Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Messiah, 1932

My friend Robert Lubbers is reading a book about the Great Depression (and, yes, I am so dumb that I have forgotten the name and so lazy that I won't call and ask him). Last night he showed me a passage about the common habit that people had then, even in relief agencies, to claim that people who were out of work somehow deserved their fate. It should have been pretty obvious that millions of hardworking Americans who had been diligently providing for their families didn't suddenly become shiftless bums overnight, but the feeling was common enough, and it was often shared by the unemployed themselves.

The writer said that the director of one relief agency said that Negroes believed the new president was "the Messiah" and that he would provide them $12 a week to live on without their having to lift a finger.

Even omitting the outdated racial reference, and even adjusting for inflation, the bigotry in that statement is pretty obvious, isn't it? Do you suppose that modern-day claims that Obama is a purported Messiah will someday look just as bigoted to our grandkids?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt he's the the Messiah, but he seems to have a Special Gift.

Either that or he slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night.