A slice of Pat’s world view

It’s illustrative of his persona that Trump stated he would be phenomenal TO women, not FOR women, the usual preposition in that construction. I am assuming then that he is talking about his sexual prowess rather than what policies favoring women he would pursue as president. I do not think that choice was accidental; it goes directly to the core of his appeal to about one third of the country. Remember, he appeals to a lot of people, not just right wingers.
The other night, I was explaining Populism to my grandson. Most of the time, I refer to the Republican base as reactionary or right wing, but it fits beautifully in my opinion with the Populist tradition in American political lore and also the “paranoid style in American politics” (title of an influential essay and book by Richard hofstadter – a Wikipedia article has this quote about the essay which was written to explain the rise of Goldwater, the John Birch Society, etc.: “Laura Miller writes in Salon.com that “’The Paranoid Style in American Politics’ reads like a playbook for the career of Glenn Beck, right down to the paranoid’s ’quality of pedantry’ and ’heroic strivings for ’evidence’…”
Watching the crowds who favor Trump makes me think of my personal experiences with the Right here in Maricopa County (Phoenix) AZ. For those who don’t know about it, the John Birch Society, still extant, was so conservative Wm. F. Buckley kicked them out of his Conservative movement. My employers at Gautier Bookstore were members and we had a large display of books by people like Dan Smoot and Cleon Skousen, the Glen Becks of the day. The leadership of the Right came into the store, but b/c my employers were Europeans, they saw nothing wrong with letting their clerk argue with the customers, a stunning display of European culture. I took advantage.
On through the years in AZ, I watched the Far Right grow larger and crazier, although their themes of subjugation of women (eagerly participated in by women), disgust with minorities of color (this long before the mass in-migration from Mexico), running the country’s finances on the same principles as a family budget, teaching children religion and patriotism in public schools, reducing money for scientific research that did not support biblical interpretations, and so on all seemed to flow back to Populism: all problems have simple, folksy solutions, Americans know everything and can do anything, no one else in the world is worth a second look, anyone offering complex views on issues is a charlatan, and great ambivalence in attitude toward the wealthy and powerful they are admirable on the one hand and suspect on the other.
The image of Donald Trump overlays that of John Wayne, just as Barry Goldwater’s did. A photo of Goldwater on horseback carrying a Winchester rifle adorns my book on him by Rick Perlstein and Gary Wills wrote John Wayne’s America (Perlstein’s was Before the Storm). I remember Goldwater as a man who was very kind to my brother-in-law, a poor, Black, street person suffering from schizophrenia. Goldwater, when Bobby Joe knocked on his door, invited him in instead of turning him away and had several chats with him over time. We must go back to the slogan, Ideas have consequences. Trump may not be an all-around bad person, or maybe he is; what is important is the impact he is having. He is appealing to a quarter or so of the Republican Party and to quite a few other people. What is his appeal?
It is the pool hall rhetoric he puts out. The anger and resentment of the guys passing time down at the pool hall because they can’t find work, never finished school, and just hate their life. Those of you who did not grow up in a small town in the 40s and 50s may not know the place of the pool hall, but it was where you hoped not to find your kid hanging out.
Why is it so many older Americans, mostly White, seem to act like pool hall denizens, yelling out violent, vicious attacks on even a Fox News darling who dared take on Trump? As someone of that age (and ethnicity), I can try to give an account of how things changed from Port Clinton, Ohio in the 1950s ((recently profiled in the book Our Kids by my classmate, Robert Putnam) to big cities, where most of us live, in the early 21st century.
The book says Port Clinton had a population of 6500 in 1959(. Putnam describes the region P.C. lies in as pretty much a bellwether for the country’s politics, very middle-of-the-road. Back then, P.C. was largely White but I recall a whole part of town filled with people from the old country, ladies wrapped in black, my cousin’s wife talking Slovak to her mother on the phone, ethnic churches even in that small town lots of Polish. The other half was very WASP. My mother was considered outside the box for marrying an Italian Catholic.
Some years ago on the listserv flteach, I fought back against the Brady Bunch picket-fence depictions of U.S. life in the 50s by describing some people and events in my family, in P.C. One lovely man labeled my childhood Dickensian.
Now right there is the nub: did these people never experience divorces, suicides, alcoholism, wife and child abuse, abandonment, school drop-outs, delinquents, class prejudice, mean teachers, and so on, or did they experience them and then ignore them, put them out of their mind? Having read a good deal of sociology and psychology (and worked in the field for 20 years), my bet is on selective remembering. Even living in a protective family you can’t help but see and hear things. While I was living in P.C. Grace Metalious came out with Peyton Place, a VERY widely read novel ripping the cover off small-town life in America. She was not appreciated but I read it and found it all quite familiar. In fact, when I finish his book, I intend to write Putnam and remind him of some of the people in P.C. and see if he has an opinion. Perhaps my family, a working-class family originating in West Virginia, (nowadays called Appalachians but we referred to “them” as Hillbillies, “them” b/c my mother and aunt tried very hard to rise above those origins) had more divorce than others, but otherwise we were pretty much like everyone else of our social class. We shared a bathroom with some real hillbillies in our apartment where they didn’t raise the toilet seat when they urinated and put coal in the bathtub. My grandfather was a glassblower, my uncle a truck driver, and my mom worked as a secretary. Until I was nine, my mom and I lived in rented bedrooms where the householders cared for me while my mom worked. At age 10 we moved to AZ. And here I want to introduce an interesting idea I saw on a video put out by AT&T: the video’s thesis was that your world view is conditioned or even created by the way you saw your world at age 10. The scene from the first Karate Kid where the mom and son are pulling into California with its sunshine and palmtrees just grabbed me, it was so much like what I experienced. We arrived in Phoenix, I turned 10 that month and the next month we moved into our own brand-new house.
My mom and dad divorced when I was 6 and my dad moved to Toledo and was a hotel manager. Thinking back, it seems my interest in foreign cultures and languages was sparked by those visits b/c my dad would take me into the kitchen and introduce me to all the “foreigners” there, a real change from the small town a few miles down the RR tracks. I recall Filipinos, French, Mexican, African-American, Chinese, and so on. Recently Chris Matthews mentioned how street scenes in NY were shot for the old Alfred Hitchcock show only after all the Blacks had been removed. That was like the world I grew up in, not hostile toward non-Whites just so long as the world remained a White man’s preserve with the foreigners, the minorities, the dark people, even women in the back, in the kitchen.
When we attempt to describe that world to someone who finds it inconvenient for his narrative of American history and society, we have to search for anecdotes and quotes to illustrate the attitudes common then. Jokes and sly asides about women, about foreigners, about Blacks, about gays, and anyone who did not fit the Madison Ave version of America. The late Molly Ivins, in depicting the image of America projected in WW II movies, talked about the hero, a blond guy from Kansas, a wise-cracking buddy from New York, and some dumb, slow-talking Southerner who was the butt of all the jokes. Italian or Greek was about as exotic as they got unless you were talking about villains and extras. There were courageous movies bringing in the ethnic diversity of America, like Gentleman’s Agreement about anti-Semitic barriers and Imitation of Life about passing. Most of TV and the movies depicted an America that appeared rooted in good old Anglo-Saxon values and virtues untouched by Catholic or Black values and virtues except in relief to spice up a movie like Bells of St. Marys or jazz scenes.
In Our Kids Bob Putnam interviews two Black kids from our time in P.C. There were several in our school and they lived alongside the RR tracks, close to my aunt’s house, though I never went down that way (in fact, one reason I’d like to visit P.C. after 60 years is to walk east from my aunt’s house I understand from my cousin that it still stands to see that non-WASP part of town where the Rumanians, Slovaks, Ukrainians, and so forth lived, incl a handful of Black families). One Black boy I did get to know slightly was Billy Coleman, whose father was in the military out at the huge base west of town (EPG aka Camp Perry). Billy was entirely different from the other Black kids, who seemed to get into fights, etc. In fact, some years ago, Putnam wrote me that he had run into Billy at a book signing. Billy appears on the jacket of Putnam’s famous book, Bowling Alone, in front of my uncle’s bowling alley. So Putnam got the stories of people in various social groups. It is hard work b/c even in our church group my wife was the only Black person out of the 4 in the group to not talk up progress and a brighter future. The others would tell about difficult events they had experienced and even experienced recently, but then would quickly cover it up with happy-talk. That’s how minorities, from my many talks with them, feel they have to be around White people. How many women will frankly admit to sexual desire in front of men; among themselves they may talk about it, but they feel they have to placate men. That is what critics of society mean when they talk of the effect of hegemony on language: what you can say and how you frame it depends on your place in the society.
What changed since then? Obviously, I left, participating in the great migration into the Sun Belt. I love that scene in Karate Kid. The world I left behind was not perfect but it was relatively quiet and without marked social distinctions except those of class. One Jewish family as I recall and lots of Catholics even with their own church and school mainly Polish. So as I write this, I am laying the groundwork not for my autobiography too boring but for a picture of an America that looked homogeneous yet with veins of diversity running through it but buried down at some level. The Black/White divide was absolute. The Jewish presence was slight except in urban centers and on the coasts (excuse me if I am a bit out of my depth here; I don’t intend to research all this and these are my impressions, designed to give the reader a picture of America as I saw it and as I saw it change and how I see it now Putnam’s book compares 1959 and 2014 in P.C. and in the country as a whole. If Haley Barbour can say Yazoo City had no racial problems in the 50s, I can say damn near anything I want). In the cities we found immigrants mainly from Europe and in small towns like P.C. quite a few immigrants if there was work for them. However, except in NY or San Francisco, it was not common to run into non-White, non-WASP people and certainly not in the media. I used to tell my students who doubted the homogeneous image of America in the 50s to go look at the Life Magazines stored in the back room of our library and see if they could find a photo of a Black person besides Louis Armstrong in issues from the 50s few non-WASPs were seen, let alone featured. Even in the 60s when there were 2 telephone prefixes (276- and 258) in Phoenix due to residential segregation, both exchanges would go down when a Black person appeared on TV it was so rare that all the Black folks would call each other… “Turn to channel 3, one of us is on!”
Obviously, in the South there were lots of Black people. The North was just entering the age of the Great Migration of Blacks from the South. However, in 1956 I lived for 3 months in Dothan, AL where there was a large Black population. In that time I saw one Black person on the street. OF COURSE White people who lived there then will deny that; they don’t want to admit the terror state they lived in. One author, Ned Sublette, describes separate parking places in his small LA town. My wife recalls similar nonsense in the small Texas town she was raised in until age 6. All of this information is available but White Americans either deny it or relegate it to the past as if it has no significance or ramifications now. And therein lies the nub I spoke of: that changed.
In my not-so-humble opinion, no factor accounts for the rise of Trump and the Populism he embodies with his angry, demogogic rhetoric more than the Civil Rights Movement. I recall very well the reactions of Whites to the demands “of the Negro”. The denial of these reactions and attitudes in the face of their plain display in newsreels, newspapers, magazines, and books of the time is part of the pitiful attempt to pretend America has always been on the side of rights and progress. In fact, White people fought tooth and nail to preserve the system of separation, even in the North. Public opinion roundly disfavored advances in Black rights (White public opinion pollsters ignored Blacks) and it was only the actions of the federal government and local leaders like here in Phoenix that backed rights for African-Americans.
It is almost impossible to convey to people who were not there what it was like to suggest a Black family should be able to eat in a restaurant Whites ate in; to get the idea across, we might, if we read quickly before public opinion completely flips, invoke the image of gay kids dancing together at a school dance and demanding publicly that that be allowed to happen. Most of my readers can think back to a time where allowing same-sex dancing and dating at a school function would be unthinkable; Whites and Blacks dancing together, a Black family at church, a Black family eating in a restaurant, provoked the same shock and even horror back then.
Right now let me take up the Oh-no-that-never-happened crowd and the “There was a Black kid who dated a White girl at my school” comments. If you look hard enough, you can find someone who walked through a scorching fire unscathed. And here we are back to the person who saw nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing, the “I don’t remember any of that” crowd. All I can do is refer you, O gentle reader, to the media of the day. It’s all there. It happened. That’s why the actions of Emmett Till’s mother were so forceful: she insisted on an open-casket funeral for her child so the world could see what the forces of terror had done to him 14 years old, mutilated and murdered for nothing other than being sassy. Americans White ones may have said that was an outlier, that’s not America, but the rest of the world knew better. A good deal of the progress made in civil rights in this period came from the simple fact that the Communists were beating our brains out with pictures of violence against Blacks and Hispanics. Even recently, you heard calls from the Right for Blacks not to publicize their grievances b/c it would help our enemies.
Speaking of grievances, let’s take a look at the war of words. The very word grievance can be turned on the aggrieved. I call this the “Aw, poor baby” crowd. If someone lynches you, just pick yourself up and keep on going; if you are arrested for being Black, think about what you were doing instead of blaming the police; if you are fired for having nappy hair, get over it. The eternal cry of this crowd is “Let’s move on and stop complaining”. I’m all for that as long as Black people do not have interactions with White people and do not depend on Whites for government and law. But as long as Whites run things, Blacks will be judged by standards Whites see fit to impose, and we see the result of that in our prisons and ghettos.
The obviously huge response on the part of Blacks to civil rights legislation, catapulting (if that’s the word for a slow, arduous climb) them into positions of prominence and leadership if not outright power in the country, has elicited a strong defense on the part of Whites who want to be post-racial. Now that we see Blacks in positions of authority and power in their respective areas, suddenly we need not talk about Blacks anymore they‘re just like everybody else now. Quick, quick, don’t look you might see something disturbing. All those Blacks in prison? Why, they must have done something wrong. There are many fewer Whites proportionately? Well, I guess Whites just don’t commit crimes the way Blacks do. No, let’s not fund any studies that might reveal that is not true that just stirs up divisiveness.
Which then leads to the state of affairs Trump is addressing in his style. Compare the image I portray here of the U.S. of 60 + years ago to what we see now. The outrage, expressed by Trump, over what has come to be called political correctness (another P.C.) reflects the undeniable shift in power in this society. No longer can an employee ostracize another based on his race simply by referring to “the nigger” or “the Black guy” or “the Mexican” without bringing down on himself opprobrium. That’s what is called p.c. You can’t tell Spic jokes or Jew jokes anymore, let alone Nigger jokes. What the hell happened?
So let’s look at who voted for Obama and who didn’t. There is no doubt old White guys had a real problem with Obama. They would have you believe it is their considered and well-informed objections to his economic policies.[**See below for quotes on the Obama economy] Those of us who watched them on TV after Obama’s inauguration know differently. Why is the hysterical hatred of Obama strongest in the South among White people? Why is this hatred of Obama strongest among old people of a certain color and among White people of a certain age? So now here’s another group I have to deal with: “Oh no, it’s not his color, it’s his anti-American policies. There you go, playing the race card.” This crowd cannot name anything Obama has done or not done that would make any sense as a criticism: they decry his economic policies in the face of economic salvation from Bush and steady growth on every measure see Forbes Magazine article below; they decry his foreign policy even as he gets us out of wars and shores up our alliances and concludes a treaty with Iran everyone who knows ANYTHING about nuclear weaponry proliferation and military action approves of; in energy he has increased domestic oil production to its highest levels and kept gas prices low; he has deported more illegals than anyone else (???); he has used fewer executive orders than other presidents; and still he is vilified by the Right.
Obama has disappointed many on the Left; his education policies are horrible. Here’s what Bill Moyers says is the problem:
“Student poverty is the dominant reality in schools in three of the biggest states California, Texas and Florida—and nearly the majority in New York, Michigan and Illinois. The 21st century has sharply increased the proportion of parents who are unemployed, whose jobs do not pay enough to provide basic food, shelter, clothing and health care for their children, and/or whose immigrant status limit their capacity to navigate the education system and restrict them to a shadow economy”.
Now if you think charter schools are the answer you need to look at AZ, the capital of charters. A recent report by a retired principal pointed out to the governor’s committee what a big charter (Leona Group) spends 3 times the amount on administrative costs that public schools do but are immune from state oversight while if a public school had numbers like that, they would be investigated and heads would roll. Charters proclaim they are educated poor children but they quickly expel those who do not score high on tests b/c charters run on the business model: if you have employees who aren’t producing, you fire them. Charters fire children. It’s as simple as that and anyone, incl. Obama, who continues to defend the charter movement (some charter schools do a good job) is to my mind just a shill for the movement to privatize education. Obama will have to work hard to live that down.
Wondering what happened to this country and more specifically, to the GOP, I came across this in a book I pulled off the shelf in desperation:
Wallace’s anti-integration campaign reveal a huge number of White Southern votes initially Democratic but now open to Republican efforts due to reaction to civil rights for Blacks. Once tapped, a deeper pool in the form of evangelical Christians, by no means all racists, was opened. This demographic had gone underground i.e. withdrawn from politics, after the 1925 Scopes trial.
These facts come out of a book titled Right Wing Populism in America by Berlet and Lyons and theyconfirm what I have been saying for some time now. This knowledge has been floating around forever. Even Melman (?), the Republican Party Chairman, apologized for the so-called Southern Strategy to rip off angry White Southern racist voters, a significant element of the Democratic Party in the South. I had heard someone mention the withdrawal of evangelicals after the Scopes trial but do not remember who said it. Now, what did the GOP do with these disaffected people? Instead of inviting them into the Party and gradually working them into the fabric of Republican values (once more: pro-business, strong defense, small government, low taxes), they got greedy for their votes and looked for ways to haul in even more. They tied together the skepticism and fear toward Blacks with the religious dimension and discovered “family values” and the “values voter” was created. This turn, though long in the baking, has really become prominent only recently. The nineties saw its growth but it exploded after Obama’s election. The long build-up of social conservatism beginning with the upset over women’s liberation and the Equal Rights Amendment which threatened the protected status of the housewife figure and the core assault on the status of White women as Black men began having more and more access to them fed into the abortion issue and contraception-on-demand to blow up the sexual anxieties of people who had been taught not to talk about that. That is how I saw it and do see it. This element of sexual repression is, for me, an essential part of the brew of right wing politics. The role of race in this is huge and much has been written about it. Short of a device to delve into the minds of these right wing values voters, there is nothing we can prove in this realm, but those of us who grew up in so-called “middle America” recognize what we were raised with. In a similar vein, during Obama’s first presidential campaign the so-called ‘dog whistle’ politics were looming big time and it was being discussed on a CNN panel where David Gergen exploded amid the demurring and declaimed, “Listen, I’m a White Southerner and I know exactly what they mean!” Gergen may be a Republican but he’s an honest man.
By no means do I deny the effect of the Cold War, economic downturns, the erosion of jobs and with that the decline of the middle class and the unions, the hollowing out of the cities, the massive immigration from Mexico and elsewhere, the loosening of the ties that bind in the 60s cultural revolution, and the drug invasion. What I do want to emphasize is the anxiety aroused in people by these massive social changes and the principle role of race in all of it. As an exercise, look at those factors I just listed, by no means all I could have, and look for the racial element in each. If I had listed declining education (I didn’t b/c it has not declined), I would have to start with Brown v. Board of Education, 1954. Anyone who has not seen the newsreels from that period cannot understand why it is easy for me to take the perilous step of introducing the notion of sexual anxiety around race: just look at the hate-twisted faces: that wasn’t about Blacks introducing declining test scores.
Concerning Hillary’s comment that changing hearts isn’t what this is about came home to me just now b/c I went downstairs to check on an Oprah show my wife had recorded a while back where Oprah reviews some of her better shows and one was on civil rights. There was Congressman John Lewis, severely beaten on Edmund Pettus Bridge marching with KIng, sitting with another old man, a White man who had been part of the racist crowd that day, and they were holding hands and talking about what was in their hearts. It was too tough for me to watch, a beautiful scene. But how can we bring about changes without putting each and every person through therapy or a religious experience? When a judge sentences a young Black man to juvenile lockup for two years and a young White man committing the same crime to a diversion program, the judge may be engaged in a racist act but not in his heart; the White boy comes with a lawyer and a plan for a diversion program while the Black boy, whose parents do not know how to negotiate the justice system and have no money, comes in with the belief and hope that if he is polite and shows the judge respect, the judge will understand he is basically a good person. Bu the judge has no choice: no rehab plan? Mandatory jail time.
That’s what the BLM activist was wanting Hillary to apologize for, which I thought silly, no matter how satisfying it might be. If anyone in this political theater can make things happen in the criminal justice system, it is Hillary Clinton. Watching her and Bill in crowds of Blacks, it is clear they are comfortable and can reach out. They can sit with a Black family and, as Bill says, “feel their pain.” It doesn’t matter that they are conniving, power-hungry politicians, who else runs for president?
Which brings me back to Trump.
These are major forces in our society and Trump is picking up a somewhat different slice but a slice that pretty much contains these people or a lot of them. Looked at from the pov of U.S. political history, it seems to me this is the old Populist coalition of working-class and rural Whites of the evangelical persuasion who see the Other (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, immigrants, young people aka hippies, liberals and socialists) getting everything they want at the expense of the White working stiff who can’t catch a break. Add to that the denizens of the pool halls and general malcontents who jump up at any instance to throw mud just for the fun of it, and you’ve got the Trump coalition. I’ve heard that when you have to resort to comparisons with the Nazis, you’ve already lost your argument. Bullshit. This is the exact pattern used by dictators everywhere dumping problems onto scapegoats. I won’t cite other examples b/c most people do not know about them but everyone has seen a WW II “papers please” movie and Trump’s fantastical proposal sets us up for that. Even a truncated version of such a move would provide horrors for movie-makers for the next one hundred years. “Jose!” “What?” “Gotcha! Thought your name was Joe, Mesican bastard! On the truck with him!” Gotta have search lights roving the field, too.
Well, is this my world view? What happened to the spiritual life? How about the family? Where is our economy going? Will we all wind up speaking Spanish?
Let me try to sum up without writing another 5000 words. Having studied history, as have many people who come to different conclusions, I must say my perspective is formed in part by the fact of slavery and the ensuing terror state. More than that, though, my view of the American people is formed by the fact that few Americans can even conceive of a basic fact just mentioned: that a major portion of this country was a terror state up until the time of people currently alive: a person walking down the street could be picked up by the police, charged with vagrancy, and “sold” via court costs to local farmers as unpaid laborers. Often the family was not even notified. A person perfectly qualified under the Constitution to vote could go to register and be tuned away and fired from his job for even attempting to vote. A woman could be fired from her job for wearing her hair the way it naturally grows.
It should be obvious at this point that I am talking about Black Americans. Unfortunately, once it is noted that we are talking about Black people, interest wanes.
And it’s not just Blacks. A child could be removed from its parents just because the home had a dirt floor and no running water. A youngster could be incarcerated in a home for the mentally disabled based on test scores from an English-language test when the child spoke only Spanish. My state was under surveillance by the feds for voting rights violations because eligible voters were turned away for not speaking the language of the country they spoke a Native American language get it? NATIVE American, First Nation, it was their f***ing country until the ranchers in northern Arizona wanted their land.
And it’s not just in the bad old days. Danziger Bridge in NOLA where reporter in the precinct heard the report over the police radio, “Five of them, none of us, we’re all OK”. The 5 were members of two families, unarmed, trying to get to safety during Katrina; 2 died. When that call came through, the station house erupted in cheers. Now those officers, once convicted, are now facing freedom b/c of prosecutorial errors.
And here we reach another characteristic of my world view: I swear. I find these acts so abhorrent, so disgusting, so f***ing UN-F***INGAMERICAN that it just reduces me to slobbering and frothing at the mouth. Then, James, you say that’s being negative. Why aren’t you negative? Why don’t you condemn these acts? I don’t use the word “evil” normally because it has religious connotations, but you are religious. Does your religion condemn these acts and these people as evil? It ought to. And now the SCOTUS has determined voting rights are no longer in danger……… except from Republican legislatures who are abrogating these rights.
So, Jim, what can we do that doesn’t invoke the past? To account for the present, we must understand the past. Somehow you get that, I am sure, when it comes to explaining modern-day Japan or Russia or Algeria; just not here. It is divisive. So how to fix everything without discussing how it got that way? Easy. Go to every square foot of land in this country and fix whatever is wrong with it. A crumbling, overcrowded school? Fix it NOW. Unclean water. Fix it. Flood-prone areas? Fix them. Poorly trained police officers? Fix it. City council extracting money from helpless citizens? Fix it. Biased newspaper reporting? Fix it. Unsafe roads? Fix them. Understaffed clinics and hospitals? Fix it. Just comb every square inch of the country and fix, immediately, everything you find wrong. That way you won’t have to point out that situations like the one I described in ABC’s experiment putting a car-load full of White kids in a parking lot a 3 in the morning and a car-load full of Black kids in the same spot and getting disparate reactions from the police occur all the time that way no one will feel accused b/c the problem will be immediately FIXED. Test scores will rise, drop-out rates will shrink to nothing, all b/c the schools will be FIXED and therefore no need to examine how schools in minority communities seem to get fewer resources; that might seem accusatory of some White people who run the school system.
Obviously, things aren’t going to get fixed so easily. We not only do not agree on how to fix them, we don’t even agree that there is anything wrong. You see problems, they just aren’t the same problems I see. That is why you are critical of Obama and Democrats in general. That is why I am critical of Republicans and presidents like W. In the past, Republicans have indeed done good things for the country but at this point, the majority of Republicans, as measured by polls and voting patterns, favor interpretations and plans that I find repulsive. You responded to one of my posts that you don’t know of anyone who thinks poor people’s problems are that they don’t work hard enough, yet: Rand Paul: Income Inequality Comes From ’Some People Working Harder’ Than Others”We all end up working for people who are more successful than us,” the presidential hopeful said. Is this a misquote, a misinterpretation? The harder you work the more you make? That the principal I worked for was more successful than me? I am not asking you to say whether or not you agree with Paul but just to admit people DO say these things.
I am at 1000 words now, almost, so I will end with a view to discussing other facets of my world view. I am starting a new John McWhorter book, pretty heavy…. he is answering criticisms of his 2005 book Defining Creole. Great stuff. If you guys don’t know him, he is one outstanding linguist, a major Creolist, but also an author with a number of books on Black youth culture Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America; Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority; Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music; Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America; and All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can’t Save Black America. Despite the lurid titles, he actually brings a very balanced view to the issues (I have several of those books but haven’t read them; I go by his frequent appearances on TV where his “Black conservative” political views are eagerly sought).
For why I support Democrats and Obama, here are some facts and figures plus some interpretation.
Specifically economic accomplishments as listed by the conservative Forbes magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/
This is from a Forbes magazine interview with the author of Bulls, Bears, and the Ballot Box “Firstly, let’s review just how bad things were in 2009. In 2000 America was completing the longest bull market in history. But by the end of President Bush’s tenure the country had witnessed 2 stock market crashes, and the DJIA had fallen 58%. This was the second worst market decline in history (exceeded only by the Great Depression,) and hence the term “Great Recession” was born…………….
Significantly, in 2000 America had a budget surplus. By 2009 surpluses were long gone and the country was racking up historic deficits as taxes were cut while simultaneously outlays for defense skyrocketed to cover costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, banks were on the edge of failing due to unregulated real estate speculation and massive derivative losses………………………………………

Today the Congressional Budget Office is reporting a $200B decrease in the deficit almost entirely due to increased revenue from a growing economy and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The deficit is now only 4% of the GDP, down from over 10% at the end of Bush’s administration and projections are for it to be only 2% by 2015 (before Obama leaves office.) America’s “debt problem” seems largely solved, and almost all due to growth rather than austerity.

We can largely thank a fairer tax code, improved regulation and consistent SEC enforcement. Also, major strides in health care reform something no other President has accomplished has given American’s more faith in their future, and an increased willingness to invest………….”

While plenty of people disagree with these assessments of Obama’s presidency, plenty of people agree. Since economics is an area I am comparatively weak in, I keep an open mind. What I see written about Obama’s economy sounds good overall. Compare education terrible.

Pat Barrett

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