CSotD: Two Solitudes

Rick McKee orients us with this explanation of the GOP response to … well, you can’t call it a “scandal” if nobody is scandalized.

Well, somebody is. But not everybody.

What we’re hearing has confirmed what everyone believed, with “everyone believed” being divided between everyone who thinks Trump is a crook and everyone who thinks the elitists are picking on him.

For instance, Elise Stefanik either threw a childish, dishonest hissy-fit over rules she is clearly bright enough to understand — such that her likely opponent in the upcoming election raked in more than $600,000 in mostly small contributions — or else maybe she stood up to the liberals and defended our president despite Democratic attempts to silence honest debate.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Governor of Louisiana was re-elected, which isn’t the same as stealing the spot but, then again, Dear Leader had staged a rally to keep if from happening and it happened anyway.

However, Matthew Yglesius offers a truly discouraging word about faulty polling and how the failure to factor in educational attainment makes the numbers seem far more favorable for anti-Trump forces than they likely will be at the polls.

Which offers some numerical support for my continued insistence that those who dismiss Trump supporters as “stupid” are, well, stupid.

You can crow over the way his promises to the coal miners have come to nothing, but the fact remains that a lot of working people — perfectly intelligent people who don’t happen to have college degrees — have built up a substantial sense of resentment.

Which the elitists should know, since they strummed their guitars and sang along with Billy Ed Wheeler

I stood for the union, walked in the line,
Fought against the company.
Stood for the U. M. W. of A.
Now who’s gonna stand for me?
I got no home and I got no pay,
Just got a worried soul;
And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by the number nine coal.

And there were thousands in other industries who believed hard work would pull them through, only to discover otherwise

Home folks think I’m big in Detroit City
From the letters that I write they think I’m fine,
But by day I make the cars and by night I make the bars
If only they could read between the lines

The elites mock blue-collar frustration with jokes about how gloomy country music seems to be, instead of picking up on the vibe, instead of recognizing that these are good, hardworking people who may vote for someone who promises to work for them, whether he actually follows through or not.

And you can point out how often their us-against-them attitude exhibits as fear and suspicion of foreigners and those of other races, but that’s hardly universal, even if it’s loud.

If you’re going to believe that every Trump supporter is a hateful racist, well, then it’s only fair to believe that every anti-Trumper is a whiney Millennial, and, as Edmund Burke famously noted,

Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle … chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.

On either side.

And, as the evidence of corruption and malfeasance piles up in these hearings, the other thing that piles up is the clear message that, as McKee’s cartoon indicates, there may be an impeachment, but there will be no conviction.

However, there surely will be another election. The Republicans keep saying that, if you don’t like him, vote him out.

That could happen, but not without expending a lot of shoe leather and clipboards.

We’ll see which of our two “everyones” cares more, I guess.


Meanwhile, Patrick Chappatte reminds us that, while First World cartoonists seem preoccupied with Trump and the hearings, or Boris Johnson and Brexit, there are other things happening in the world that call for our attention.

Submerging nations like Nauru and Tuvalu seem almost fictional in their tiny size, exotic cultures and distant locales, and while the wildfires of Australia are happening to people who look like us, they’re still awfully far away in a strange land of kangaroos and Vegemite.

But Venice is right here, or, at least, right there. We can see it from our porches.

People have been to Venice. People from Venice had been here. We’ve got their blinds in our kitchen, for god’s sake.

And if films shot in the outback seem as remote as John Ford Westerns, there are many, many contemporary movies about People Like Us that include St. Mark’s Square.

Which is currently under water and closed to the public.

So, the point is, if the coal miners are fools to believe their industry is coming back, what do you call people who think climate change is something out there in the future?

Or who think that, if they remember to bring their canvas bags to the grocery store, and to ask the waitress not to put a straw in their drink, that they’ve done all they need to?

Those little things matter, but they are hardly enough, and this problem is not going to be solved at Whole Foods, or in chi-chi little coffeeshops in tony gentrified neighborhoods.

It’s not about the fucking plastic straws.

A few years ago, I was talking to a woman who was opening a pelletizing plant, offering moderate jobs in a desperate area, and she said she was getting applications for $12 an hour jobs from people who lived 50 and 60 miles away.

It was obvious to her that people with nice, new, highly efficient hybrid cars don’t apply for $12 an hour jobs, much less ones that involve commuting 500 or 600 miles per week.

And no, there is no public transportation in the woods. You drive, or you walk.

We can argue over biomass another day, but she knew she was starting out in a bit of an environmental hole.