Further Thoughts, Spurred by Cracked - update
I had written this page before I though of browsing Cracked. I was joking about my two cents being cheap. And I was right about that part.
How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind
I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.
See, political types talk about “red states” and “blue states” (where red = Republican/conservative and blue = Democrat/progressive), but forget about states. If you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, dig up the much more detailed county map. Here’s how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election — again, red is Republican:
Holy c***slaps, that makes it look like Obama’s blue party is some kind of fringe political faction that struggles to get 20 percent of the vote. The blue parts, however, are more densely populated — they’re the cities.
Blue islands in an ocean of red. The cities are less than 4 percent of the land mass, but 62 percent of the population and easily 99 percent of the popular culture. Our movies, shows, songs, and news all radiate out from those blue islands.
Every TV show is about LA or New York, maybe with some Chicago or Baltimore thrown in. When they did make a show about us, we were jokes — either wide-eyed, naive fluffballs (Parks And Recreation, and before that, Newhart) or filthy murderous mutants (True Detective, and before that, Deliverance). You could feel the arrogance from hundreds of miles away.
Is Trump going to screw them over? Of course. Was it a mistake to elect him? Absolutely. But he was telling desperate people what they wanted to hear. And I mean economically desperate people.
Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you’d barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.
They’re getting the s*** kicked out of them. I know, I was there. Step outside of the city, and the suicide rate among young people f***ing doubles. The recession pounded rural communities, but all the recovery went to the cities. The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed.
I’m overdoing the quotations as it is. So please go read the whole article.
The point is that while Clinton was talking about infrastructure and small businesses, Trump was talking about industrial manufacturing jobs. Guess which one was more likely to benefit small towns more? Again, I know Trump was making empty promises, but tell that to people who are suffering double the average suicide rate. Clinton’s economic plan didn’t seem include them.
I stand by most of what I said in my previous page. But I must rescind my previous
implied assertion (implied because looking back, I hadn’t actually said it, but still feel like I did) (edit: I did say it towards the end, because I need more sleep) that racism was the driving factor of Trump’s victory. That’s not the case. I’m not saying bigotry wasn’t a factor, but not in the form we assumed. Trump’s dog-whistles largely included inner-city stereotypes, playing on the “city folks are strange” mindset. Whereas Clinton dismissed Trump supporters as consisting of at least half deplorables, reinforcing the “pompous elitist” image.
Yeah, Fox Noise is largely in part to blame for this poisonous image of city folk out in the country. They and religious leaders helped drive social wedge issues as a substitute for solving the real problems. But we too are guilty of prejudice. …against country folk. Hear me out. The studies showing Trump supporters being primarily the relatively well-off, as opposed to impoverished, must be wrong. Why? Because the middle-class is scant in small towns and rural areas. It’s not mathematically possible for the relatively well-to-do to be the majority of Trump supporters outside of the cities. They are mostly desperate people sick of us not listening to them. In other words, it was a “Brexit”-like protest vote, not a referendum for white supremacists. (not that I expect the celebratory KKK to understand)
As for the degree to which racism tainted their views and votes, it’s not an issue of animus so much as it is a matter of white privilege. If you think about it, it’s not really that different from the white liberals who are telling people of color, immigrants, and muslims “everything’s going to be okay.” ‘But, but, but white supremacists endorsed Trump. It’s not the same thing.’ As if I could forget. The desperate country folk weren’t voting for white supremacist organizations. They were voting for the one guy telling them what they wanted to hear. The openly racist groups were just an abstract distraction as far they’re concerned. Not an issue at all, for them.
Adam Conover was right on the money in his Adam Ruins Everything Election Special. Political polarization has indeed made us stupid. If we had reached out to discuss what problems they face and how to help, this disastrous election could’ve been avoided. Let us not repeat that mistake.
I still endorse starting a “new wave” of liberals taking over the Democratic party Teabagger-style. The party leadership and direction needs to be changed. But we also must stop perpetuating the culture war between city vs country. Because only cynical, power-hungry a-holes in both parties ever win that war. We need to discuss returning manufacturing jobs to small towns. And when we talk about infrastructure, small towns and rural areas should be discussed first and foremost.
It’s tempting to focus on cities since that’s where the majority of people live, but we won’t undercut the republican base that way. Besides, most city governments have adequate resources to solve most of their own problems. Aside from disasters, systemic racism and large corporation shenanigans, helping the cities doesn’t need to be front and center.
And that’s enough rambling for now.
Edit 2: another Cracked article, from the same writer no less. He just touched on some of the same things I just did. Some. His focus was elsewhere. cracked.com Why didn’t I read this first? Wow, I really need to sleep.