Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How to make a TeaParty Voter. (People Who Consistantly Vote Against Their Own Interest)

We spend our way into the poorhouse. We buy giant TVs. … We purchase homes we don’t need, refinance them for more spending money, and declare bankruptcy, often leaving them full of garbage in our wake. Thrift is inimical to our being. …
We scream and yell at each other like we’re spectators at a football game. At least one member of the family uses drugs. … Our kids go to foster care but never stay for long. …
We don’t study as children, and we don’t make our kids study when we’re parents. … Sometimes we’ll get a job but it won’t last. We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing. … We talk to our kids about responsibility, but we never walk the walk. …
Our eating and exercise habits seem designed to send us to an early grave. … We eat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, and McDonald’s for dinner. We rarely cook, even though it’s cheaper and better for the body and soul. Exercise is confined to the games we play as children.
And so on. But, as Tonto memorably asked, “What you mean, we?” Is “we” his extended family? Appalachian hillbillies generally? Working-class Americans? Or an extrapolated rant against his mother?
Some elegy! His cartoon may describe some hillbillies, but the exaggeration is breathtaking. People don’t lose jobs because the jobs disappear but for tardiness and stealing? We never walk the walk as parents. Never? This muddle of memoir and faux social science comes from a graduate of Yale Law School.
What does come through loud and clear is the self-hate, projected onto his extended family. And then, in a sleight of hand, Vance exempts himself from the “we”: “I knew even as a child that there were two separate sets of mores and social pressures. My grandparents embodied one type: old-fashioned, quietly faithful, self-reliant, hard-working. My mother and, increasingly, the entire neighborhood embodied another: consumerist, isolated, angry, distrustful.” Values to the rescue.
Yet if Vance is not worth taking seriously as a pop sociologist, he is very worth reading as primary data. The fact that there are so many people like Vance spells trouble for liberals. Kentucky, after all, is the state that did an exemplary job of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, securing health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, and the grateful citizens then elected a Republican governor who pledged to discontinue it, because they evidently hated government in general more than they liked their Medicaid.

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