Friday, April 18, 2008

Eating Crow But Refusing to Taste It -OR- I'll Stop the World and Melt With You (Until May 7th)

Indiana. We don't have great slogans like, "Everything's bigger in Texas." But we could adopt the slogan "Everything's Crunchier in Indiana," since we deep fry everything, including our state bird, the pork fritter.

We have a big race track, a basketball hoop in every driveway, cornfields between every town, long winters and state fairs. We are known as a "fly-over" state, meaning, we don't garner much attention on a national political scale.

Until lately.

In fact, Saturday, my husband and daughter saw Barack Obama's jet fly in to our little municipal airport. Senator Obama spoke in a gym where my husband and I, as an unstoppable badminton team in 1985, won a PE tournament at Ball State University. So it's quite a historical site for two reasons now!

And today, Senator Obama is visiting the university where my eldest two attend. I'm wondering if he's going to hand out free tickets to a Dave Matthews concert like he did at IU. Because if there's anything co-eds need, it's more recreational opportunities thrown at them.

Honestly, I'm not crazy about any of the "big three," but I don't dislike any of the big three as much as some people. It's just so funny that suddenly, we hayseeds are being wooed by city slickers. I think we're enjoying it, even though we all know that after we cast our votes May 6, the clock will strike midnight here in the Heartland, and we will immediately turn back into Daisy Mae from L'il Abner, when we have had a taste of what it's like to be Catherine Zeta Jones.

But for now, Obama and Clinton are falling all over themselves bringing us flowers and candy and staring deeply into our eyes and telling us corn-growers that they "get" us.

Do they? By now, I'm sure you're sick of the familiar quote:

"You go into 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 it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigration or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." - Barack Obama

In the interest of editing for conciseness, Mr. Obama could've just rolled all of those descriptions into one: "Unemployment turns small town people into rednecks." Or he could have borrowed another phrase that sums up his idea: "Religion is the opiate of the [jobless] people."

To be fair, Senator Obama has expressed regret over his choice of words but maintains his point. That's a little like eating crow but refusing to taste it. I'm more comfortable with someone who mispronounces "nuclear" and looks less than scholarly than with someone who excels at inspiring, moony speeches which smack of elitism.

I get the difference between religion as an institution versus a personal faith, but what an unfortunate gaffe to lump religious people with xenophobic, gun-slingin' Yosemite Sams. The statement is so telling.

I do cling to "religion." Or at least to an old rugged cross, and I'm not ashamed of that. I cling to Christ. I don't wave guns or hate people, not even ones who make me roll my eyes and shake my head or exchange concert tickets for votes.

Finally, this whole courting thing brought to mind lyrics from the 80s pop group Modern English's song "I'll Stop the World and Melt with You." The lyrics are perfectly suited to be Obama's theme song for seducing Indiana, mirroring his ubiquitous, hazy promise of change. Just check out these lyrics!

Moving forward using all my breath
Making love to you was never second best
I saw the world thrashing all around your face
Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace
I'll stop the world and melt with you
You've seen the difference and
It's getting better all the time
There's nothing you and I won't do
I'll stop the world and melt with you ...

I made a pilgrimage to save this human race
(You should see why)
Never comprehending a race that long gone by
(I'll stop the world)
I'll stop the world and melt with you ...

The future's open wide ...
The future's open wide ...


Melanie said...

Pork Fritters or not, You Rock.

The Preacher's Wife said...

That was totally poignant - considering you're a redneck and all.

Darnelle said...

You're the cleverest person I know!

sarah said...

Great thoughts. I always hesitate from saying too much political but I did post the morphed OBillary Pictures today, so stop by! Combining the faces of Hillary and Obama is truly freaky! I saw it on the news and had to include it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

PS. I am unemployed and I live in PA. I must be a redneck too. I thought I heard a twang creeping in.

Sarah said...

I used to love that "I'll stop the world" song...although now I realize that I was totally singing along to the wrong words :)

Ruthie said...

This was a stellar post. You should submit this as an editorial to some snooty NY paper. People need to hear from us here in the heartland.

Masterfully written -- really. "Eating crow but refusing to taste it" -- genius.

That's pretty weird about the earthquake! I'm glad you didn't sleep right through it and miss the excitement.

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I agree with Ruthie. You need to submit this to a paper somewhere.

DidiLyn said...

Would you mind sending Obama over here to Orygun? I need someone to stare into my eyes, give me chocolates and flowers and concert tickets. And understand me.
Well, let's be honest. Never mind the staring, the flowers or the understanding. Just send chocolate.

Mocha with Linda said...

I'm nominating you and Angela from Becoming Me for President/Veep. She also had an amazing respoonse to his comment.

Interesting that it's relatively benign for HIM to stereotype and lump everyone together into one category, but if a WASP Republican made that sort of comment about certain socio-economic groups, can you imagine the uproar?!

annie's eyes said...

Are you not sick of being understood by the Big Three? Great post, Linda...By the way, not everyone in Texas mispronounces nuclear. Glad to know I'm not the only one that bothers. :)

Suzio said...

I loved your comments on this subject. Especially the part about the big city slickers "wooeing you with flowers, candy and staring deeply into your eyes"! This is by far the most interesting presidential race I've seen.

Roxanne said...

Watching the news gives me hives. ON the other hand, a little bit of "Red State Update" is so incredibly clever (albeit filthy) that I can't help but laugh at it on occasion. I guess I'm backward too. . .even though I'm southern and not midwestern.

Great post.