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One thing the thinking left and urban liberals have not done is tread the soil of the Goth—subject themselves to the unwashed working-class America, to that churchgoing, hunting and fishing, Bud Light–drinking, provincial America.
I know everyone’s last name, whose daddy was who, and who boinked whom when we were in high school.
So when I moved back after 30 years out West, it was as if my heart was back where it belonged. It didn’t take too many visits to the old neighborhood tavern or to the shabby church I attended as a child to discover that here in this neighborhood in the richest nation on earth folks are having a hard go of it. Two in five residents of the North End do not have a high school diploma.
What, they wondered, happened out there in the heartland, the iconographic one they’d seen on television and in magazines, the one bright with church spires, grange halls, stock-car races, and community heritage festivals.
And why had the working class so plainly voted against their own interests?
Another good book about how the politics of resentment came to be what it is today is Nick Reding’s “Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town”. On the morning of November 2, 2004, millions of Democrats arose to a new order.
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Smoke from neoconservative campfires hung over all points southward and westward.
The hairy fundamentalist Christian hordes, the redneck blue-collar legions, and other cultural Visigoths stirred behind distant battlements.
In university towns across the country, in San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder, in that bluest of blue strongholds, New York City, and in every self-contained, oblivious corner of liberal America where a man or woman can buy a copy of The Nation without special-ordering it, Democrats sank into the deepest kind of Prozac-proof depression.
There are 32 million functionally illiterate adults, one in seven, who can’t read, write, and calculate for their own and their community’s development. If they could read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, none of them would see it as anything other than a story about animals.
Bageant says this illiteracy means that most of the folks in Winchester Virginia don’t know who Tom Delay is and don’t watch the national news unless the U. They have no idea what acronyms like IBM, FEMA, or HUD mean and can’t separate industry from government, advertisements and infomercials from the news.