Thursday, December 15, 2016

"No one knows how it started"

I wake up this morning, and I make the mistake of reading this:

It’s true, as Matt Yglesias said, that even if the individual voters in Kliff’s piece had voted for Hillary Clinton, the Democrat still would not have been competitive in Kentucky. But well before Trump appeared on the scene, Kentucky voters had spent the entire Obama administration overwhelmingly voting to send the ACA’s sworn enemies to Congress to kill it, even as they themselves were benefiting from the law. It apparently never occurred to them that they might be seeding the ground for repeal. As long as they stuck it to the big-government coastal elites of the Democratic Party, not much else mattered.

It is hard to recall a more obvious case of voters prizing tribal identity over rational, transactional policy priorities. It has left some on the left angry and frustrated and others furious at that anger and frustration. What it has not done is present any coherent strategy to counter voting behavior that seems irrational. With the level of partisan polarization this country is experiencing, to accompany a real weakening of democratic institutions in the Age of Trump, it is hard to imagine any. That’s the ultimate frustration, and we will be living with it for the foreseeable future.

Which prompted the usual intelligent comments, like this, by someone posting as "Brooklyn Native":

And the bumpkins in flyover country wonder why us coastal folks don't respect them.

I dunno; maybe the new Phil Ochs needs to write a song about people in Kentucky:

In the heat of the summer,
When the pavements were burning.
The soul of a city was ravaged in the night,
After the city sun was sinkin'.

Now no one knows how it started;
Why the windows were shattered,
But deep in the dark, someone set the spark,
And then it no longer mattered.

Down the streets they were rumbling.
All the tempers were raging.
Oh, where, oh, where are the white silver tongues,
Who forgot to listen to the warnings?

On and on came the angry.
No longer following reason.
And all the stores were the target now.
Where just the other day they were buyin'.

Drunk with the memory of the ghetto.
Drunk with the lure of the looting.
And the memory of the uniforms shoving with their sticks,
Asking, "are you looking for trouble? "

"No, no, no," moaned the mayor.
"It's not the way of the order.
Oh stay in your homes, please leave us alone
We'll be glad to talk in the morning."

"For shame, for shame," wrote the papers.
"Why the hurry to your hunger?
Now the rubble's resting on your broken streets.
So see what your rage has unraveled."

Baricades sadly were risin',
Bricks were heavily flyin',
And the loudspeaker drowned like a whisperin' sound,
When compared to the angered emotions.

And when the fury was over,
And the shame was replacing the anger.
So wrong, so wrong, but we've been down too long,
And we had to make somebody listen.

Which brings me back to my thesis that white non-Trump voters now get to find out how blacks and, yes, marginalized whites, have felt for several generations now (never forget the power of racism in the South was held by a minority of wealthy whites who told the poor whites their real enemy was the poor blacks.  When you can't punch up, you punch laterally or down.  I'm almost bemused by the people finding out the world is not their oyster, either.  Or I would be, if not for the ugliness this revelation is revealing.).

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