Chris Hedges, one of our most important contemporary writers, has just published “We Are All Deplorables,” a perceptive essay that articulates the reasons why the white working underclass rallied behind the candidacy of Donald.
What it misses is the vast pool of white American voters — especially women — who are not particularly distraught economically but yet angrily and even vengefully supported the new Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief. They remind me of a mini-episode I witnessed on a local road not long ago. A nicely-coifed, meticulously-garbed, blue-haired lady of some means was driving her Cadillac sedan ever so slowly in a no-passing zone. The frustrated male driving behind her, obviously in something of a hurry, honked and flashed his headlights trying to urge her to get a move on. She blissfully ignored him. When at last there was an opportunity to pass, he glared at her as he roared by. She rolled down her window and gave him the finger.
A woman who runs a prosperous family business — inherited from her parents — smugly but coyly made it clear to me just before the election that she would be voting for Donald. “I’ve been around shop workers all my life,” she said. “I hear worse things (than what Donald said about women) in the shop every day.” A virtual finger.
As for the prosperous physician who supported the Pussy Grabber in a mood of anyone-but-Hillary, I can understand that Obamacare was at the heart of his decision. Obama himself publicly acknowledged that a single-payer system would have been the best way to fix our terrible health care system, but before even putting a proposal on the table he sold out to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, and to the Republicans in congress. Only the 22 million Americans who had been without health insurance but now possess it could possibly be happy with Obamacare. But my physician friend and others who think the Pussy-Grabber will make health care better by destroying Obamacare will be sadly disappointed.
I’m certain there is a deep-seated seam of racism inside many of the well-off whites who voted for Donald. These are people who kept their feelings in the closet in the years after the Civil Rights Act was passed. Now here was a candidate for the highest office in the land saying the same things they had been ashamed to say for all these years. Suddenly the Pussy-Grabber made it OK to hate and resent the progress of brown, black, red and yellow people and to say so publicly.
While racism played its part on the election of Donald, it alone can’t explain the phenomenon. Rather, what happened was the coming together of many streams of discontent with the System, the Status Quo. Certainly the fact that our first Black President failed to make things materially better, and actually continued some of the worst policies of his predecessor, fed another stream of protest. The Hedges essay superbly documents how important was the economic desperation of a white underclass. The false patriotism of flag-worshipping, war-hungry, kick-‘em-in-the-ass American Rambos played its part. Democrats will be blame-gaming these and other factors for a long time to come.
But my metaphor for this election is the blue-haired white lady in the Cadillac, smugly giving everyone the bird.