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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Narrative of The Unheard Rural White Voter

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Image description: Angry white trump voters
Shortly after the election, the left wing was assaulted with the narrative that the election was lost because white rural voters from middle America aren't "heard." Those liberal coastal elites hadn't built enough bridges and their identity politics had finally gone too damned far. Ignored were the huge swaths of largely progressive voters who sat the election out, those disenfranchised by voter registration laws in numbers enough to have flipped swing states, and even the calculated torpedoing of Clinton's campaign by Comey and the Russians.

This narrative shouted from rooftops of every quarter is kind of a perfect macrocosm of white privilege. It's every white person in the comments section or on a Facebook thread talking over people of color or having to have the last word made manifest on a cultural scale.

White middle American voters ARE heard–there is almost no demographic more represented in the media. They ARE understood. They ARE adulated by Republicans and courted by Democrats even though yoking their anger is a Faustian deal for either party. Their economic concerns ARE shared by most of the country. They ARE the demographic most focused upon, most talked about talked about, most debated with, and most wooed.

But being heard...understood...sought. That's not enough.

What they want is the discourse completely centered on them. It can't be about everyone's economics. It has to be about THEIR economics, and the solutions must benefit only them. (Raising the minimum wage would help everyone–even urban poor. No, it has to be a low-skill factory, but with GOOD [yet non-union] jobs, planted in their backyard despite the myriad economic reasons that is no longer feasible.) Their regional financial solvency has to take precedence over fixing an increasingly broken disparity of wealth in our country.

It's not enough to hear and understand them. We have to ignore everyone else. We have to disregard the "identity politics" of others–of groups pushed to the margins who deign to point out that the world is not yet equal despite the insistence that we're past all that and that we've come far enough.

It's not enough that we're saturated in their point of view and can often articulate it as well as they can. They don't ever want to have to hear words like "privilege" or "feminism" again.

It's not enough to recognize that their actions were not purely motivated by some caricature extreme of racism. Those who point out that their actions have hurt other groups must be utterly silenced. They want their support of bigotry to be above reproach–they don't even want their feelings to be hurt with unkind labels–because they were just making sure they got theirs at any cost and that's fundamentally different than hating, which is what the slightest criticism of them obviously is.

It's not enough to have empathy towards them. You have to also hate and lose empathy for those fucking liberal coastal elites.

If you don't AGREE with them, you clearly haven't heard them. The idea that someone could hear and understand them but still disagree hasn't truly occurred to them. So if you demonstrate anything other than full capitulation to their viewpoint, they'll say it again. And again. And again....

They want contrition. They want to DOMINATE the narrative. They want hegemony. Like the white person in the thread, they go on and on and on endlessly repeating that they just want to be heard (even though they were well understood by the first comment), and trying to gaslight–in this case the entire country–into believing that something isn't racist just because they say it isn't and that nothing could be more important than their own political concerns–that even their feelings about being labeled bigots are far more important than the actual harm they chose to have visited on others.

They don't want to lose their privilege.

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