Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Important post in DailyKos: “Why are people surprised when a dysfunctional community votes against their self-interests?”

leave a comment »

bkamr posts at DailyKos:

I’m posting a comment I made in a diary, because: 1) I haven’t seen anyone offering an explanation for why Trump voters voted against their self-interests; 2) I haven’t seen anyone suggesting that Progressives might respond like we successfully responded in the past; and 3) a number of folks suggested I put the comment up as an independent diary to invite discussion.

Trump supporters voting against their own self-interest doesn’t surprise me one bit, but then, I live with, work with, and try to help Trump supporters on a daily basis.

I’m a teacher in KY.  And as such, I’ve been working on the front lines with this sub-culture for over a decade. Teachers are some of the government workers that members of this subculture allow “in,” and so, I’m welcomed onto porches and into kitchens to visit and to help. I not only bring their children’s school assignments when the kids go missing from school for weeks at a time, I also bring food and medicine. I bring clothes and Christmas hams and turkeys and art supplies (there’s a surprising number of artists!) and I’ve even found musical instruments. I bring a lot of dog food. I assist with filling out forms.  Sometimes, in response to a desperate email from one of my students, in the middle of the night, I’m a taxi service to the ER or to Grandma’s after he’s beat the shit out of her (again). I plead with children and adults to believe in themselves and get into welding and LPN programs. I help fill out Financial Aid forms.  Increasingly, I attend and and hold and rock my bereft students and their family members at funerals. (9 of my current 71 students have lost a parent to heroin)  Teachers, here in KY, are afforded access and given trust, and so, while I thought I was signing up to teach science and history, it’s turned out to be a hell of a lot more.  I’ve gotten to know the good, bad, and the ugly of it over the years.

What I don’t think I’ve seen anyone addressing is the self-hatred so many Trump supporters feel towards themselves.  Why is anyone surprised that people filled with self-hatred could and did vote against their self-interest?

Voting in their self-interest would be a rational, healthy choice, but the people I live with and try to help are members of a profoundly dysfunctional sub-culture.

Why would anyone expect a child who comes from a family generationally riddled with:

  • addiction (both drug and alcohol based)
  • poverty
  • domestic violence
  • parental loss and abandonment (the number of kids being raised by Grandma is epidemic due to drugs, death and one or both parents “being away for awhile,” in jail)
  • spotty and interrupted educational experiences
  • unstable housing scenarios
  • few economically successful role models
  • pseudo male machoness, but Grandma is actually the Rock most families rest upon
  • quasi-criminal-syndicate-anti-gubment tribal orientation — moonshine was but one of the many illegal family “businesses.” Now, it’s drugs, copper theft, and even dog theft.

Why do we expect people growing up in this kind of environment would somehow become emotionally and psychologically healthy, rational, critically thinking, outside news trusting voters?

I perceive their Trump votes like the pained, hurting, angry wail and flailing tantrum of a confused and hurting child desperately throwing their arms in every direction. Their clinched fists are hitting others, yes, but they’re also bruising and bloodying themselves at the same time. And, here’s the thing:  they expect to be shafted, because they always have going back to when the British took their lands and moved them up into the rocky highlands. Yes, it does go back that far and it played out here, too. And, even now, too often “home” is a trailer precariously perched on the side of a hill in a holler.

If we want to “respond,” with a response designed to actually DO something, then I suggest we consider going back to the Hull Houses of our Progressive roots for a start. It’s not like we haven’t been there done that before.

If we want to really help and change what’s happened and happening in so many communities, then I suggest we stop spending millions on political ads going to NYC ad firms and take a community action approach.

We could take all that ad money we’ve been sending to the DCCC and give it to our passionate “Bernie Movement” youth to establish Hull Houses to help heal the communities broken by the plutocracy, and the people themselves.

I dream of us putting our Progressive values to work by rolling up our sleeves and being of service instead of continuing our donating hundreds of millions to the DNC coffers,  We could investing all that money and energy in both rural and urban communities and responding to the real needs in those communities. THAT’s  the direction I’d like to see the “Bernie Movement” take.

I look at the map of how Hull House grew and the services it offered, and I dream of what we could, we might do, to help heal our hurting nation.

In the meantime, my son and I are making a run down to one of those hollers, today. There’s a number of families who are probably short on food with the kids not getting their Free and Reduced breakfasts and lunches over the Winter Break.  And, I’ve heard that one family’s toilet is broken. We have an extra kit in the basement that we didn’t have to use, so I’ll take it along in case it might do the trick …

UPDATE:  Wow. Rec List? Thank you for the interest, folks. I appreciate the discussion and interest. I’m glad a number of you found this helpful.

UPDATE 2:  I’m moving a comment I made up here.  It’s poverty people and basic, political, community action 101 that I’m talking about.

Sigh.

Here’s the issue for me. Too often, it’s just me, with teachers in my school, and the kids’ Service Club we’ve created as the only non-faith-based group helping these people.  THINK about that.  A handful of teachers and some kids using money we really can’t afford to take our of our own pockets?  [And, I don’t want to hear that I’m a saint. I’m not. How many of you could specifically know where there was a hungry child and not do whatever was needed to feed them?]

But, I’m in my late 50’s. I’m disabled, in a wheelchair, with chronic pain. The only money I have is coming from my pay check and the donations in kind I can scrape up using my FB Friends.

(Oh, and my son and I also make runs into downtown Cincinnati to take the Care Bags we put together for the unsheltered homeless every few weeks. THAT’s where people end up when they’ve exhausted their welcome on friends and family’s couches. They need water, blankets, coats, gloves, hand warmers, granola bars, bandaids, aspirin, SOCKS, and more water.) I’ve got a real problem sleeping at night know exactly where people are trying to sleep under underpasses in 22 degree weather.

Where the hell IS the Progressive “Movement?”  Why do people in KY and other rural areas turn to and are influenced by faith based, religious groups?  They are the only groups I see trying to help!  The. Only. Ones. So, we’re surprised when they are significantly influenced by the teachings of these religious groups?  Where is the non-faith-based group [us] on the ground trying to do stuff?  Oh sure, there are government programs, but exactly how do you get to those government offices when they are located at the County Seat, well over an hour away, there’s no mass transit, and you don’t have a fucking car!  You have to wait until Uncle Ted is going to the grocery store as it is.  You can’t ask him to give up an entire day, one day a month, to take you to sit in an office … where you get treated like crap BTW.  (The hill people often get treated like the “trash” they are called often to their faces when they venture outside their community. How often would you go out if all you got were dismissive looks, snickers, and sometimes called trash? “Hillbilly White Trash”  THINK about what that does to a poeple’s self-worth, their trust in anyone outside their subculture …

^^^ Access to services and Access to Non-GO groups providing assistance.  This is one of the KEY differences between rural poverty and urban poverty.

My family had local level politicians in our family back in Philly.  I grew up knowing you had to be out there, directly, getting stuff done for your constituency, if you wanted to get elected.  I repeat: You had to be there, being seen, getting things done — personally.  I’ve lived in a state where the Democrats actually control the state House (and had the governorship until just last year), and I have yet to meet or see ONCE the D-Rep from our area.  The R-State Senator is everywhere all the time!  But, our Democratic politicians? How many times have I seen them organize a community toy drive or dentist visit or information meet-ups regarding Obamacare or Black Lung?  Never.

I dream of us putting our Progressive values to work by rolling up our sleeves and being of service instead of continuing our donating hundreds of millions to the DNC coffers,  We could investing all that money and energy in both rural and urban communities and responding to the real needs in those communities. THAT’s  the direction I’d like to see the “Bernie Movement” take.

I look at the map of how Hull House grew and the services it offered, and I dream of what we could, we might do, to help heal our hurting nation.

In the meantime, my son and I are making a run down to one of those hollers, today. There’s a number of families who are probably short on food with the kids not getting their Free and Reduced breakfasts and lunches over the Winter Break.  And, I’ve heard that one family’s toilet is broken. We have an extra kit in the basement that we didn’t have to use, so I’ll take it along in case it might do the trick …

UPDATE:  Wow. Rec List? Thank you for the interest, folks. I appreciate the discussion and interest. I’m glad a number of you found this helpful.

UPDATE 2:  I’m moving a comment I made up here.  It’s poverty people and basic, political, community action 101 that I’m talking about.

Sigh.

Here’s the issue for me. Too often, it’s just me, with teachers in my school, and the kids’ Service Club we’ve created as the only non-faith-based group helping these people.  THINK about that.  A handful of teachers and some kids using money we really can’t afford to take our of our own pockets?  [And, I don’t want to hear that I’m a saint. I’m not. How many of you could specifically know where there was a hungry child and not do whatever was needed to feed them?]

But, I’m in my late 50’s. I’m disabled, in a wheelchair, with chronic pain. The only money I have is coming from my pay check and the donations in kind I can scrape up using my FB Friends.

(Oh, and my son and I also make runs into downtown Cincinnati to take the Care Bags we put together for the unsheltered homeless every few weeks. THAT’s where people end up when they’ve exhausted their welcome on friends and family’s couches. They need water, blankets, coats, gloves, hand warmers, granola bars, bandaids, aspirin, SOCKS, and more water.) I’ve got a real problem sleeping at night know exactly where people are trying to sleep under underpasses in 22 degree weather.

Where the hell IS the Progressive “Movement?”  Why do people in KY and other rural areas turn to and are influenced by faith based, religious groups?  They are the only groups I see trying to help!  The. Only. Ones. So, we’re surprised when they are significantly influenced by the teachings of these religious groups?  Where is the non-faith-based group [us] on the ground trying to do stuff?  Oh sure, there are government programs, but exactly how do you get to those government offices when they are located at the County Seat, well over an hour away, there’s no mass transit, and you don’t have a fucking car!  You have to wait until Uncle Ted is going to the grocery store as it is.  You can’t ask him to give up an entire day, one day a month, to take you to sit in an office … where you get treated like crap BTW.  (The hill people often get treated like the “trash” they are called often to their faces when they venture outside their community. How often would you go out if all you got were dismissive looks, snickers, and sometimes called trash? “Hillbilly White Trash”  THINK about what that does to a poeple’s self-worth, their trust in anyone outside their subculture …

^^^ Access to services and Access to Non-GO groups providing assistance.  This is one of the KEY differences between rural poverty and urban poverty.

My family had local level politicians in our family back in Philly.  I grew up knowing you had to be out there, directly, getting stuff done for your constituency, if you wanted to get elected.  I repeat: You had to be there, being seen, getting things done — personally.  I’ve lived in a state where the Democrats actually control the state House (and had the governorship until just last year), and I have yet to meet or see ONCE the D-Rep from our area.  The R-State Senator is everywhere all the time!  But, our Democratic politicians? How many times have I seen them organize a community toy drive or dentist visit or information meet-ups regarding Obamacare or Black Lung?  Never. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 January 2017 at 6:36 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s