Saturday, June 25, 2016

Who Avoids Our Wars? The Rich, The Entitled



Watch News coverage of Trump rallies, and you will see Trump supporters portrayed as white, poor and stupid.

There certainly are Trump voters who are poor and stupid, but I have not met them. I have only seen them on the News. 

The Trump voters I know personally have college degrees, are very wealthy, and believe the world started falling apart in the 60s and 70s when they were kids.  The college degrees of the Trump voters I know are technical and professional.  I have not met a Trump voter with a degree in arts or literature.

I recently met a tall, energetic engineer named Tom. He is retired but still works as a consultant.  He owns a dozen cars, eight of them show-quality American muscle cars of the 60s and 70s.  He has a home that would house a village in much of the world, no kids, and enough garage space for his entire car collection. 

He has lived in Houston for more than 30 years, but grew up in suburban Chicago.  As a high school student in the late 60s he was bussed to a different suburban school as part of affirmative action—desegregation.  He hated it.  He seethes with resentment when he talks about it almost 50 years later.

He says he is a minority in his adopted city of Houston and is angry that cars with Mexican license plates can drive his streets.  He is angry that Houston is not a majority white city. When he says Make America Great Again he means make it white again. 

He is also a very proud, technically trained guy who does not own a cell phone or a laptop computer.  He has two landline phones and a desktop computer.  On that computer, he runs high-tech simulations for his consulting work.  So he is not against technology, he is against people who do not understand technology having access to technology.  He is very proud of not needing the technology that others around him depend on.  He uses paper maps.  He sends email on his desktop computer and does not need to check his desktop constantly as smartphone users do.

Like Trump, he wants America to have a strong military, and just like Trump, he did not serve in that military.  He went to college.  When he graduated, the draft was near its end. He got the deferments he needed and did not volunteer--though he is happy to bomb, drone or invade. He isn't going.

After college, Tom got a good job and started a lucrative career while those who served in the military earned $168 a month and delayed the start of their less lucrative careers.

He mentioned that in 1960s Chicago he was subjected to many Polish jokes. He remembers with some pain what it was like to hear jokes about Poles.  He does not remember the 50s and 60s as an era when every racial slur was part of normal speech.  

Part of Tom’s resentment is that political correctness has removed hazing ethnic groups as an acceptable part of American life.  He was subject to terrible Polish jokes for years.  He should be able to treat the latest waves of immigrants the way he was treated. 

Tom is resentful and without mercy.  Anyone who thinks “education” will fix Tom and people like him is just wrong.  Tom is rich, privileged, smart and is perfectly happy with 11 million deportations, a Muslim ban and overturning any and all civil rights.  Like Trump, the rich and comfortable life Tom has enjoyed for half a century made him more sure that he deserves everything he has.   


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