Empathy and the Deplorables…

Rationalize their acceptance of Trump? Forgettaboutit!

Illustrated | (Images courtesy Getty Images, AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

From the Complaint Department

Got a complaint my article was too long and I needed to summarize it. Here you go:

STOP TRYING TO CONVINCE ME:

I need to talk to racists, white supremacists or lunatics who voted for Trump, who believe his jingoistic, misogynistic, sexist, hate-filled rhetoric is somehow exactly what the country needs to “Make America Great Again.”

Because every time such rhetoric gets unpacked, minorities, women, children, the elderly, and anyone who isn’t a White man willing to put on a swastika or a hooded robe and burn a cross on someone lawn ends up on the spiky end of the stick, being beaten for something they cannot change about themselves.

These same White men (and given the election results, White women) who enabled Trump’s rise to power, now sit in their empty Union halls, their hollowed out mines, their closed manufacturing plants and say: Trump’s going to look out for us.

If I were you, I’d look around. This may end up being the wake up call you poor Republican bastards need to understand Trump doesn’t give a damn about you. He is already feathering his nest with the lucre of foreign leaders and snuggling down with white supremacists whom you claim don’t represent you, but…

Will soon be representing you.

Forgive me if I don’t exactly jump up and down trying to break bread with you to understand your issues. I have 397 years of my own unpacking to do…

Say Reverse Racism One more Motherfucking Time, I dare you.

Chris Hedges’ wrote an article today explaining why we are all to use Hillary Clinton’s word “deplorables” and that we needed to work together to unravel how and why Trump has been able to come to power.

From Chris Hedges’ article today: We Are All Deplorables.

An excerpt:

“My relatives in Maine are deplorables. I cannot write on their behalf. I can write in their defense. They live in towns and villages that have been ravaged by deindustrialization. The bank in Mechanic Falls, where my grandparents lived, is boarded up, along with nearly every downtown store. The paper mill closed decades ago. There is a strip club in the center of the town. The jobs, at least the good ones, are gone. Many of my relatives and their neighbors work up to 70 hours a week at three minimum-wage jobs, without benefits, to make perhaps $35,000 a year. Or they have no jobs. They cannot afford adequate health coverage under the scam of Obamacare. Alcoholism is rampant in the region. Heroin addiction is an epidemic. Labs producing the street drug methamphetamine make up a cottage industry.
Suicide is common. Domestic abuse and sexual assault destroy families. Despair and rage among the population have fueled an inchoate racism, homophobia and Islamophobia and feed the latent and ever present poison of white supremacy. They also nourish the magical thinking peddled by the con artists in the Christian right, the state lotteries that fleece the poor, and an entertainment industry that night after night shows visions of an America and a lifestyle on television screens — “The Apprentice” typified this — that foster unattainable dreams of wealth and celebrity.
Those who are cast aside as human refuse often have a psychological need for illusions and scapegoats. They desperately seek the promise of divine intervention. They unplug from a reality that is too hard to bear. They see in others, especially those who are different, the obstacles to their advancement and success. We must recognize and understand the profound despair that leads to these reactions. To understand these reactions is not to condone them.
The suffering of the white underclass is real. Its members struggle with humiliation and a crippling loss of self-worth and dignity. The last thing they need, or deserve, is politically correct thought police telling them what to say and think and condemning them as mutations of human beings.
Those cast aside by the neoliberal order have an economic identity that both the liberal class and the right wing are unwilling to acknowledge. This economic identity is one the white underclass shares with other discarded people, including the undocumented workers and the people of color demonized by the carnival barkers on cable news shows. This is an economic reality the power elites invest great energy in masking.
The self-righteousness of the liberal class, which revels in imagined tolerance and enlightenment while condemning the white underclass as irredeemable, widens the divide between white low-wage workers and urban elites. Liberals have no right to pass judgment on these so-called deplorables without acknowledging their pain. They must listen to their stories, which the corporate media shut out. They must offer solutions that provide the possibility of economic stability and self-respect.”
Art by Steven Byrne

Slow your roll, Chris:

Interesting article from a writer I tend to respect. Chris is thoughtful, considerate and detail-oriented.

In this case, his case is completely 100% bullshit.

Why?

Because I am being asked to accept a Republican-held Congress which has for the last eight years done everything it could to prevent progress which could have helped these same people.

A Congress which intentionally threw these people under the bus, not once, not twice but on multiple occasions, strictly for the promotion of their party’s power in future elections. The people they harmed by reducing regulations which would have prevented the collapse of the economy in 2008 were completely ignored. Homes lost, towns destroyed, economies shattered; no one was held accountable. Why? Because they were White and they had money. It’s that simple.

These same Republicans would go on to do everything in their power to harm a sitting Democratic president from obstructionism to outright shutting down of the federal government in order to undermine his presidency and hoping to harm not only his chances in office but to ensure no other Black person would be so foolish as to ever consider taking the job again.

Now he wants me to believe a segment of society, so angry with how things are done in this nation, how jobs are sent overseas by megacorporations, how corrupt politicians undermine society keeping the poor disenfranchised, felt their only choice was to vote for a racist, hateful business demagogue who believes totalitarian rule over the government, the regression of civil rights laws to pre-1950 standards and the appointment of avowed racists to positions which make it capable for them to roll back the flow of time for anyone who isn’t White, as an acceptable norm and price for minorities to pay for a civilization which has through the use of technology abandoned wide swaths of the population?

Sorry. I am so not buying it.

Do those people have a legitimate beef? Absolutely. But is not only with the Democratic Party. It is with the Republican Party as well who has, since the 1960s been aware of the impending technologically-driven dearth of manufacturing type work due to the advent of constantly improving automation.

But the truth of the matter is, Trump has promised something he cannot deliver. It just can’t happen. The jobs that have been lost have been removed through, not just outsourcing to foreign shores but to automation technologies which are more reliable, more cost effective and a better business proposition to corporations than caring for people and their families for decades at a time.

Robots don’t ask for time off, stop working for weekends, or demand pensions at the end of their work-cycle before being replaced by more efficient robots.

Trump has effectively lied to millions of people who believe it will be possible to bring work back to America that has been lost to cheaper labor markets overseas. Such work cannot return to the States until it is effectively cheaper to bring such work back to America because the standard of living is lower here than it is in a third-world nation.

The irony is: if Trump is successful at gutting the nation through the interactions of his White Nationalist/Supremacists and his reprehensible business acumen, America will be a second-tier nation sufficiently poor enough to attract business dealings with the remaining first world nations who will deem America destitute enough to warrant trying to build factories for very limited goods which are difficult to make using robots.

Technological Unemployment or Humans Need Not Apply

Since the 1960s, a futurist named Alvin Toffler, a name most of you may not be familiar with, predicted the nature of technologically-driven unemployment and published his ideas in a much-maligned tome called Future Shock.

In this and his later works, he predicted the advent of technology which would replace the modern worker and the coming of the Information Age. An age which would require more intellectually capable workers who would be dealing with more complex issues as technology changed the world, beyond our recognition. His basic premise was, any work that could be automated would eventually be automated. People would have an opportunity to move from work they had to do, to work they wanted to do, expanding their skills, creativity and talents for a world whose grunt labor would be done by automated technology.

Unfortunately, there was a period of globalization which would exploit manual labor before automation became affordable the world over. The desire to exploit humanity as the cheapest labor possible, even if it harmed millions was a time-honored tradition to be engaged in by corporations until it was no longer profitable or possible to ignore the economic benefits of automation.

Outsourcing done by corporations, which would have been problematic once upon a time was eventually accepted when regulations that prevented it were reduced by both parties over time, due to election funding provided by those same corporations, allowed such work to leave the country, with the government’s blessings, and never return.

As education became equalized, workers came to America because they could be paid less under programs like H1-B visas and other such economic schemes which took advantage of the ignorance of the populace, the complexity of the laws, and the fears of the people being used in such a fashion.

As American industries embraced outsourcing, and the eventual automation of manufacturing as well as a national trend moving away from industries such as coal and to a lesser extent gas, toward cleaner renewable energies, these transitions have also taken jobs away from these people we are told we must empathize with.

Did the government take the findings from the 1960s and overhaul the education system, make education affordable, encourage people to be as educated as they could be to deal with the future of work changing toward a more technological base?

No. Our education system looks and functions pretty much as it always has for the last 150 years, only growing more expensive and less useful every decade. People are now so intellectually-impoverished they can be convinced of almost anything and are willing to believe it.

No. I am not calling them stupid. I am calling them uninformed. I am calling them mislead. I am calling them rhetoric-challenged. I am calling them “cognitively dissonant.” I am saying they have been taught they are “impoverished millionaires” rather than poor fuckers who have been used by corporations for decades, killed when expedient in mining, transportation and other kinds of accidents, poisoned by said corporations, living in toxic fields, drinking poisoned water and entering early graves to their own detriment while their corporate masters made off with the booty and left them holding the bag.

I am saying the bag they are holding, have been holding, and have only recently started looking into has been filled with lies, blandishments of their true purpose, failed promises of economic empowerment which will never come again in their lifetimes, no matter what Donald Trump and his Horsemen of the Apocalypse shall promise.

I say, these people are so intellectually-challenged, not stupid, misled to the point they have come to believe any political rhetoric is for their benefit, they can be convinced a man who has never worked a day in his life, who was born into wealth, who failed at every major business endeavor he has ever engaged in, who spend 18 years milking a billion dollar tax loss and still believe he has the intellectual and business acumen to make a nation in the throes of a hard-won recovery, somehow instantly more capable of supporting a group of people who lack the good sense to avoid voting for such a failure in the first place?

If you voted for Trump, no matter what you thought you were getting, you voted for misogyny, racism, religious intolerance, corruption, sexual misconduct, business fraud, and growing conflicts of interest and the personal aggrandizement of a White man who has zero interest in your issues, your state of being or the ultimate fate of White America except where it serves his needs.

If Trump’s cabinet, his Legion of Doom, a collection of bigots, racists and economic ne-er do wells manage to do anything for anyone, it will be because the Congress has sat on so many opportunities during the Obama Administration, they have a plethora of choices by which to make Trump seem an effective leader, with the right prompting. None of the things they will do while directing Trump will be for your benefit.

You may become employed in one of the shovel-ready jobs they will “create” but it is only so they can secure your vote in the next election in 2018 to maintain their control over the House and the Senate. It isn’t about employing you at all. It is about securing their economic wealth once they leave office.

The only possibility of work for the nation could be a serious infrastructure development project which would overhaul bridges, roads, electrical networks, water and sewer systems across the nation. These “shovel-ready” projects have sat in the pipeline during President Obama’s administration but were never able to make it past Congress, who wanted nothing to do with giving him an opportunity to look successful.

If Trump and the Republican party act according to their duplicitous natures, these may be the only jobs available to Americans which might reduce the anger of the masses, once they figure out he has no factory jobs to place at their feet. Such work would be sufficient to placate the masses for a time and maybe even make the nation temporarily happy enough to forget the promises he made.

By the time those projects end, Trump will no longer be president and he will be looked upon as a national hero having given work, however temporary, to his constituency. All thought of the treachery of Congress leaving Americans to go without opportunities for eight years during the Obama presidency, when these jobs were suggested will be rewritten on the tablets of history.

For those of you who doubt the veracity of my claims, I present Exhibit A: $478B Infrastructure Bill Blocked by Senate GOP — March 25, 2015

Trump’s election has never been about helping anyone, except Trump. Even the Republican Party is having to figure out ways to spin this to their benefit.

Trump used those people who were called the deplorables and salvaged their fears promoting racism. Racism in America has always been an effective platform to vote from and has driven more than one election to success. Manipulating racism and classism, Trump managed to turn a nation against itself. A nation which has been critically under-educated particularly in terms of protecting itself against fascism and other forms of propaganda used in elections and the management of social behaviors.

Racism, the fear of the other which has become the specter of multiculturalism and diversity has been taken to an unreasonable extreme in order to manipulate groups of people in a battle which has already been lost.

Exhibit B: I also present Exhibit B To further cement my point — Today’s news from New York Magazine:

“Now that Republicans hold power again, they will lift the Obama-era fiscal blockade. There will be no more requirement that Republican-supported spending be “paid for.” They will simply resume debt-financed spending. The infrastructure improvements they opposed under Obama will now pass easily. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, sees this proposal as the lynchpin of Trump’s domestic policy and the key to cementing his support with the white working class.
“With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up,” he told Michael Wolff. “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.” It is not clear exactly which exciting, 1930s-era infrastructure-building leader Bannon has in mind, but his grasp of the political benefit is evident.”

Dear White People:

White people: Your days of economic, cultural and social dominance in this country and probably the world, are almost over. This has happened because you used fear to drive your economic engine.

Racism is a form of fear.

Fear drives capitalism.

The fear that someone will have more than you do.

It is a simple engine but it has worked. It has promoted wars, it has promoted the theft of land, the plundering of resources, the dominance of financial wealth in a select group more ruthless and cutthroat than the rest of us.

Fear is the engine which drives the world. Fear of loss. Fear of suffering. Fear of dying without ever truly having lived.

It is the economic engine which allows for multi-billionaires to continue to exist, exerting the least effort they have to, while strip-mining the populace of the world; seeing people as little more than pawns in a oligarchical game of economic chess.

No. I don’t have any particular need to understand those people Chris mentioned. I empathize with them because I am a Black man in America. I know what it is to be highly educated and still thought of as less than Human. To be skilled, to be driven, to be motivated to excel and thought of as little more than a beast, no matter what skills or training I may possess.

Their story is my story with one vital difference. I have never used my race as a vehicle to harm other people, to monopolize a resource, to control an outcome, to disenfranchise people because I was afraid I would one day have less than they do.

I already understand the engine which has impoverished them, intentionally, with forethought and malice and recognize how they are being used to further an agenda which has no plans to assist them in any way.

In fact, they are as usual, being used to vote against their own interests. The only thing that’s different now, is they are poised to be in exactly the same boat I am in. Except they’ll be White and think they are better off.

I, on the other hand, know better. And I always have.

Corporate America has never been your friend. It uses you until it finds someone in worse shape than you and then uses them instead, paying them less for the privilege.

Trump would have you who voted for him, believe you are safer than those who didn’t. I assure you, none of us are safe. And we never will be, as long as they can convince you to raise your hands, or your voice to your fellows.

Free yourselves from the delusions of grandeur. We are all poor, not disenfranchised millionaires. There is no shame in that.

Poverty is not a sin.

It is not a state of mind. It is not a divine statement of your intrinsic worth. It is not an indictment of you as a person. It does not make you less of a person for being poor. It does not make a person who is rich a “better” person. It does not mean they have an intrinsic “worth” you do not.

Poverty is a “state.” Literally: the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.

The state of poverty can change under more favorable conditions.

It is a state of existence manufactured by macroeconomic engines of commerce through exploitation of labor using ignorance, immobility, cultural backwardness, exploitation using educational and religious training to exploit human effort.

It is a state perpetuated by the creation of false divisions, chronic media promoting “isms,” the propagation of fear dressed as jingoistic mansplaining, psychological subjugation garbed in legislative dross denying birthrights and restoring false legacies.

It has always been this way.

A quick study of history will reveal this. The difference is: today, you have the capacity to free your mind from this psychic effluvia, this poison which prevents you from seeing clearly.

Free yourself from the idea that for YOU to have, some unworthy minority must NOT. There are no unworthy minorities. There are no people who deserve disdain. There are only people you don’t know well enough.

The reason such divisions can prosper is because we don’t know each other. Our media, our technology, our cultures keep us apart, ignorant of each other.

Your poverty is maintained by keeping you ignorant of the truth.

NEW YORK CITY — Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. has confirmed that he visited with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City.
Falwell tells local media that he and Trump met Thursday at Trump Tower to discuss the U.S. Department of Education and Falwell’s potential role. He wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he was being vetted as secretary of education, but says he will “definitely play a role” in the administration.
A restaurant in Northwest Washington issued an apology Monday after hosting an alt-right, white nationalist event whose participants offered praise of Adolf Hitler.

No, I won’t rationalize Trump.

I won’t accept his behavior. I deplore his appointments of avowed, hate-spewing misogynists and White Supremacists to government. I won’t apologize for calling him as I see him. I won’t apologize for recognizing what he has done, and will do to race relations, to cultural relationships and to the fabric of American society by normalizing White Supremacy. Not now. Not ever.

I will note that those people who voted for Trump thinking it was the best they could do, I will accept, a failure on the part of all parties concerned, Republican and Democrat that allowed this execrable state of affairs to materialize.

Don’t mistake this as a capitulation on my part. I abhor racism. I abhor racists. I absolutely despise any frame of thought which can support the harm, suppression, diminution, the intolerance of the diversity of the Human body, mind or spirit in all its many forms. If your perspective requires someone else to suffer for you to feel good, then you are on my shit list.

Chris and I can agree on this one simple fact: For any of us to truly prosper, we must take our fight to those who profit from our battles with each other. Those in power who use your ignorance as a weapon against you.

The truth is a simple recognition that all false divisions are created to keep you fighting among yourselves for crumbs, while those in power, steal the cake.

In closing, Robert Reich’s reminds us in his Facebook feed:

A Washington insider told me this morning not to worry. “Trump will just be another conservative president, like Reagan and George W. We’ll get through it.”
Wrong. Normalizing Trump is dangerous, because Trump isn’t normal. And his presidency is unlikely to be “just another conservative” presidency. Consider:
1. At every stage of the campaign — when he officially declared his candidacy, when he became the presumptive nominee, and when he was elected — we were told Trump would stop his hateful, lying rants. He still hasn’t. Even as President-elect he’s already tweeting vindictive lies about the New York Times and about the cast of “Hamilton.” What happens when he has control over the IRS and FBI?
2. His picks are already a Who’s-Who of racist extremists. For Attorney General he wants Jeff Sessions — a man who dismisses the Voting Rights Act, opposes immigration reform and sentencing reform, and whom a Republican Senate found unfit to be a federal judge because of racist statements and actions.
3. For CIA director he’s picked Mick Pampeo — a Koch-brothers favorite who wants to expand secret surveillance of Americans and reopen “black-site” torture centers, and hates the Iran nuclear deal.
4. For National Security Advisor he’s picked Michael Flynn — who says it’s “rational” to fear Muslims, and that Islam is an ideology more than a religion.
5. For chief strategist he’s picked Stephen Bannon — a man with a record of racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic publishing.
Warning: Don’t be in denial. Trump is a clear and present danger to America and the world. Prepare yourself for the peaceful resistance. Now.

Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.