Thursday, April 28, 2016

Americans are afraid of the poor

And this is why (courtesy of Southern Beale):

In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.
I have found the people most concerned with their status are usually concerned with the status of the people closest to them on the socio-economic ladder.

They don't want it to rub off.  That and fear of failure, which is a powerful fear indeed.  Especially in America, where it can ruin you.

And it isn't just that poor people don't vote, but that they don't always vote the way you would want them to.  We would do well to mind the admonition of Dorothy Day:

I keep reminding the young people who come to work with us that they are not naturalized citizens...They are not really poor. We are always foreigners to the poor. So we have to make up for it by "renouncing all compensations..."

We are sure they would think as we would have them think, and that they would be wrong not to.  Judgment is the first compensation we allow ourselves, and the first we should renounce.

1 comment:

  1. I think there is cowardice involved, its always easier to go after the weaker than the stronger.

    But I think that and the rest of it is a product of the media, radio and TV and movies are the real school that forms the intellectual content and the real church of most Americans. And entertainment media is the strongest influence in that because most people don't even watch or listen to the news. The America we have is the America produced by the producers of programs and movies and they aren't, by and large, poor or middle class, they're rich producing stuff that reflects their interests. They inform the Republican electorate and discourage the poor from participating. They present poor people mostly as sub-humans who have no right to aspire or any reason to even try to understand and improve their condition. Poor people watch the same stuff as the Republicans and it certainly provides them with a disincentive to try.

    The media are also responsible for the irrational blaming of everything on the schools and the churches when they are the biggest reason those so often fail. Media has replaced schools and churches in the lives of a huge number of Americans.

    I think that the current attitude of many women to other women and themselves is similarly the product of the presentation of the media. The media killed the second wave of feminism as the 1970s wore on. I think we'll see a lot of it between now and November.