In the dream my brother expressed disappointment over the jeans that shrank: remember how nice they were, he said, and I did. I remembered: what it's like, too, to finally have something new, something nice, something you can't afford, and to lose it to the wash. I remembered my father saying it's the luck of the poor, poor poor people can't win for nothin'. My brother kept saying goddamn, you know? Goddamn. I woke up sad and shaken. Such sorrow in things. This morning my coffee is weak.
(It doesn't: matter.)
Obama was explaining his trouble winning over small-town, working-class voters: “It’s not surprising then that 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.”
“Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.”
Now, this is a point of view with a long intellectual pedigree prior to Marx, and many vocal adherents continuing into the 21st century. I don’t believe the claim is true, but it’s certainly worth considering, in college classrooms and beyond.
But it’s one thing for a German thinker to assert that “religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature.” It’s another thing for an American presidential candidate to claim that we “cling to ... religion” out of economic frustration.