There’s good news and bad news for poor white Trump supporters.
Part 1 of a series
I’ve now gone through my seven stages of grieving over the election. But I’m not at peace. Instead I’m left with a nasty black residue like the stuff on beaches after an oil spill. It’s best summed up by an old joke.
Two guys show up at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter meets them and says, “I’ve got some bad news. Heaven’s a little full right now. We’re sending you back. We’ll come get you when we finish the new addition.”
He turns to one. “Now you’ve been a great person. You’ve been kind and generous. You’ve never done anything bad to anyone. You weren’t rich or famous, but you worked hard and maintained your dignity. I’m going to give you a $25 million dollar head start.”
That guy claps his hands and says, “Fantastic! I’ll buy a few things for my family, then spend the rest on the poor and less fortunate.” He takes his check and “poof,” disappears.
St. Peter turns to the other guy. “You were a real shit. You were a hedge fund manager and ruined the lives of millions of people. You made obscene amounts of money and spent it all on yourself. You were nasty to everyone you met and probably should have spent your life in jail. You probably would’ve if you hadn’t had all those lawyers. You I’m giving $25, and I’m not even giving you cash. I’m giving it to you in stuff. Now what do you say to that?”
The second guy stands there a minute, nods, then says, “No problem. I’d like my $25 in gaudy trinkets and I’d like you to tell me which way that other guy went.”
The election is done. Southerners and the working poor delivered a groin shot to the educated and well off. And perhaps we deserved it. I’ve watched nervously over the years as poor whites and white males became the butts of nastier and nastier jokes and media, e.g., movies like Joe Dirt and television shows like Toddlers and Tiaras. Somewhere along the way it became inappropriate to tell jokes where black people were stupid and gay people victimized, but okay to tell those same jokes using rednecks. Rednecks became the new blackface. We laughed at them and when they got a chance to laugh at us, they took it.
Now they think they’re in the driver’s seat. Of course, as Trump names his cabinet, it’s clear they were suckered. No revolution of the people this. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Did they really believe a rich liar cared about them?
And do they really think they’ve won? Do they really think the future belongs to those who are uneducated or addicted to alcohol, sugar, drugs and nicotine or stuck in dying industries in dying towns in the Midwest wishing their kids hadn’t moved to the cities or who’ve stockpiled guns because when change comes they’re going to shoot it dead, by God? They probably do, but they’re wrong.
So I’m left with that bitter black residue. I tried to help you out by voting against my own economic interests, folks. You told me you didn’t want my help (perhaps because of the condescension that came with it, I admit). Fair enough. That was your right. You’re gloating because now the deck’s been reshuffled and folks like me are on the bottom, at least politically. So what happens next?
I can’t help it. I can’t get that joke out of my head. All I can say is, “Where are my trinkets and which way did those Trump voters go?”