Today’s MOZEN: Not Left Behind

Donald Trump’s meteoric and almost completely unexpected rise to the Presidency of the United States was fueled by millions of people who felt that they had become disenfranchised from the American dream. Mostly from rural areas and un or under-educated, these Americans expressed their frustration with being left behind, if not downright ignored by the government by voting for Mr. Trump.

So, they elected a man who supposedly was not a part of the Washington system and promised them everything that they wanted to hear: glorious coal would be making a comeback. Manufacturing jobs would be returning in droves. And, a new border wall, paid for by Mexico, would keep the violent hordes from shit hole countries away from their jobs, wives, and daughters.

They would not be forgotten anymore.

Certainly, most of their concerns were (and, still are) legitimate. Many rural areas have been sorely neglected for decades. Since the bulk of US voters live in urban areas, political expediency dictated that the lion share of available aid went there instead of to country folk. With the risk of sounding flippant, it’s simply more popular to be poor in the city than it is to be in the country.

However, despite the legitimacy of their issues, their cause eventually took on the mantle of Fear and Loathing. This, of course, was exacerbated by a feckless President, who fed on those insecurities for his own benefit. In doing so, he created an atmosphere that encouraged rage instead of cooperation.

He fostered an attitude that by raising the living standards of those who have been traditionally overlooked (i.e. people of color, immigrants, etc.), we would thereby reduce what people who had little left to lose even further. So, they would cling to the last vestige of power that they had left, that of White Privilege. It seemed as long as they had someone to look down on, their lives couldn’t be all that bad.

Although very much in focus today, this attitude has been with us for a long time, particularly in the South. One of the great conundrums of the Civil War was how a slaveholding aristocracy managed to convince a poor, non-slaveholding populace to fight and die for THEIR cause. Many historians suggest that they did so by aristocrats persuading white Southerners that they still had at least someone, i.e. blacks, that they could look down upon. At least that was something.

And, we have a similar attitude today.

The mob that attacked The Capitol in Washington, reaping havoc and causing wanton destruction, was overwhelmingly white. OVERWHELMING, if not exclusively so. The very idea that their man in the White House, the man who told them what they wanted to hear, whether truthful or not, was no longer in charge sent them into a frenzy of carnage. Furthermore, although people participated from all over the Country, interviews revealed a very high percentage of participants that came from rural America.

They feared that the progress of some would mean even less for them.

The Civil War is over!!!

Somehow, some way, some day, we will have to convince these people that raising the standard of living for ALL doesn’t mean accepting less for OTHERS. If we work together to improve the lot of all, we are not leaving anyone behind. The two things are not mutually exclusive! Fear and Loathing should NOT be part of the equation.

There will still be enough cake left for everyone to have their piece — and, eat it too.