Saturday, November 12, 2016

It's Rarely One Thing

Back during the peak of our Great and Grand Glorious Adventure in Iraq, when freeance and peeance was always just an F.U. away, I used to regularly ask the question, "Why Are We In Iraq?" It was a mostly rhetorical question, meant to highlight the shifting and ever more absurd rationales, and the fact that nobody actually seemed to know*, but I'd often get a response along the lines of "It's all about the oil, stupid!!!!" or a slightly more complicated but similar explanation. And, yah, ok, sure it was about the oil or related perceived (if not actual) economic interests in some sense at least, but it wasn't the only reason. My broader point was that nobody knew because there wasn't a single reason, or even set of noncontradictory reasons, that made any sense.

Yes Trump won because of racism. Much of his support came from actual hard core white nationalist racists, people who think The Real Racism is that Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm, and people who just don't give a crap about racism and wish everyone would just shut up about it (who are also racists in their own way). Pointing out that there are other reasons people don't necessarily embrace the Democratic party and its presidential candidate (fairly or not!) is not being blind to this racism or suggesting that the Democrats should get a bit more racist themselves to get these voters, any more than I thought calls in previous elections for Democrats to get a bit more Jesus-y or pretend to listen to country music more would get those voters.

There's across the board economic injustice in this country. People who think the blahs are taking all the secret welfare and getting all the good government jobs are idiots and likely racists. The poors, and poor minorities, of course have it worse than "merely" lower to middle middle class whites. But as people have been pointing out for decades, the middle class ain't so middle class anymore, if you define middle class as an existence in which buying a house, raising 2 kids and sending them off to state university, and not living in existential dread that you're a couple of paychecks away from it all falling apart while living fairly modestly, is the "norm."

It's cool to say these people often vote against their economic self-interests. Also probably often true. And I don't think there's any magic way to cure racism or to turn all of these people into Democrats. Some people are tribal Republicans and would have voted for Donald Trump even if a video of him raping a child surfaced. Personal prosperity doesn't remove racism. Many of our elites, captains of industry, and our "billionaire" next president are horribly racist.

But if the Dem pitch is "vote for us, we'll make your lives better" then they'd better get a bit more serious about making lives better.

*As much as we mock this, Tommy Friedman was probably closest to being right.