When I came out in 1969, gay sex was still illegal and gay men were regularly arrested for simply asking another man to go home with them. We survived.
Being trans was also pretty much illegal and being stealth was a survival tool. We survived.
Last night I started reading Fugitives of the Forest: The Heroic Story Of Jewish Resistance And Survival During The Second World War. Some survived and went on to fight for Israel’s nationhood.
My brother still lives in the mountains of up state New York. Yet his politics are further from those of New York City than are the politics of Dallas. There is an urban/rural divide. Small towns across America that were homes to mills that provided jobs to workers look at mills long shuttered, the work outsourced.
When people talk about making America great again out in the small towns they are talking about the days when there were small local businesses. The days before the big box store (s) out on the interstate gutted out all the locally owned businesses and destroyed their civic identity.
We go to small towns and cities where the downtowns are abandoned. In a lucky few antique shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants occupy the storefronts where there were once small businesses like hardware stores. If there are still movie theaters they are out in the mall out on the highway.
When you go to the mall you find chains of stores, not locally owned businesses. The malls rarely rent to stores not part of a chain. Same goes for the fast food restaurants. The people who work those jobs do not own those businesses. They are owned by corporations and suits who live far away in mansions and penthouses.
I’ve watched since the 1960s as the Democrats abandoned the working class. LBJ was maybe the last Democrat to pull the working class together and unite both urban and rural factions.
The urban coastal folks have treated most of America as fly over country, neglected supporting the party, neglected their needs as the rust belt was gutted out and jobs were out sourced. Then the high tech work, people were retrained for, went direct to China without even paying a brief visit to the places where people had retrained.
Living in Texas and having always loved folk/country/Americana music I listen to, people like The Flat Landers and James McMurtry.
James McMurtry’s most recent album “Complicated Game” should be mandatory listening for people trying to figure out what went wrong.
And maybe the Sanders supporters were right, maybe he had a better grasp on the pulse and could have reached out to the people beyond the coastal enclaves.
It’s an easy cliche to blame racism, to blame all the things those who fly over those small cities and towns blame.
But as long as we are a nation where those areas are ignored by those who live in urban enclaves in the Northeast and on the West Coast we will live in a nation divided.
If those on the right live in an information bubble so too do those on the left.
We live in Texas and are appalled by the ideas and stereotype folks here have of New Yorkers and Californians. Yet having lived in both those places, if we look honestly at some of the people we encountered in those places we see the nugget of truth. But having lived there we also know how those stereotypes fail to represent the majority of people in either New York or Los Angeles.
The same is true of the people who live in that vast sea of red one sees from looking at last nights precinct reports. Some fit the most negative stereotypes one can imagine, the majority do not.
Democrats and Republican have both focused on identities and put a lot of energy into denying others things which they, themselves disapprove of.
All of which is far easier than focusing on how so much of the nation has been economically devastated by trade policies in which both parties were complicit.
As long as we have a government that is structured as a republic which guarantees the representation of those states, cities and people who have had their lives destroyed by free trade, trade deals and out sourcing you will have a major portion of the population which will be angry with Washington and the government.
Yes they voted for a populist demagogue, they saw Clinton as part of the problem and not offering a solution other than more of the same.