I’m getting tired of the “whither the white working class?” explanations, apologetics and rationalizations. Neither of my parents had college degrees. My father was a machinist and my mother worked in a clothespin factory before she became a stay-at-home mom. Before that you’ll find a line of shipyard and mill workers and subsistence farmers. I’m very much aware of the rusted out mill towns. Visit them all the time. I was allowed to do “better,” but elite, white, liberal guilt with its speculation about how “those people” are thinking isn’t my line. Elite types take one look at me and know I’m not one of them. (Must be the shoes.)
But I’m not on board for much of this analysis. With the appointment of Bannon we no longer have to speculate on whether there will be a white supremacist voice in the aptly named White House. It’s here. It’s real. And that trajectory was clear during the election. If you voted for Trump then a) you agreed with the racist, sexist (etc.) strain in him and his crew, b) you’re willing to overlook/minimize it b/c of some perceived good in a Trump admin or perceived greater evil in an HRC admin (i.e. open racism, sexism etc. wasn’t a deal breaker) or c) you’re indifferent to it b/c you think it will not affect you directly or d) you’re willing to flirt with it as a way to tweak the eggheads. Logically, I don’t see any other alternative.
Working class whites: “We’re not racists! But we were desperate! We had no choice!” Yes, you did. There were third parties, independents and write-ins. You could have voted for more of the same (HRC) rather than the Know Nothing party and gritted your teeth until the GOP put forth an adult candidate in four short years (which they likely would have done given a Trump defeat). And I’d rather not have a job (I barely have one now) than to see the resurgent racists and neo-fascists here and overseas jubilant b/c their boy was elected — and make no mistake they think of him as their boy even if you (white working class person) don’t. I’d rather not have a job than tolerate mass deportation, since my Acadian ancestors suffered that and we descendants haven’t forgotten it 250 years later. Those who enable racism are complicit in it and can’t wriggle out of the net with excuses about “lesser evils” or due to their resentment of eggheads and fat cats. The reality is that the fat cats have been playing white working class racists like virtuosos, like Coltrane on the tenor sax, for centuries now. And they’ve done it again. Folks of my class have reaped the whirlwind.