Eye on the pie, nail on the head: Marcus on Indiana, ""bitternesss

Dateline: Sat 19 Apr 2008

Morton Marcus cuts to the chase in his "Eye on the Pie" column in the Indianapolis Business Journal this week. His column is headlined; "Can We Handle Obama's Truth?"

He makes it clear from sentence one he is not endorsing Obama. Then he goes on to praise Obama's "brilliant description" of what is happening not only in Penn but throughout the nation economically.

Here's the refresher quote from Obama, the one that Hillary et all have driven into the ground:

"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 [that local residents] 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."

Marcus says Obama sums up correctly what he himself has seen in the Midwest in rural areas in the last 25 years.

As a Hoosier rural nostalgic, I can vouch for the decline in West Central Indiana. We came to Putnam County in 2000, and have borne sad witness to closings of plants, businesses on the square and small operations that simply could not make it. Wal-Mart still goes strong, however.

And bitterness? Fear? Mistrust? This blog once ran a photo of a local church's billboard, condemning to hell all homosexuals. Big country does not always breed big thoughts. When times are tough, people close ranks. Nothing terribly original in that; it's just a fact of hardscrabble life.

Marcus says, of Indiana: "Much of our struggle as a state is our mental distress. Just as it was finally sinking in that Indiana was not a farm state, we started to think our pre-eminence in manufacturing was ending. There are still Hoosiers, in and out of the General Assembly, who do not see that manufacturing is the heart of our past 100 years and the essential core of our next century."

Unlike Marcus, I do endorse a candidate, and I'll be knocking on doors on Obama's behalf today. I'm not saying he can save us from ourselves, but that his optimism and energy and high principles are the best shot we've got.

Here's the link to Marcus:

http://www.ibj.com/html/detail_page.asp?content=13941

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