BENDINELLI: The Obama stereotype



Ryan Bendinelli

“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-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Those remarks by Barack Obama are stereotypical. They characterize a large group of people without true consideration for their individuality. I will be fair from the beginning.

John McCain and Hillary Clinton are in all likelihood just as guilty of holding similar stereotypes in one way or another, toward one contrived group of people or another. Since the candidates are in all likelihood not different in that regard, perhaps people should not consider those terribly rude remarks made by Obama as truly consequential and should stick with him as their candidate because of his long record of service.

Truth be told, for a candidate whose campaign has been based on words, saying something so blatantly out of touch does not reflect well. Obama has spent well over a year telling the people of this country that he is ready to bridge the divisions among us. However, he is all too willing to discount things that are truly important to people as a result of a government that only he can fix. Frankly, this is unacceptable.

I do not need to dwell on the importance of religion, considering the audience at Villanova. Many of us understand, through very diverse ways, that religion is something we can truly celebrate and enjoy. Some people may in fact be driven to God because of frustrations in their lives, and some may seek him out because they are thankful for whatever blessings they have. Faith is personal and cannot be boiled down to any single root.

As dangerous as guns may be, many people in this country take comfort in the fact that they have control over their own security. Perhaps that is because they have seen the incompetence that applies to so many other government operations.

These comments by Obama are more than just stereotypes. They reveal his biggest frustrations with his campaign. He tells us that a large portion of Americans are bitter. I will not deny the fact that a lack of economic opportunity could certainly frustrate people. However, the bitterness is more likely to be Obama’s own. It is his inability to connect with a large portion of the country that makes him bitter. He can fix everyone’s lives with a wave of the magic policy wand. However, they cling to these silly things like guns and religion (and in many cases disagree with him on abortion because of this). People with those views are so caught up in things that actually mean something to them that they are not inspired by a few catchy words about changing America. These are the people that make Obama bitter.

It is a bit ridiculous to think that people throughout this country are all the same. It is equally inappropriate to assume large groups of people, such as those in Pennsylvania that Obama spoke of, are the same. Thus, it seems unlikely at best that they need or want the same type of government. Obama’s inability to understand a large part of this country reflects a deeper problem. Many people expect the federal government to solve every problem. Unfortunately, to make a stereotype myself, people in the federal government are unable to understand the diversity that exists across this country.

Our government in itself has a major problem, and that is the fact that it is so removed from our everyday lives. We deserve a government that understands us as a people and recognizes the diversity in us. Until Washington becomes a quieter town, that is unlikely.


Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].