Transition 2020: “They don’t really take us seriously.”
“You were right, he didn’t carry Florida.” -Friend and ‘liberal ‘bro’, November 4, 2020
I have never felt less vindicated with a “prediction” before. Honestly, I felt chastened. Of course Biden lost Florida, just as Hillary had in 2016. We can point fingers as amateur pundits like to do OR we can take a page and learn something about America.
The “elephant in the room” for me, for liberal soothsayers, for MSNBC fans is WHEN WILL WE LEARN?
In our smugness at getting things right, at “being right”, at harboring the “takeaway” role, we telegraph to others we don’t care about outcomes: we’ll be fine, thank you, because ‘we’ are superior.
Superiority doesn’t win votes.
Superiority doesn’t win states.
Superiority doesn’t garner social change. Often the opposite: repression, bitterness, retribution.
Demonstrating to the liberal bubble that there is no division in America, liberals and their enablers exacerbate and foster division. Division in America is not Trump’s followers to fix, not ‘their task’ to ‘come around.’
Glimpse at superiority’s destruction under the glint of the 2016 election. Call this “learning from West Virginia.”
Candidate Hillary Clinton was asked what she was going to do for (“give”) West Virginia in the wake of big coal’s demise. She replied that ‘big coal wasn’t coming back,’ which 1. everyone knew; 2. Dismissed the question; and 3. Offered no palliatives.
Bad politics? Worse: superiority talking. Clinton, a few weeks later would describe Trump followers as “deplorables,” a comment that in no small part cost her and the Democrats the 2016 election.
During Clinton’s visit to West Virginia the New York Times interviewed a twenty-something West Virginia homemaker whose husband, third in a generation of coal miners, had been laid off and unable to find work except in the now shuttered mines. This young lady of coal country adopted a positive tone when asked what she and her husband were “going to do.”
“Well, we could open a bed and breakfast. That would be nice. A lot of people like coming to West Virginia.”
To the ‘superior’ NYTimes reader, her solution might sound fatuous and ill-informed — after all, a B&B in West Virginia is a long haul from Orlando and Branson — but the poignancy of the moment her remark captured resounded through West Virginia hills.
The ‘big deal’ here is her restrained tone. These days under the glint of a Presidential election — 2016 and 2020 — ‘tone’ matters: she captured the moment by sharing the constraints of her vision and what assets she could offer as a player in the latest act of America’s vicious form of capitalism.
“Capitalism is a bitch,” a friend recently commented, but there is another reality of capitalism to be reckoned with. When the last of the resources are exploited and the heavy machinery have left a spoiled valley, the inhabitants are left with no exit ramp. West Virginia doesn’t have the population to support miners and their families struggling to transition to health care jobs, let alone receive adequate health care, thank you.
To offer unreflective ‘solutions,’ sourcing ‘superiority,’ unspoken ‘but for the grace of God go I’s’ — all this blinds the viewer.
The unseen know ‘unseen,’ and their voiced constraint speaks volumes.
The question is, “who’s listening?”
After the 2016 election and we settled into the Trump parade, Sen. Bernie Sanders hosted a Town Hall in West Virginia on health care. With little urging Trump voters in the audience voiced what universal health care could mean to them.
With universal health care they felt ‘counted,’ their lives ‘matter.’
And they voted. (1)
1- West Virginia: 67.9 % voted for Trump in 2016; 68.7% for Trump in 2020