November 4, 2004

"Something of a woozy existential hangover."

That describes residents of "an island off the coast of Europe" -- aka Manhattan -- as they wake up after the election, in this nicely written piece by Joseph Berger in the NYT. This struck me:
[Some New Yorkers] spoke of a feeling of isolation from their fellow Americans, a sense that perhaps Middle America doesn't care as much about New York and its animating concerns as it seemed to in the weeks immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center.

"Everybody seems to hate us these days," said Zito Joseph, a 63-year-old retired psychiatrist. "None of the people who are likely to be hit by a terrorist attack voted for Bush. But the heartland people seemed to be saying, 'We're not affected by it if there would be another terrorist attack.' " ...
Many who are analyzing the election right now comment on how Bush voters don't know their own real economic interests. If only they'd unscrew their tight focus on moral questions, they would have voted for Kerry! If that sort of reasoning about voting patterns is acceptable, we should also consider whether New Yorkers are failing to perceive their own real security issues, and that they ought to have voted for Bush, but that they did not because they maintained a tight focus on the other side of those same moral issues.

Dr. Joseph also had this to say:
"I'm saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country - the heartland," Dr. Joseph said. "This kind of redneck, shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country - in the heartland."

"New Yorkers are more sophisticated and at a level of consciousness where we realize we have to think of globalization, of one mankind, that what's going to injure masses of people is not good for us," he said.
Ah! How familiar I am -- out here in Madison, Wisconsin -- with that sort of thinking. The Times turned to Joseph's seatmate at the little café table on New York's West Side. She interviewed that "New Yorkers are savvy ... We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say." But, wait ... it turns out she's from -- of all places -- Wisconsin! Not Madison, Wisconsin, though, I'd hazard to guess. I'm not sure what the big difference is between so called "street smarts" and being influenced by what your friends say. There is a lot of self-flattery that goes into the belief that your side is the sophisticated, savvy side. My view is that all human beings indulge in self-flattery and stoke their own self-esteem by visualizing those on the other side as ignorant and inept. If only you would think straight and get some information, you would agree with me!

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