Jeralyn Attempts to Manufacture a Gaffe and Fails

No way in hell that I’m letting this one go.

So Jeralyn, who has long ago gone off the deep end, is now attempting to manufacture an Obama gaffe.  Normally I would do what I so frequently do when I see garbage like this; turn the other cheek and ignore it (oh yes, dear readers, as much as I write on the Obama/Clinton wars, I turn the other cheek so much I have neck sprain), but what bothers me here is that Jeralyn’s cheap attempt to attack Obama over nothing isn’t harmless, or only harmful to the Obama campaign, but runs counterintuitive to progressive thought on a broad scope.

Her gripe is that Obama is being elitist because he said that losing your job means that you lose your dignity.  Of course, the smear begins by grossly taking this out of context, which shows how amateurish the attempt given that she actually produces the whole clip in context.

And that context, as has been proven time and again in this campaign, is absolutely vital.  It’s not just a matter of you have to work to have dignity, that might, just might carry a little tiny thimble of water with it, though that much would be generous.  For many Americans, particularly those in the Rust Belt, their jobs are a sense of great pride and dignity.  And having been fired, losing a job can serve as a great blow to one’s dignity.  You ask yourself what you did wrong, and feelings of inadequacy can become overwhelming.

But that’s not what Obama was saying.  He went into a whole progression about losing a job, and losing the ability to provide for one’s family.  He discussed vital aspects to American life that are threatened by a corporate culture that looks outside our borders for cheaper labor and cheaper locations for factories and plants.

And I know for a fact that the vacuum left by too few good jobs delivers a direct blow to one’s dignity, and that blow is transmitted on to later generations when the hardships continue.

Now, I live in Virginia, you all know this by now, but I grew up in Stockton, California, and I’ve seen first hand what happens when economic hardship takes hold and becomes not just a temporary thing, but instead is integrated into the local culture, and I’ve seen what results.

Crime, gang violence, drugs.

You can’t tell me that the loss of dignity caused by the loss to provide for one’s own doesn’t feed this.  Why do you think gangs exist?

Bangers don’t hang their heads.  They don’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves, and you know why?  And this is going straight to the heart of the point I’m trying to make; gang life returns to these people that which economic loss has robbed their families of often times long before they even hit the streets.  The community that the bloods and crips offer give someone dignity.  They give them a means to take care of their family, and they give them a sense of being a part of something greater than they are.

It is important that we understand this because it’s the same pattern that we see over and over again.  We see it under the white sheets and hoods of the KKK, and we see it behind bomb vests in the middle east.  Yes, Jeralyn, not being able to provide for your family can crush your dignity.  Not being a contributing member to your community can crush your dignity.  Not being able to influence things around you, control your own fate in a positive way, all because the economic situation in your region is stacked up against you doing so makes you feel like less of a person.

This is only made worse when pundits sit around and talk about you as though there is something wrong with you, when people walk by and tell you to get a job.  Hell yes that destroys your dignity.

When your son or daughter looks up at you and says, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” and you got nothing to feed him or her, do you really think that builds up in you a sense of bursting self esteem?

Have you gone totally mad?

And this is why it’s important.  Too many people like Jeralyn either don’t make the connection, or they ignore it for political gain.  When that dignity is gone, there are far too many ugly things waiting in the wings to restore it: gangs, hate groups, terrorism, cults.

This is a core principle to progressive thought, or so I believed.  That’s why we worry on strengthening the economy for the working class, so that people can have a sense of security when they go to work, so that people can feed their children and pay their rent, and when they go to bed at night they do so with the thought that, “I have done what I was supposed to do.”

And doing so, we believe, would lower crime.  Investing in our inner cities, from education to infrastructure, from housing to businesses, would lower robberies and gang membership because now people have a way to provide for themselves and their families within the constraints of law.

That’s why we depart so greatly from the neoconservative methodology of combatting terrorism; because we don’t have that tunnel vision that you just shoot the bad guys, but instead you start working on increasing the health of communities so that people who can no longer provide for their families don’t turn to radical terrorist cells that do the providing for them, and restore their sense of purpose in the world.

And for this I say shame on you Jeralyn.  Obama’s remarks weren’t elitist, they were true.  And between progressive thought and sniping in the hopes of winning a damn election you chose the latter.

Shame on you.

9 Responses to “Jeralyn Attempts to Manufacture a Gaffe and Fails”

  1. tas says:

    Let me get this straight: a well educated, I’ll assume more than adequately incomed, urban-living lawyer is trying to tell us who is elitist? Who does Jeralyn think she is, Hillary Clinton?

    I won’t be holding my breath to see if she responds to you. The Clintonistas never seem to address the criticisms against them — I wonder why. Either way, I’d email this to her and say, “Uhm, I think you’re wrong. Like really, really wrong.”

    Also on the matter of equating jobs with dignity, I don’t think many people like Jeralyn really understand this. Suppose Jeralyn is cut from her law firm’s roster, what does she do? Well, she can just get a job at another law firm; or even a government job. Living in a city, she has many options — but she probably also has the means to move, so she can apply for work anywhere. Thus are the benefits of her skill set and being lucky enough to attend law school. But for an American living in a rural area and working in a manufacturing job, that’s it. Period. Once that job moves, they have a hard time becoming unfucked by the consequences of it. Hence all the problems. The fact that Jeralyn doesn’t understand this — then dares to banter about accusations of elitism for political purposes — is pretty astounding. Lose your career first, Jeralyn, then ponder your options and see how you feel.

    I’m on my second career now… Making less money, I might add. Until you’ve been there, you just don’t get it, I guess.

  2. Kathy says:

    Has Jeralyn ever lost a job? I have, and I’ve been unemployed for over a year, barring four months when I was underemployed in a part-time proofreading job, and I can guarantee, promise, attest, and affirm that your job is tied to your dignity, and when you lose one, you lose your dignity.

  3. Pug says:

    Hey, Stockton, huh? I grew up in Sonora, not far away at all.

    Jeralyn Merritt trying to make the case that Obama is elitist is beyond pathetic. Anything to win, Jeralyn? Anything?

    I’m more than a little sick of this whole elitist campaign by the Clintons. It is sickening.

  4. This is an excellent article, Kyle – I’m with Tas on this one. Actually, I think you should publish this as an op-ed. Jeralyn will never read it if you simply e-mail it to her. I think I might see “Huff-Po” lights spelling out your name…

    Being unemployed at the present time – I will also testify to the lost dignity and self-esteem that goes along with it. The frustration that you get when you can’t pay your bills and mortgage (I’m not collecting either). Something’s got to give… Maybe I’ll join the mob.

    Peace,
    =RD=

  5. FYI… I have submitted this piece for review to the Huffington Post. Any other suggestions? I am going to send it over to Raw Story while I am at it.

  6. Tom Maguire says:

    You can’t tell me that the loss of dignity caused by the loss to provide for one’s own doesn’t feed this. Why do you think gangs exist?

    Bangers don’t hang their heads. They don’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves, and you know why? And this is going straight to the heart of the point I’m trying to make; gang life returns to these people that which economic loss has robbed their families of often times long before they even hit the streets. The community that the bloods and crips offer give someone dignity. They give them a means to take care of their family, and they give them a sense of being a part of something greater than they are.

    It is important that we understand this because it’s the same pattern that we see over and over again. We see it under the white sheets and hoods of the KKK, and we see it behind bomb vests in the middle east. Yes, Jeralyn, not being able to provide for your family can crush your dignity.

    So the good people of the great state of Indiana are five minutes away from joining the Bloods or Crios, or donning a suicide vest.

    Priceless. Maybe Obama can update his stump speech to warn them.

  7. Wow, Tom Maguire the “retired Wall Streeter who, with his wife, is raising a family in Connecticut” has decided to comment on elitism.

    At least you are an expert Tom.

    I hope you were not the one who reviewed my submission to Huffington Post.

  8. Kathy says:

    Michael,

    How about that Guardian opinion piece section — “In Your Words” I think it’s called?

    Also, I wish I had known that Maguire is a “retired Wall Streeter raising a family with his wife in Connecticut” when I commented on his post. I would have been even more sarcastic. Oh well, there’s always next time.

  9. Steve J. says:

    Kyle,

    I agree with your point and I am puzzled by the reactions of Jeralyn and Lambert (Corrente) and most of the posters there.

    To me, Obama’s remarks were almost self-evident.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Independent Liberal » The Clintosphere Jumps the Shark - [...] have to agree with Kyle on this one (although I’m feeling like BooMan as of late).  Perhaps Jeralyn Merritt…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook