Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Velma Hart Fired

You must remember Velma Hart, who confronted Obama a couple of months ago with such unpretentious dignity about how "exhausted" she was with defending him in this stagnant economy. She was worried about whether she and her family would return to the "franks and beans" period of their life.

Yesterday we learned that she has now lost her job. She had been refusing requests for interviews, but I just now saw her tell CNBC that she still supports Obama and that the economy is "improving."

The assembled talking heads seemed a little surprised at this and, unless I was imagining things, relieved. I was neither.

I would say that in a liberal democracy there are three kinds of citizens. First, there are those who don't care and don't participate. Then there are the moderates and swing voters, who have no very clear ideology and whose support for one candidate or policy or another shifts with shifting conditions (eg., in terms of the unemployment rate, the economy is not improving). Then there are the ideological voters. Their position does not change with the facts at all. Rather they use their ideologies to interpret the facts. For the most part, their positions only change with life-changing crises. I am thinking for instance of liberals who became neocons in the wake of 9/11. Another case would be those in my generation who were driven into radical positions during the Vietnam era, as a result of realizing that their own government wanted to send them to a place where they may well be violently killed -- and for no very good reason.

Come to think of it, this last group includes me.

I don't think losing your job is such a life-changing experience, especially if, as in Ms. Hart's case, you still have a family member with a job.

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