harvard Law School, where he rose to be president of The Harvard Law Review.

Undoubtedly, the life of Barack Obama represents a classic case of the ever romanticized “American Dream,” no?

We should be comfortable asserting that most every American who was raised by responsible parents, regardless of class, was encouraged to study and do well in school. We should be willing to further assert that those same American children were also encouraged to attend college with goals of absorbing the relevant academia necessary for achieving their personal “American Dream.”

If we are honest with ourselves and subscribe to the above, we will fail to understand how conservatives, the RNC, some of our personal acquaintances, as well as our fellow late-night message board warriors have come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is indeed, an “elitist.”

Many Republicans and conservatives have reveled in the pick of Sarah Palin, Vice Presidential Candidate on the Republican ticket. Numerous reasons account for the support Palin has received from conservatives and the GOP. One reason Sarah Palin admirers give to explain their support for her is her “everyday people” appeal. These voters prefer the simple talk of Sarah Palin and John McCain to the poignant speech of Barack Obama- which is of course, their choice. However, much of the McCain/Palin supporters’ beliefs travel beyond the realm of preference- many of those supporters actually condemn the intellect of Barack Obama. This is evident with such statements as, “He (Obama) has so much to say but I just can’t be bothered to try to understand it.” Or, “He (Obama) can’t just say what he needs to without blathering about.” These are actual quotes from everyday people.

Since when has being a highly educated person become something to look down upon in America?

Is it because some of us feel inferior when faced with the apparent intellect of others?

How could this attitude affect how our children view education?

Curiously, a contour of conservative values is self-reliant independence, yet many conservatives demonize education- the fundamental vessel for success in America. How sad and unfortunate it is that so many would rather elevate their egos with the illusion of “relating” to their “neighborly-like” presidential pick, instead of embracing a fine product of education- Barack Obama.

Should Republicans and conservatives support Barack Obama for president? No. They should also cease insulting their own personal intellect and patriotism by condemning a genuine manifestation of the “American Dream,” which is Barack Obama.

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