Lots of narratives since the presidential election have focused on this idea that Democrats somehow failed to understand what has happened in the center of the country, among white, working class voters.
The truth, though, is that Democrats didn’t fail America. Instead, Americans failed themselves.
The election wasn’t a matter of “economic anxiety.” It wasn’t even entirely a matter of racism, of backlash against the first black president. Instead, it was a matter of ignorance—willful, intentional ignorance.
The truth is, large swathes of Trump voters want an easy tagline, an easy fix to solutions they don’t care to actually understand. They want someone who would promise to “Make America Great Again,” by which they mean a vast array of things.
- they don’t want to take the time to understand why the jobs left, and what policies they could support that might actually bring them back;
- they don’t want to embrace the ways in which the world has changed, and continues to change; instead of embracing the ways in which they could change with it, they cling to the past;
- they don’t want to see the ways in which they’ve contibuted to their towns’ demise;
- they don’t want to ask questions, period.
Quite simply, rural, Christian, white America doesn’t want to know anything other than what they believe to be true, and if it isn’t what already fits their fantasies, mythology, and Christian beliefs—well, then, it must not be true.
Education? The bastion of coastal, liberal elites.
Questioning beliefs? That’s for pagans.
What matters is what they grew up believing, what their church told them to believe, and what their parents taught them. Oh, and that they’re white. Because they’re not racist—or they would say they aren’t racist, anyway—but they just happen to believe that white people are better. Their god is white, and they’re made in his image; everyone else is less, less chosen by god, less gifted, just less. (Plenty of white, rural Christians legitimately still believe that black people are cursed, and that’s why they have dark skin, even if they won’t admit it.)
Those people will tell you everyone is a child of god…but some people are just better favored by god. Like them, and their friends.
And, well, when you decide you know best, and anyone else trying to tell you otherwise is a poison sent by Lucifer, it becomes real easy to ignore reason. And just as easy to be hoodwinked by propaganda.
Like, say, the “fair and balanced” coverage of Fox News, which figured out exactly how to tap into the fears, prejudices, and fantasies of so many rural, white, Christian midwesterners.
So rural white Christian Americans let anti-intellect, anti-science, bigoted racists—you know, the talking heads of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and for those way out there, Alex Jones, InfoWars, and more—tell them what they wanted to hear. Never mind that if any of those rural listeners used their brains, they’d rapidly realize that they’re being exploited and used.
But nope. They’d rather hear that gays are ruining marriage, blacks are ruining democracy by protesting police actions, women wanting equal rates is ruining families, colleges are dens of vipers, and science is a scam. They want to hear that they’re right—and everyone else is wrong.
Facts and reality don’t matter, because enough of them don’t jive with what they already know, and their beliefs take precedence.
Honest truths that rural, white, Christian America has to accept if things are ever going to get better for them:
- They’re screwed economically because of top-down economic policies they’ve overwhelmingly voted for.
- Immigrants make our economy stronger—and they haven’t taken the jobs Trump voters work, or worked.
- Immigrants aren’t the reason jobs have moved overseas. Corporate greed is the reason jobs have moved overseas.
- No one is coming for their guns. People just want their kids and loved ones to not die. That shouldn’t be so much to ask.
- Offering gay marriage, or women birth control, or other marginalized populations rights, does not somehow lessen them or threaten them. Same as people in need are people in need, period, regardless of their skin color.
- They subsist on government aid (see also, the Farm Bill) while complaining about the government. They get more from the government in aid than they pay in in taxes.
- They shop at Wal-Mart, and complain about globalization and low wages.
And the list goes on, and on, and on.
I grew up in the Midwest. These were my high school classmates, my college teammates. I understand it. But that doesn’t make their choices right. And until they start using reason (or our electoral college somehow stops making their votes worth more than the votes of the rest of us), our country’s screwed…
H/T Raw Story