Saturday, October 05, 2019

Mr. Flyover Guy

You may have seen the post David Brooks wrote, a purported dialogue between "Urban Man" and "Flyover Man." For those of us who actually live in what Brooks considers flyover country, the middle of the country, and for those of us who know white men who support Trump, reading this editorial was an odd experience.

In this lazy piece of writing, Brooks selects one parodic talking point after the next: Democrats want open borders; Trump supporters are hard men who work with their hands while East Coast Liberals are Softies who sit in offices all day; Democrats are Radicals;Trump supporters are just worried about making a living and protecting their Way of Life.

It is clear, from reading this editorial, that Brooks didn't bother to speak to someone from the "Flyover Country" he pretends to have such sympathy with.

But fortunately, in this article, "In the Land of Self-Defeat," we have someone writing about "flyover country" who not only does speak to actual people from the middle of the country, but who is from these parts. Monica Potts is from Arkansas, about 150 west of where I live. I don't know her, but the struggle she talks about, to get more money for the local library, is one we recently went through here in the Fort. (We lost, for the exact reasons she and her town lost.)

...many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out, and to retreat from community life and concentrate on taking care of themselves and their own families. It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.

This is an article you should read if you want to understand Trump voters: their determined ignorance, their short-sightedness, their xenophobia, their meanness (in both senses of the word). This is what motivates them. The key line is the one where the woman says they don't need a librarian with a four-year degree, because how hard is it to learn the Dewey Decimal system?

When we were trying to get a quarter-cent increase on property taxes here in Fort Smith so that we could get more funding for the library, the talking point our MAGA Americans put about was why did the library need more funding? The shelves were already full of books.

When we first moved here, I wondered why none of the streets had sidewalks. I wondered why the local parks were so terrible. They've only gotten worse. And recently, of course, the local animal shelter has shut down for lack of funding. Stray animals wander around, sick and starving. Liberals start GoFundMe campaigns to rescue sick kittens, while MAGA Americans rage about how terrible it is that "those people" dump their animals by the highway.

And my students work 30 hours a week while taking care of their little brothers and sisters, or their kids, and carrying a full-time load. But don't worry! If MAGA Americans have their way, soon these students won't be getting a university degree at all. They'll all be working service jobs, for minimum wage, with no health care, and being mocked for living in their parents' basements.

Read the article. See the real MAGA American. See the USA the GOP wants us to live in.

1 comment:

delagar said...

If we lose in 2020 -- and we well might -- it will be because people like Tim and Ms. Hamilton in this story have done their level best to make certain that American citizens have stayed as provincial and as mean-spirited as they are.

They have done everything they can to limit this country and the chances of its citizens, all in the name of saving a nickel in taxes.