The Angry Stupid Fat Ugly Racist White Folk Revolt
11/6/2016 – Philadelphia, PA, USA
Donald Trump is the next President of the United States of America. Process that insane fact for a few moments, roll it around in your brain, and accept the horrifying reality it represents for our future in the USA. The Age of Enlightenment died in the USA last night as the election results clearly showed Trump convinced nearly 60 million of his fellow citizens to cast their vote for him. Meanwhile the national media—even the rabidly right-wing partisan hacks at FOX News—were stunned by this massive upset. Few within the TV and print news elite saw this coming.
I’ve been convinced for decades that working-class white Americans are largely suicidal and thus don’t really comprehend their ghastly tendency to continually vote against their self interest. The health stats prove out this “I don’t give a fuck any more” nihilism: they die younger from preventable maladies like heart disease, cancer from smoking, obesity, alcohol and/or drug overdose, diabetes, etc; indeed, the life expectancy for the working class has dropped precipitously in recent decades. Moreover this economic class is rife with divorce, broken homes, alcoholism, poor eating habits, drug abuse, child abuse, illegitimacy, and rapidly diminishing incomes and net worth. All this suicidal living explains their obsessive, reckless, knee-bending obsequiousness to their own doom as an economic class and ethnic group; it’s, as I say, nihilism.
And why not? They are the remaining rats on the sinking ship of what was once a powerful industrial economy that was long ago shipped overseas to countries that don’t give two shits about fair wages, environmental protection, or worker safety. How could a good, caring, benevolent democracy ever compete with authoritarian nations that treat their people like slaves and stifles any dissent through mass arrests and summary executions? China has a couple billion highly servile slaves in its labor pool who work for shit in appalling sweatshops. Yet American companies—and much worse, American consumers—find zero moral repugnance having their products manufactured and assembled in Chinese labor camps while stripping American workers of jobs and an economic future. The only guiding ethos in the modern globalization economic system is the bottom line. Cheap prices. Extreme profit. Making shareholders and company executives richer and more powerful than Julius Caesar. The rest, bah! Fuck the working American men and women.
And there stands the idiot working-class American in some Rust Belt shithole or other, the crippled and bloodied casualty of globalization economics, angry about his or her misfortune, and yet acting on this anger by voting against his or her best interests. Voting for Trump isn’t what makes these simple folks insane. No, it’s voting for Trump and expecting him to change their miserable lot in life that makes them deluded and wacko.
Sadly, one cannot have a rational conversation with these dopes. Any attempt to inform them of their folly only further feeds their resentment of, and contempt for, the “educated coastal urban elites.” People like me. Guilty as charged.
I ran away from the Rust Belt town where I grew up as fast as I possibly could, and have lived for 21 years in one of the largest—and certainly most unrepentantly liberal—urban centers in the country. When I return to visit my hometown, I feel awkwardly alien amid the left-behind denizens who are pretty much, and sadly so, diametrically opposed to all I hold dear.
I quit Facebook because I couldn’t bear the ever-growing animosity between the enlightened and unenlightened, and the fact so many friends from my past life in that Rust Belt town, people I still think of dearly and fondly, fell into the latter. C’est la vie. They are not bad people, just inadequately informed and largely beholden to their irrational beliefs and religious certainty, incapable of rational disinterest and clear objectivity when viewing fundamental truths and facts. They give in too easily to specious ideas promoted by religious and political propagandists, glaring sophistry that appeals to their insecurities and prejudices, the facts be damned. I have found it impossible to convince them otherwise, even members of my own family, despite the fact I have always been the one person who exemplified the primacy of logic, reason, scientific method, and rational inquiry. I may say things that are uncomfortable and impolite, but rarely am I wrong.
What I cannot provide are the easy answers and false certainty that appeal to emotional and prejudicial feelings. Sorry, no can do. My intellect was built upon much more exacting principles than my own ignorant ego and inability to accept facts contrary to my emotions and fears. I hate to be proven wrong when the facts clearly indicate I am, but I accept this as a part of my intellectual growth that will not end until the day I die. I have literally thrown books I have been reading against the wall when they challenge my beliefs and convince me how wrong I have been. And yet I pick up those books and finish them, and in the end I change because my belief system is not perfect or finite, and absolute certainty in any idea or belief system is a fool’s folly.
To be truly enlightened, and yet allow doubt to linger and foster intellectual change, can feel like a lonely existence. I don’t say this arrogantly, I say it sadly. When I see a Trump rally peopled with so many simple-minded, obtuse, and largely unenlightened folks, I feel sad that these people have chosen this fat, bloviating, raging moronic douchebag as their hero. It’s sad. And he won.
The USA will survive this debacle. But only barely, and it will be costly to our national health and welfare, mostly damaging to the working-class yahoos who voted for Trump. Trumpism will not end well, folks, and in four years Democrats will once again be tasked with the cleanup and healing processes just as we did after the utterly disastrous Bush years.
But I simply ask this, with all due humility: What the fuck, America? Why Trump, of all people? Are you fucking crazy?