via Al Stefanelli
One of my facebook friends posted a link to this internet posting, and I think it speaks quite poignantly about why some people may be voting against their own interests, especially those of an older generation.
…I listen to my own father, who has been the victim of layoffs from corporate merger after merger, who’s had his retirement fucked, who’s lost money on wall street – he’s done everything he was ‘supposed’ to do. He joined the military, went to college, had 2 kids, bought the house, invested & saved his money, worked his fucking ass off all his life & he still has squat to show for it. Now as a man well into his 60s he’s feeling the wrath of age discrimination, he’s finding his skills becoming outdated & his pay & benefits today (for the last 10 years) are lower than what they’ve been in the last 30 for him. Living the american life he finds his health failing as he’s a lifetime smoker with a growing waistline.
He’s the prototypical uncultured, red-blooded american male. He slathers his [steak] in ketchup, votes conservatives down the line, and wants the good old days before the women, blacks and fags took over. He’s a flag waver, supports his troops, and fends for himself. He’s always bitching about how much money corporations have to spend [because] of regulation & about how the upper class need a tax cut. Nothing in the world makes him angrier than “socialism” & the so-called welfare state. Working people getting needed services bothers him tremendously because a few extreme token examples get painted as degenerate leeches by the likes of AM Radio & Fox News. ANd then he’ll turn right around & support corporate subsidy for just about anything from corn to oil – b/c it “stimulates jobs” and it “trickles down”.
He refuses to recognize that we as a nation spend more money at the beckoning of corporate America than we even begin to touch what we spend on our own citizenry through what he claims is “welfare” or infrastructure. He’s a working class guy who’s been fucked by the system all his life. He still puts his suit on with a kind of sad pride, every day, & goes to work downtown to phone-monkey job nowadays. He’s doing a job any body could do but he likes to pretend all his education & experience has gotten him somewhere. He’s deluded about what America’s exceptional way of life has brought him personally as he is deluded about what the world is like at large. So he denies global warming, blames the unions, blames teachers & other government workers, blames regulation, blames the EPA & the FDA, blames those struggling to make it in this world, blames the blacks, blames the immigrants, blames everyone & anyone but those at the top.
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s your Dad or another relative, or the neighbor two doors down, but I think we all know a version of this man. Maybe, like the subject of this posting, there is some element of racism and bigotry, maybe not. This is a man who feels fucked over by the system, even though he thought he did all the things he was supposed to do — and he probably did! He’s a true believer “in an American dream & a way of life that simply doesn’t exist,” but instead of fighting back against the system that’s fucking him, he turns off his mind and turns the hate against those in the same boat as him.
Why? Is it easier? Less painful? What about some sort of corporate Tea Party Stockholm Syndrome? Those people really know their stuff — especially since their corporate masters told them so. No further thinking required…
We’ve seen this in history before. I’m not trying to evoke Godwins Law or anything but i see a lot of correlations between the right-wing disenfranchised populist uprising here in America & a lot of what people experience in Wiemar Germany. There was a lot of angry people, scared about the loss of their jobs & an economy in bad shape. Those angry, uneducated people were looking for someone to blame. They didn’t care if they sided with a political party that would be responsible for fucking them over & destroying their democracy, not to mention the massive harm they would do to other groups. No, all that mattered was they found leaders who pretended to have answers. People like quick & simple answers & fixes, certainty & shared anger.
Easy peasy! It’s not me or the people I aspire to be who caused any problems, it’s those other people. You know, the ones who don’t look like me or believe like me. Yeah, fuck them!
So far, the Tea Party hasn’t come up with a great leader for their movement, and we should consider ourselves lucky that they haven’t found him or her.
If somebody comes along who is charismatic & honest the US is in trouble bc of the frustration, disillusionment, justified anger & the absence of any coherent response from liberals. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants from Mexico, the Muslims, teachers, unions, Planned Parenthood, NPR, & blacks (you can toss in atheists, homosexuals & liberals too). We will be told that WASPy private sector males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves & the honor of the nation. instead of fixing problems that truly affect the all of the working class, the nation will be convinced to support legislation that will further protect & consolidate power for the corporate elite.
Hmmmmm, that sounds mighty familiar already, doesn’t it?
What are we going to do, good people? Is there really any changing this kind of self-destructive thinking? Or should we just roll on over them, and concentrate on those who aren’t so invested in blaming “the other?”
This is our daily open thread — What do you think?