I’ve been riding an economic roller coaster as a teacher for the past 12 years. When things were lean, I was unemployed for a time at age 30 and living with my dad. When I complained about our leadership (Bush, Cheney, et al.) or the system, Republicans consistently told me I should assume some “personal responsibility” for my choices: career/profession, expenditures, and how I voted. If I wanted to make more money and be more stable, I shouldn’t have become a teacher. If I wanted to have more money, maybe I should’ve bought a cheaper car than a Honda. Maybe I should live in a cheaper town. Find a cheaper apartment. Don’t go out to eat twice a week. Find a second job. A third job. And so on.
So it is extremely difficult for me to hear Trump supporters boo-hooing about how their lives are so bad off after decades of voting against their interests and watching their towns rust away, like all this rust belt stuff just started during Obama’s tenure (when Springsteen was singing “My Hometown” about that very thing in 1984). I’m tired of Trump supporters blaming liberals for all their problems and accusing the poor of being leeches on society (welfare queens, tax-and-spend, socialism-is-bad, etc.), while at the same time voting for politicians who ensure tax breaks for the wealthiest (which never trickles down), and then these same people complain about how the government isn’t doing enough for *them*.
I might listen to someone who thinks like this, but in the back of my mind I’m still thinking about the moral high ground/personal responsibility claptrap their party has shoveled for decades. That stuff cuts both ways. Maybe listening isn’t the answer. Maybe it’s time to start telling some of these people that if they want to live a better life, they should take some personal responsibility for it and quit blaming liberals, immigrants, the media, etc.