Wednesday 2 May 2018



How it might go among the rednecks

You and your folk have been here for generations. Sometimes they did well, sometimes less well. You had your family ways and your community ways. You weren’t great at school but you had some skill so you could either do what your folks had done before like work on the land or at the factory or the warehouse or on the road or rail; you could heave stuff, drive stuff, climb stuff, fit stuff, mend stuff. And because this got dull at times you drank on a Friday or Saturday night, sometimes other nights too, the rest of the time there was the wife, the kids, the sport on TV or visits to malls. Folks in the city might think you were dumb but you managed.

Then times changed. You lost your job or had to transfer, things got tense at home which led to more drinking and to the occasional fight which, according to you, went both ways. There was a lot less money and everything cost more. You were beginning to rot away and resenting it. Now you weren’t considered just dumb but also reprehensible. Your old religion, if you had any left, your old attitudes and whatever other ground you stood on, and some of it might have been pretty bad ground but you don’t want others, especially smart privileged people telling you that (and as time went on they told you that more and more) was eroded. You were not only worthless but a drag on ‘civilisation’. Your attitude to race was deeply wrong (even just the jokes, maybe especially the jokes), your attitude to women, especially the smart women, was not only reprehensible but wicked, contemptible even (don’t even start a joke about that).

And of course you are told you have been gifted with white male privilege. The person telling you this is a middle-class educated young woman or some smartass guy who is repeating her line. You are, they tell you, the most privileged creature on earth. You have, they tell you, been exploiting and treading on everyone especially that nice, angry middle-class girl with her nice apartment, nice car, nice clothes and nice career. You, according to her and her kind, including the presidential candidate, are in fact nothing but yet another bad broken egg in a basket of deplorables.

Then along comes one rich smart guy called Trump. And he ignores those that despise you and ignores all they stand for. He farts in their faces. He tells some home truths and some lies but even the lies are a kind of hitting back. And you want to hit back because you still don’t have a job, you still live in a slum, you still can’t afford health care, you still drink and scrap, and as for the environment, the environment is where you live and where you must scrape some kind of life.  This life is not much like the lives of those used to swimming with dolphins.

And you do have a gun if nothing else.  Because  those others – the liberals – they have nothing to say to you and never have had. Who you gonna shoot? Yourself? Others? Maybe no one at all.