My family came to the United States during the early 1990’s recession. My father had been a railroad engineer back in Russia, mostly working the geriatric section of the network, the track between Moscow and (then) Leningrad. In the States, he discovered to his chagrin that the railroads and the train industry were in the crapper, and so the only job he could find that matched his education and skills was for a custom air-conditioning company, which offered him $8.25 an hour with no benefits — provided he first worked for them for six months without pay, “as a volunteer”. And so, like many youngish Soviet immigrants at that time, my father became a livery driver.
Sitting on the floor when you had guests was at the time a gesture signifying simplicity, informality, liberal politics, hospitality, and a Parisian way of life. The passion with which Marie-Claude sat on all floors was such that Franz began to worry she would take to sitting on the floor of the shop where she bought her cigarettes.
~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Popular (official?) historiography of the 2016 Election has coagulated around the idea that Trump’s win represented a rebuke to the elites, liberals, “social justice warriors”, college professors, college students, Hollywood, feminists, scientists, artists, immigrants and basically anyone who doesn’t fit the increasingly narrow definition of a Real American — rural or small-town, white, Christian, poorly educated and poor or middle-class.
Over the ensuing months, think pieces multiplied calling on liberals to be more willing to “learn” and “listen”, and be more cognizant of the pain and anger of the the good people who populate America’s “heartland,” simple folk who have long been left behind and forgotten by the jet-set. Trump, we are told, is the result of “elites” ignoring the concerns of “ordinary Americans” who rot away in their ghost towns, devastated by the departure of sweet, sweet manufacturing jobs for China, India and Mexico, or else small businesses groaning under onerous regulations that won’t let an Honest Job Creater cut baby formula with melamine, like they do in China. Here is a good example , which talks about the resentment that the country has towards the city, the working class towards the professional class, those experiencing “economic anxiety” towards those who worry about police shootings. (It’s an early piece, but it’s a very good representation of the Liberal Remorse that we’ve been seeing.) Even Rawstory, a commie rag if there ever was one, republished one of those off of Quora via Newsweek. (“If the progressive movement in the United States does not learn to engage and speak to the people that disagree with its tenets without making them feel like backwards simpletons, it will never move forward without then having to take two steps back,” says the author after describing his father — his example of a Trump Voter — as a muscle-headed backward simpleton who decidedly isn’t interested in a dialogue with someone who embraces ideas different from his. “If progressives do not learn to create fresh common ground and alliances with those whom they are told hate them and all they represent,” continues the author, after describing how much his father utterly hates anyone who is a liberal, gay, person of color or immigrant.)
With only a couple of days to go before the election, I look back on this unspeakably hideous political season, and I realize its main theme in public discourse (other than that email nonsense) was how badly progressives like me fail to understand/appreciate/love the Trump voter. In spite of copious coverage, people who are voting Trump are deemed forgotten and ignored by the elitist media. And so in the spirit of the times, I’d like to add the following three items to this election’s installment of Six Things I Want Every Politically Opinionated Person To Take To Heart: Read more…
I have refrained from commenting on the 2016 Presidential Election so far because I find it deeply depressing, more so than previous elections have been. Obviously, I have opinions about it, even strong opinions, but all this disheartening rubbish is so obvious, there is really nothing for me to say that someone else hasn’t already said, better. Besides, pretty much everything that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth and the maws of his odious supporters speaks for itself. Here is what I find fascinating and bewildering, though. I just can’t, for the life of me, understand why in the name of all that is holy the Republican Party threw in its lot with Trump.
During the previous presidential election cycle, I wrote a post entitled 12 Things I Want Every Politically Opinionated Person To Take To Heart, in which I discussed some of the most irritating absurdities of American politics. Now that we are going through this thing again, here is a follow-up.