What I Have Learned From Photographing 400 Towns in Iowa
Cody Weber

Exceptionally eloquent, heartfelt and descriptive of how economic losses have been allowed to destroy hope, security, ambition. I think there are other ‘chapters’ to be added regarding how the US ever got to dream this dream not similarly available to other populations and equally at their expense — a historical, economic and social truth most Americans categorically refuse to investigate, preferring a self-deluding and delusional exceptionalism that is +/- morally indefensible.

It’s ‘our’ national ideological addiction — a drug we love and will do virtually anything to procure even as it kills us, and others, here and abroad. This profound political immaturity is a difficult problem to wrestle when assignations of culpability would rightfully invite us to distinguish between unavoidable ignorance (a socio-cultural, political & institutional failure) from willful ignorance (the means to know that ‘trickle -down economics has never worked while evangelizing it’s wholesale adoption for example).

Furthermore, this self-asserting and self-privileging exceptionalism has been hallmark and bulwark of white racialization within the US. The delivery of “just” rewards, economic security, accruing assets, or even bodily safety, have never been equally available, delivered, protected or even dreamable in communities of color. This is phenomenally important when addressing the sense of betrayal whites are now expressing with extreme rabidity and indifference to civility. In communities of color, specifically Black America and Native Peoples, this betrayal has always been — with few whites ever bothering to address it as the national failure and disgrace it has always been. ‘White tears’ encompasses the perceived and often palpable audacity of whites to ‘suddenly’ feel, care, experience or notice the systemic and systematic failures and negligence of unrestrained economic interests when there were always people here in this country for whom these dreams, aspirations and achievements were rarely those of your grandfather and almost solely those of your father independent to their personal efforts.

I applaud what you have captured here and in no way mean to detract from its truth-bearing integrity. There are, as I said, chapters that must be added if and as we try to imagine and build a means of recovery — not just economic, political and governmental but social, cultural and ideological.