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Selecting Your Topic

We were already thinking about the kind of things that matter in the real world, instead of spending all our time playing an exacting but mostly pointless game like the others. We were a bit like an adult would be if he were thrust back into middle school.

He wouldn't know the right clothes to wear, the right music to like, the right slang to use. He'd seem to the kids a complete alien. The thing is, he'd know enough not to care what they thought. We had no such confidence. A lot of people seem to think it's good for smart kids to be thrown together with "normal" kids at this stage of their lives.

But in at least some cases the reason the nerds don't fit in really is that everyone else is crazy. I remember sitting in the audience at a "pep rally" at my high school, watching as the cheerleaders threw an effigy of an opposing player into the audience to be torn to pieces. I felt like an explorer witnessing some bizarre tribal ritual. If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around.

I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a Twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.

Where I grew up, it felt as if there was nowhere to go, and nothing to do. This was no accident. Suburbs are deliberately designed to exclude the outside world, because it contains things that could endanger children. And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done.

And I have no problem with this: What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that a they aren't told about it, and b the prisons are run mostly by the inmates.

Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they're called misfits. Life in this twisted world is stressful for the kids. And not just for the nerds.

Like any war, it's damaging even to the winners. Adults can't avoid seeing that teenage kids are tormented. So why don't they do something about it? Because they blame it on puberty. The reason kids are so unhappy, adults tell themselves, is that monstrous new chemicals, hormones , are now coursing through their bloodstream and messing up everything. There's nothing wrong with the system; it's just inevitable that kids will be miserable at that age.

This idea is so pervasive that even the kids believe it, which probably doesn't help. Someone who thinks his feet naturally hurt is not going to stop to consider the possibility that he is wearing the wrong size shoes. I'm suspicious of this theory that thirteen-year-old kids are intrinsically messed up. If it's physiological, it should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at thirteen? I've read a lot of history, and I have not seen a single reference to this supposedly universal fact before the twentieth century.

Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance seem to have been cheerful and eager. They got in fights and played tricks on one another of course Michelangelo had his nose broken by a bully , but they weren't crazy. As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs.

Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere. When I was in school, suicide was a constant topic among the smarter kids. No one I knew did it, but several planned to, and some may have tried. Mostly this was just a pose. Like other teenagers, we loved the dramatic, and suicide seemed very dramatic. But partly it was because our lives were at times genuinely miserable.

Bullying was only part of the problem. Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on. Humans like to work; in most of the world, your work is your identity. And all the work we did was pointless , or seemed so at the time. At best it was practice for real work we might do far in the future, so far that we didn't even know at the time what we were practicing for.

More often it was just an arbitrary series of hoops to jump through, words without content designed mainly for testability. The three main causes of the Civil War were List the three main causes of the Civil War.

And there was no way to opt out. The adults had agreed among themselves that this was to be the route to college. The only way to escape this empty life was to submit to it. Teenage kids used to have a more active role in society. In pre-industrial times, they were all apprentices of one sort or another, whether in shops or on farms or even on warships.

They weren't left to create their own societies. They were junior members of adult societies. Teenagers seem to have respected adults more then, because the adults were the visible experts in the skills they were trying to learn. Now most kids have little idea what their parents do in their distant offices, and see no connection indeed, there is precious little between schoolwork and the work they'll do as adults. And if teenagers respected adults more, adults also had more use for teenagers.

After a couple years' training, an apprentice could be a real help. Even the newest apprentice could be made to carry messages or sweep the workshop. Now adults have no immediate use for teenagers. They would be in the way in an office. So they drop them off at school on their way to work, much as they might drop the dog off at a kennel if they were going away for the weekend.

We're up against a hard one here. The cause of this problem is the same as the cause of so many present ills: As jobs become more specialized, we have to train longer for them. Kids in pre-industrial times started working at about 14 at the latest; kids on farms, where most people lived, began far earlier.

Now kids who go to college don't start working full-time till 21 or With some degrees, like MDs and PhDs, you may not finish your training till Teenagers now are useless, except as cheap labor in industries like fast food, which evolved to exploit precisely this fact. In almost any other kind of work, they'd be a net loss. But they're also too young to be left unsupervised.

Someone has to watch over them, and the most efficient way to do this is to collect them together in one place. Then a few adults can watch all of them. If you stop there, what you're describing is literally a prison, albeit a part-time one.

The problem is, many schools practically do stop there. The stated purpose of schools is to educate the kids. But there is no external pressure to do this well.

And so most schools do such a bad job of teaching that the kids don't really take it seriously-- not even the smart kids. Much of the time we were all, students and teachers both, just going through the motions. In my high school French class we were supposed to read Hugo's Les Miserables. I don't think any of us knew French well enough to make our way through this enormous book.

Like the rest of the class, I just skimmed the Cliff's Notes. When we were given a test on the book, I noticed that the questions sounded odd. They were full of long words that our teacher wouldn't have used. Where had these questions come from?

From the Cliff's Notes, it turned out. The teacher was using them too. We were all just pretending. There are certainly great public school teachers. The energy and imagination of my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Mihalko, made that year something his students still talk about, thirty years later. But teachers like him were individuals swimming upstream. They couldn't fix the system. In almost any group of people you'll find hierarchy. When groups of adults form in the real world, it's generally for some common purpose, and the leaders end up being those who are best at it.

The problem with most schools is, they have no purpose. But hierarchy there must be. And so the kids make one out of nothing. We have a phrase to describe what happens when rankings have to be created without any meaningful criteria. We say that the situation degenerates into a popularity contest. And that's exactly what happens in most American schools.

Instead of depending on some real test, one's rank depends mostly on one's ability to increase one's rank. It's like the court of Louis XIV. There is no external opponent, so the kids become one another's opponents. When there is some real external test of skill, it isn't painful to be at the bottom of the hierarchy.

A rookie on a football team doesn't resent the skill of the veteran; he hopes to be like him one day and is happy to have the chance to learn from him. The veteran may in turn feel a sense of noblesse oblige. And most importantly, their status depends on how well they do against opponents, not on whether they can push the other down. Court hierarchies are another thing entirely.

This type of society debases anyone who enters it. There is neither admiration at the bottom, nor noblesse oblige at the top. It's kill or be killed. This is the sort of society that gets created in American secondary schools. And it happens because these schools have no real purpose beyond keeping the kids all in one place for a certain number of hours each day. What I didn't realize at the time, and in fact didn't realize till very recently, is that the twin horrors of school life, the cruelty and the boredom, both have the same cause.

The mediocrity of American public schools has worse consequences than just making kids unhappy for six years. It breeds a rebelliousness that actively drives kids away from the things they're supposed to be learning. Like many nerds, probably, it was years after high school before I could bring myself to read anything we'd been assigned then.

And I lost more than books. I mistrusted words like "character" and "integrity" because they had been so debased by adults. As they were used then, these words all seemed to mean the same thing: The kids who got praised for these qualities tended to be at best dull-witted prize bulls, and at worst facile schmoozers.

If that was what character and integrity were, I wanted no part of them. The word I most misunderstood was "tact. I assumed it was derived from the same root as "tacit" and "taciturn," and that it literally meant being quiet.

I vowed that I would never be tactful; they were never going to shut me up. In fact, it's derived from the same root as "tactile," and what it means is to have a deft touch. Tactful is the opposite of clumsy.

I don't think I learned this until college. Nerds aren't the only losers in the popularity rat race. Nerds are unpopular because they're distracted. There are other kids who deliberately opt out because they're so disgusted with the whole process. Teenage kids, even rebels, don't like to be alone, so when kids opt out of the system, they tend to do it as a group. At the schools I went to, the focus of rebellion was drug use, specifically marijuana.

The kids in this tribe wore black concert t-shirts and were called "freaks. Freaks were on the whole smarter than other kids, though never studying or at least never appearing to was an important tribal value.

I was more in the nerd camp, but I was friends with a lot of freaks. They used drugs, at least at first, for the social bonds they created.

It was something to do together, and because the drugs were illegal, it was a shared badge of rebellion. I'm not claiming that bad schools are the whole reason kids get into trouble with drugs. After a while, drugs have their own momentum. No doubt some of the freaks ultimately used drugs to escape from other problems-- trouble at home, for example. But, in my school at least, the reason most kids started using drugs was rebellion.

Fourteen-year-olds didn't start smoking pot because they'd heard it would help them forget their problems. They started because they wanted to join a different tribe. Misrule breeds rebellion; this is not a new idea. And yet the authorities still for the most part act as if drugs were themselves the cause of the problem. The real problem is the emptiness of school life. We won't see solutions till adults realize that.

The adults who may realize it first are the ones who were themselves nerds in school. Do you want your kids to be as unhappy in eighth grade as you were? Well, then, is there anything we can do to fix things?

There is nothing inevitable about the current system. It has come about mostly by default. Adults, though, are busy. Showing up for school plays is one thing. Taking on the educational bureaucracy is another. Perhaps a few will have the energy to try to change things. I suspect the hardest part is realizing that you can. Nerds still in school should not hold their breath. Maybe one day a heavily armed force of adults will show up in helicopters to rescue you, but they probably won't be coming this month.

Any immediate improvement in nerds' lives is probably going to have to come from the nerds themselves. Merely understanding the situation they're in should make it less painful. They're just playing a different game, and a game much closer to the one played in the real world. It's hard to find successful adults now who don't claim to have been nerds in high school. It's important for nerds to realize, too, that school is not life.

School is a strange, artificial thing, half sterile and half feral. It's all-encompassing, like life, but it isn't the real thing. It's only temporary, and if you look, you can see beyond it even while you're still in it. If life seems awful to kids, it's neither because hormones are turning you all into monsters as your parents believe , nor because life actually is awful as you believe.

It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in. You don't have to look any further to explain why teenage kids are unhappy.

I've said some harsh things in this essay, but really the thesis is an optimistic one-- that several problems we take for granted are in fact not insoluble after all. But how can people fighting for social equality include poor whites who see them as the enemy? We are all sides of the same coin, a coin that has been held in the pocket of the elite class since the first settlers arrived in the American colonies.

I am a poor, uneducated, white woman. I fight for racial equality because people of color are not my enemy. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people are not my enemy. Immigrants and refugees are not my enemy. Muslims are not my enemy. Native Americans are not my enemy. Single mothers and fathers are not my enemy. People on Medicare, disability, food stamps, and unemployment are not my enemy.

The homeless are not my enemy. And it turns out that the people of a small Arkansas town in the middle of the Ozarks are not my enemy. Other poor people are not the enemy, no matter how they look, how they pray, or who they love.

They are fighting to be heard. Did slave owners care about white indentured servants when they pitted them against African slaves, or did they want to ensure a steady supply of cheap labor? Did Ronald Reagan care about poor white people when he trotted out the fictional welfare queen, or did he need a budget item to cut?

Do wealthy elites and politicians care about poor and middle class people when they send them off to war, or are they anticipating massive profits? He wants to stand on our shoulders so we can lift him up. Can You See The Oligarchy? When will we realize we have more in common with all poor people than with rich capitalists and corrupt politicians who manipulate the system to increase their own wealth, power, and control? Instead of wondering which billionaire will finally reach out a hand to raise us up, we should stop waiting and start acting.

One of these quotes is from Martin Luther King Jr. Bernie Sanders was born into a working-class home. His father dropped out of high school and supported the family as a paint salesman after coming to the U. Later, after the war, they would find out most of his family died in the Holocaust. By the time Bernie graduated from college, he was alone. His brother had moved to England for work, and both of his parents had died.

He moved to Vermont and held a variety of low-wage jobs, spending many of the following years broke. So, for me, to talk to working-class people is not very hard.

He bootstrapped his way into politics and has remained loyal to the poor and working class for more than thirty years. He is not a millionaire. He has not built a fortune from his position holding office. I prefer to call him one of our own. He says if you are poor, take my hand. Together we can lift you up. He knows this because he has lived it. It is about everyone having the same opportunity to paint their walls in shades of possibility.

When we have been pushed down for so long, it can become impossible to see whose hands are keeping us there. Is it really welfare queens or immigrant laborers or Muslims, as Trump claims? I say no, because those people have so little power. Maybe the answer lies not in looking up, but in looking sideways and recognizing that our poor neighbors, who may be different than us, are struggling too.

Maybe if we all look up together, we can see more clearly that the hand of oppression belongs only to those who have always had money, power, and control. Those are the real enemies. The real enemies fear us. They know that if we come together, we will have the numbers on our side.

We must stop doing what they want: We must direct a truly united voice against those who, four hundred years ago, created the American Dream and then held it out of reach. We must join together and fight back against the wealthy elite and corporate politicians. We must build a new country that belongs to all of us, a country where no one ever has to feel like just a poor motherfucker no one cares about. I very much appreciate this piece overall. Reagan was no longer the president in ; George H.

Great piece, although I also noticed an error. Not sure if the error is with the year or the President. A couple of things, though — The charges against Tyson were dropped, not sure why you mentioned Clinton being president when you fail to mention GW Bush was POTUS during Iraq war; and governors quite often give tax breaks to industries to keep jobs in their state, no?

As Bernie Sanders did with the gun manufacturer in Vermont? I thank you for this passionate piece of writing, and plan to share it with others. I agree completely with your comment. The perspective of this article is very well documented and written. Have you not noticed the last decade of mass protesting and grassroots organizing, of the likes never before seen?

The largest protest movement in US and world history was against the Iraq War. At least that was true at the time. The Occupy movement might have been even larger. Then there have been the nation-wide protests against police brutality. And now there is the first major candidate in US campaign history that, along with the largest crowds ever, has raised such large amounts of campaign contributions from small donations. But young people stay home in droves during off-presidential election years.

That opens the door to the Tea Party. This is excellent, and I wanted to provide another excellent if chilling piece of supporting reading from The poor, white people are in fact too stupid to vote properly and amazingly enough selfishly. They are the ultimate suckers. They are just jokes and the joke is on them. This is a group of people who have almost effortlessly been manipulated by some pretty despicable people into voting against their own interests and aligning themselves with people who have nothing in common with them.

If allowed to rule this once great nation for too long, it will be game over, not just for the poor white people of this article, but for the entire Republic. Another 8 or 16 years of reasonable people in power in multiple branches of the government should set this country in a better direction.

The author of this is both stupid and ignorant. I used to vote democratic all the time. But over time the democratic party has become the party of sin. The list goes on. Please read our comment policy.

Disagreeing with what the author has written is fine; name calling is not. We do not have a theocratic governing body nor are most of our communities. Meanwhile the elites steal your soul and keep you poor and dumb. Please reread the article and maybe it will all sink in? The obvious liberal agenda has reared its ugly head. I liked the article for its well researched data, but was saddened to see that it was just another whine-laden political rant in the end. The author says that Muslims are not her enemy.

How conveniently she ignores the Islamic method of subjugating women to second class citizens, which is the best they can hope for, or at its worst, condemns them to near slavery and death for the slightest perceived infractions against their archaic religious edicts. Let us not tout his achievements in social programs when his goal was to keep poor people particularly blacks under the government thumb and believing that the Democratic party actually cares for them. Mark — Many Americans are Muslim.

Some of the earliest Americans to experience religious oppression were Muslims, many of them brought here as slaves. A large part of the Muslim population today still are blacks who descend from those slaves. So, an American is more likely to be harmed by a white Christian and then have their live saved by an Arab Muslim.

Do you really believe that Muslim women in America are following their men 6 feet behind, unable to vote, drive, get educated, or hold jobs?

The African slaves imported to the US were not Muslim, because they were sold by Muslims, and while Islam forbids Muslims to make war upon each other, slavery and sale of captives are explicitly permitted. Religion had nothing to do with it — the issues were tribalism and greed, and that remains a constant in African conflicts today, particularly between African Muslims and kafirs.

I have travelled in Islamic Africa and can tell you quite a bit about it. Finally, it is a fallacy to claim that Muslims in the US have a lower rate of violence than Christians, for at least two reasons. Second, if you think Muslims are less likely to be criminals, I would recommend you spend some time in county prison in any metropolitan region. Many prisons no longer offer the Bible on the commisary order sheet and offer only the Quran.

Did you know any of those facts about Islam, or Muslims in the US? Or did you arrogantly assume your Little Red Book-style ideology is all you need to know? The author repeatedly quotes historians, historical documents, and specific data. For example, the amount of fines, taxes, etc for Tyson Foods is given. Also, the amount of federal funding for various things is detailed, along with defense contracts, income growth, and such.

The personal aspects of the article simply showed what this data means for real Americans living their lives. Maybe you should read before commenting. Thank you so very much for illustrating the entire point of this article with your clueless commentary. Who did Jesus side up with? Prostitutes, the poor, thieves, foreigners. Who was he constantly at odds with? I think I will take my chances in the party of sinners. After defending the prostitute, Jesus also told her to go and sin no more.

Jesus loved the sinner, but hated the sin. The left conveniently forgets that when discussing Jesus. Nor did he imply that it applied to all Christians as a universal law of Christianity. The implication is that we should be aiming for God or a spiritual ideal.

Hamartia can even mean something as simple as being mistaken, not implying any absolute moral and divine failure whatsoever.

There is no evidence that Jesus was pointing to a specific sin. He often referred to sin in more general ways, as having fallen short. There is no evidence even that the accusations against this woman were true or that Jesus believed they were true, as he stated no opinion on the matter. Besides, that story about the adulteress in John is an interpolation.

No one knows its origin, although by the 4th century there are mentions of it. Some Christian humility is needed. The only thing I stated incorrectly was she was a prostitute, not an adulterer.

But my point still stands. Micah — I simply proved that you were projecting your personal opinions onto Jesus. That is a bit problematic, if you consider yourself a Christian. Instead of embracing humility in trying to understand Jesus on his own terms, you attack others.

Is that what Christianity means to you? The sinners have much more fun. Man you may live in a delapidate trailer, but I have news for you. I am with you; I am 65 going on 66 , and am one more white poor mother fucker. The problem is whites , hispanics we all have been played for fools, why the rich manipulate the facts that place and hold them in power. I just hope all people of the world realize that the average American is just one poor mother fucker.

We mother fuckers are the True Average American. Best one yet on the Internet. SC, I think the author of this is brilliant and thoughtful. She did her homework. She considered the issue. She made a connection. And then she shared it. Why on earth would you call her stupid and ignorant? If you have an opposing view, why not voice it in an intelligently written piece like hers instead of resorting to ridiculously broad generalizations?

For the record, I am not gay, but I am an atheist who has had an abortion. She is also sharing her opinions. She is not stupid or ignorant for having a different opinion than you. Attacking and judging her and the entire Democratic Party is close-minded and ignorant to me. Some would rationally argue based on the evidence that the entire two-party establishment is bought by big money. It would be hard to argue the opposite based on what has become obvious over the years.

Still, there are differences between the parties. Data shows that inequality increases, unemployment grows, recessions happen more often and last longer, and suicide and homicide rates increase under Republican administrations. If one was to rationally choose between the two main parties, the Democrats are the lesser evil. With lesser evilism, fundamental problems are never solved and much needed reform never happens.

The lesser evil makes the greater evil possible, the sugar that helps the poison go down. That could not be further from the truth! This only serves to highlight just what you were trying to point out in your essay! This was the most articulate and honest approach to this phenomenon in America! Thank you and I hope that you write more for us to enjoy and learn! I read your piece to my husband because it was so enlightening and captured truth! Keep up the good fight sister!

God has been redefined and restructured in every age. Christians use every weird scriptural passage to justify their hate, racism, homophobia and misogyny. But our future leaders, the millenials, are decidedly secular, materialistic, pro-choice and find religion annoying. Technology, reason, knowledge are all we need. Wow, what an amazing insightfully made point. Gawd, I hate it when comment sections are added to articles!

Stir is a great name for this site, because, to make an equally insightful intellectual point: Lots of crap here. The whole point of this site is to start conversations. Some are better than others. We have one moderator right now. A fifth scenario described at the link you provided — i. The entire culture wars that have driven the political right for decades is the most paternalistic expression of politics around.

Most liberals want to increase opportunities and resources for people to improve their own lives, the complete opposite of paternalism. Conservatives are paternalistic with their support of a strong militarized police state and neocon state building.

As for white conservatives, more whites are on welfare, both as total number and as a percentage. The culture war issue is a bit more complex, but keep in mind that many of these people are members of very conservative religious groups. The difference is the cultural frame of reference. This is not only true for political issues.

They know what Donald Trump thinks: He jumped right in the ring! Most liberals would be horrified if conservatives said to Muslims what liberals say to conservative Christians without hesitation. Yet they are totally oblivious to how they are perceived or why their message is not well-received. Likewise, just like the people who are leading the fight against ISIS are Muslims, the people standing up to the actual Klan are the ones described in this article, but neither gets any credit for it from people thousands of miles away who have no idea what is going on.

Bill Clinton was a man with a foot in both worlds, much like the political version of Sam Walton or Don Tyson. He was the local boy who made good. But the people he won over so easily turned on him, not because of economic issues, but for violating cultural norms. Cheating on his wife, lying about it, then pretending nothing happened.

This seems to be what Hillary herself thought. It showed that he could not be trusted. Nor did he do sufficient public penance for it to show that he knew he had messed up. It generally involves crying, apologizing, and invoking Jesus. Alternatively, a very public reconciliation involving Bill crying, apologizing, and invoking Jesus would have worked too. Thus the bizarre theories about Hillary. As I said, no one paying attention could say this. Paternalism is the very heart of the conservative social order.

Conservatism is first and foremost about social control, about maintaining the perceived moral hierarchy. Corey Robin explains this well about the reactionary mind. You must not read as many conservatives as I do. I regularly come across conservative pundits and authors offering condescension to poor whites.

There is nothing complex about it, not essentially. The culture wars are what conservatism is all about. Many urban liberals were raised in rural and suburban conservative communities. I live in a farming state and the younger generation have left the rural areas for the bigger cities. I was raised by conservative parents. And I spent a large part of my life in the Deep South growing up. Plenty of liberals are Christians. In fact, most liberals are Christians.

Also, plenty of liberals are equally critical of fundamentalism in other religions. As far the Klan, the people opposing it have been diverse. It actually was found largely in urban areas and its membership was mostly the middle-to-upper class.

The Second Klan was mostly found in the more liberal North, not the South. Sure, right-wingers and reactionaries turned on him, but they never liked him in the first place. Give me specifics and back it up with data or at least examples. There are many ways to try to make sense of it all. Please enlighten us with specifics to make your case that liberals are patronizing toward poor whites.

Just please be specific. BDS, you are proof of what George Will succinctly stated last month on television: Two shining examples of the idiocy produced by visceral thinking are primary leaders D. Lunacy on both sides. While the field may indeed be unfair, voting in a hard core socialist will do nothing but bankrupt people on all levels with huge tax increases. I wrote numerous comments here describing in great detail my reasons.

I have indeed reasoned myself into these positions. How dare they have different opinions based on different reasons! A lot of sound and fury, but not much sense, as far as I can tell.

Nothing you said in your comment applies to me, that is for sure. Anyway, anyone who knows American history and knows socialism would know that Sanders is what used to be considered a moderate liberal and old school progressive. He is no where near as far left as FDR. Sanders is only socialist in the old sense of the word as a social reformer, although more accurately he is what is known as a social democrat. None of this is worth getting an aneurysm over.

But my understanding of his politics is the opposite of selfishness. And laziness is not party- or candidate-specific. There is not a candidate on any ticket who appeals to me. Not sure what you mean when you say that BDS has been asking me to explain, as I have only just begun to post to this forum.

That being said, I stand by the quote from George Will. It is impossible to believe that anyone came by their political stance out of sheer logic. We are human and prone to emotion. I guess I have to remember when pointing at someone that there are three fingers pointing back at me. Shame on you if you are unwilling to apply that George Will quote to your own political position, but only to people who disagree with you. And shame on you if you are unwilling to admit that the reason you employed it was because you thought the opinions of the person to whom you were responding were not worthy of consideration.

It had nothing to do with wanting us all — together — to admit that emotions play a role in the formation of our political opinions. You clearly sought to exclude yourself from that, as you clearly believe that your political opinions were arrived at solely through reason. And yet you can look at an article like this, which even gives you the data that shows how radically different income growth has been distributed during economic expansions over the last sixty years, and just repeat tired tropes about the poor being selfish and lazy.

Of course, back then we had tax brackets that went up into the millions of dollars before accounting for inflation! Not surprisingly, rural whites were the most likely to be kicked off those systems. No they just tapped into the resentment of those who have some knowledge about the system. For example, a relative of mine is a social worker in Louisiana. She originally got into that line of work because she wanted to make a difference and help people.

She is now jaded and tells of people who have been in this situation for generations. They do not want to better themselves.

They want to keep whatever freebies they have coming just like their parents and grandparents did. Their ailment according to him: Years ago when I was working a night shift, one co-worker was giving another one a hard time: They just shined a light on the problem.

I admire them greatly for that. If the poor white or black trash Americans put in half as much effort as the illegals do day in and day out, this place would be much better off. Drgrad68 — I wrote you a long comment. I also had a bunch of links. So, to keep the moderator happy, I posted it as a comment at my blog. I offer you the link, if you so desire to see my response:. Nice to meet ya, Laurel. I love info and I want to spread it far and wide. Actually, loathe is a strong word for me.

These are also the sort of people who tend to be extremely controlling in relationships and more likely to physically or psychologically abuse women. I am genuinely curious. I know many from my own family, from the colleges I attended for my BA and MA, from various jobs and from my church. I know social conservatives who are rich, poor, from rural areas and urban areas, from the U. I am wondering if your prejudice springs from a bad experience with one or two bad apples there are nasty folks from all parts of the political spectrum!

I used to vote Democratic, but I finally matured and grew up and grew out of my ignorance of believing rich Liberals! No, I am truly voting for my interests, values, and morals! What is it that your party offer you being on the low social economic ladder? What is it that offer you in terms of hope that your situation will get better. Such a stunning, sweeping, urgent piece of commentary, written in a language accessible to any poor white motherfucker.

Thank you so much for writing this, Jonna! The wealthy elite, and their stooges, the Republicans, have assassinated all those of influence who were committed to economic equality. I thought they fell victim to a communist, a Palestinian [activist terrorist], and a white supremacist who all had guns, respectively.

Really they all fell victim to a communist, a Palestinian, and racist? It seems if you study history, guns are just a tool, the people behind them and their motives are what actually matter. Case in point, the last civil war was won by oppressed people with guns, thus their use of guns is the reason for the abolition of slavery and the enforcement of subsequent civil rights for freed blacks.

You are right on Desmond. Articles like this get us communicating and thinking seriously about change and what we can do. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist sympathizer who, most likely, acted alone. Martin Luther King was shot by James Earl Ray, a petty criminal with a long rap sheet who was known to strongly dislike black people.

These are the guys who fired the guns. These were all political acts, but all evidence was that they were the acts of a single person. Each had sufficient motivation and ability to pull the trigger without any greater conspiracy. Gerald Ford was shot at twice by two unassociated unstable women, and Ronald Reagan was wounded by a mentally disturbed man who wanted to impress Jodie Foster.

Going farther back, President Garfield was shot by an mentally ill man who believed that the Vice President would reward him with a civil service job. All it takes is one person with a gun to assassinate somebody. I going to say the party i support is the American People, Please Im begging you just admit you are racist.

History; not the one you read in the class rooms of modern day Schools. Tell history in a way that its not offensive. Our country was founded on, how can i say this … On the backs of people, was stolen from people, denied and continue to be denied to others.

So a few Greedy people can profit. For some one to talk about sin, I must ask this question. Sir are you with out Sin, If so continue to throw stones. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated not murdered! Kennedy was assassinated not murdered! These people where considered a threat not to a poor white man who disliked people of color or a terrorist.

They was a threat to the people who wanted to keep the average American Male and Female from seeing the truth! When a person gains knowledge they are no longer ignorant they become aware.

Book Smarts do not equal out to common sense, which is not really common any more. You learn by sitting back and watching people, I do apologize for calling you a Racist but your remarks are in line to what this article is talking about that sense of being superior to others.

Just rhanting is what you doing. I know its not Dump. We have bigger issues in America than kicking Muslims out of our country and Mexicans and what ever type of people he uses to gain favor. Just look at all the HATE surrounding his campaign. Nothing good ever comes out of negativity. We as a country need to come together. Whats so different between the Poor and the Wealthy. We all Bleed the same color, We will all leave this earth when our time is up.

I dare you to care about others, kindness is the biggest weapon of all. For you to feel the way you do I believe this article offended you. But what do I Know im just a poor motherfucker from a Slave State. Excellent article, really hits the nail on the head in terms of the situation in America today. I have an interesting perspective to contribute, if I may. My father was much like one of the white underclass you mention. It was odd he even met and dated my mother Hispanic in the first place, but perhaps beauty got the better of him.

My dad was an honest mechanic, and perhaps because of that he was always broke. He made enough to keep the shop afloat which he built with his own hands, practically alone but not enough for much else.

I spent my childhood in a rather strange dichotomy. One side was my Hispanic family who were well respected among the community in a poor, primarily Hispanic neighborhood, in a rather comfortable house with a large yard that was always bustling with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. It was a comfortable life but money was never spent unless on something needed. The other side was my white family, consisting of my father, and my grandparents divorced, separated, and in different homes, yet who still hung around each other a lot for the sake of me and their sons.

My grandma lived in a four bedroom middle-class house in a nice area of town. My father, being uneducated barely finished high school , was unaware of the legal agreements ramifications.

He basically handed everything over without any sort of guarantee that he would be entitled to its wealth or earnings later on. At first things were good, as my dad worked for his best friend at his right-hand man, making comfortable amounts of money. It was during this time that he came into close contact with a primarily Mexican labor force.

He developed a deep respect for their everyday struggle because he knew it was the same as his. This led to significant tension as my dad saw it as a betrayal.

It was his property he had given up, and it was him who kept the business afloat by fixing machines when they broke, drilling foundation holes, keeping the other workers organized and directed. He was truly a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-all type guy. Realizing it was a futile battle, he abandoned it all and walked away. He met an immigrant wife from Moldova who made him very happy in his final years his relationship with my mom was completely finished sometime during my high school years.

He lived in a house in Gulf Breeze, FL, that was bought and paid for by my uncle also an airline pilot on the side. He had not a penny to his name when cancer took him in the spring of The thing that is most interesting to me is that, every time I can remember him talking about anything political, it was usually in favor of Republican candidates.

I think it was more about the narrative of the right vs. It had to be the narrative about hard work that so easily lulled him in to voting for Republicans.

All he knew was that he worked hard his whole life and was never rewarded for it. By the end of his life he seemed just so sick of it all. He just walked around meeting and talking with people, enjoying life for the small things. No one had to pay him to help the homeless man down by bay fix the boat he would sleep in. No one paid him to take a look at their car and fix the problem if he could. I like to think that because he understood this concept of selfless giving, of helping all of those people who were down on their luck including the homeless man , then he could understand the concept of why we need an economic and political system that works for us all.

I know he probably still would have voted for conservative candidates had he survived to this election, perhaps I could have easily changed his mind with a 30 minute discussion where I talk about some of the things mentioned in this article.

I know he would be able to relate because he pulled a complete on his views on Mexicans. I even saw a certain sadness in his eyes when he talked about my mom, as if he finally realized how petty all of those tensions that made their relationship dysfunctional were.

Nevertheless, I fear for what it means, in terms of the minds of the American people, if we pass up Sanders. Hang in there, Matt. Thank you, Colton, for sharing your story. You have given a perfect first person account of what I was speaking to when I wrote this piece. I have known so many men and women like your father and what you said is so dead right.

It triples the difficulty when the media who is supposed to tell the truth is part of the complicated machine. I imagine that brought him some comfort and peace. Thank you for the work you are doing in New York. Your story is deeply resonant with my own life experience, growing up in a tiny town halfway between Tulsa and Little Rock. What a great read — tremendous stuff. Thank you so much! Several others would be interested for sure. I do worry that many decades of racism and misogyny are now entrenched, despite the solidarity the guys in your Arkansas bar showed you.

Could have gone either way, right? Anyway, much gratitude for your thoughtful analysis of the problem, your effort to unify folks, and for the eloquent pride that whatever your working class roots some effective English teacher s or others passed along to you! I am sure many of our politicians, especially Bernie Sanders probably are aware of the information in which you speak in your article.

My small town has been drastically affected by the wealthy bringing in immigrants and forcing poor white workers to look for work and it has destroyed our town. Drugs are rampant, businesses closed, and all people see are immigrants form Mexico and Guatemala who have taken their jobs, and who have children living off the system. This is not a myth this is a reality, so many people see a man who has promised to give them back their jobs, bring back the old ways, when jobs were plentiful and times were great.

Why has Bernie not shared with the people of these areas his views on how he will help them work again, and share what you have written, why are politicians afraid to share this information. Your reference to wealthy Americans like Tyson bringing in workers during the recession was spot on that is exactly what happened in this small town, and there have been massive ripple affects.

I truly believe that bringing people together for a cause is the answer, but we need to speak in a language that all can unite under, we need someone who can speak to the progressive and the conservative and until we can find a happy medium we always have pitted sides. Great piece, I am a 28 year Army Veteran who likes Trump, and I do agree he is a Wealthy all for him Billionaire, but I also believe that we need to enact regulatory policies, rules and actions that enable our tax dollars to be used properly.

I like both Bernie and Trump, I think they both stand for true change, but I also believe that we will not see either of them on the podium during the coming elections.

Break it down further — on TV, talk shows vs. If you mean TV specifically, or better yet specific news organizations, please say so! I was about to thank Colton as well. Nor in your father. He understood in the end, right? Good to give back, even better when no strings are attached. And author Jonna Ivin is one in a million.. Heck, even that would be selling you short. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. And anyone slinging mud here needs to find a friend. I have one lol.

Second — Regardless of your skin color or net worth, I offer this rebuttal. And last but not least, meet one more of the many people who do care about you. Thank you for sharing your deeply insightful and personal story, Colton. I was about to share this article on Facebook, but have been struggling to adequately summarize the totality of the message and to do so in a manner that is also succinct enough to encourage as many people as possible to read it.

Then I read your remarks. Would you mind if I quoted your second-to-last paragraph with proper citation, of course as the header to my FB share of this article? Thank you so much for your story…it is amazingly thoughtful and educational at the same time! I am with you all the way brother! I know that Bernie is our only chance to correct this awful mess that we are all in! I, too, am scared that they are going to screw this up! I am trying to find Bernie signs to put up here in Nunda, NY! This is a small, rural community and they vote Republican!

It is always the have-nots who are the staunchest republicans and makes me shake my head! What is this March that you speak of? I would like to go! This was well-written and a powerful story, Colton. I firmly believe that education, income inequality, and a corrupt political system are all tied together. I know that having a strong middle class with disposable income will boost the economy: The United States is probably the wealthiest state on the Earth in the history of mankind.

It is incredibly frustrating to me that the slavery narrative, that the rugged individualism narrative, that the free-loader narrative continue to be perpetuated by the top — and then believed by the poor.

With proper education, that can be changed. He is not more of the same. None of the Republican candidates are suitable. Sanders is what this country needs. The premise that Trump is wealthy and therefore is going to be like a slave master and not care about others is a false equivalency. More importantly the premise that forms the basis of the conclusion Bernie is more economically like the majority he therefore must care about us was refuted by Sanders himself.

See for yourself the most racist thing said by a candidate so far: The bizarre, unnecessarily sexualised and highly racially-charged slur useful mainly for identifying people whose views can immediately be disregarded. The most racist thing said by a candidate so far? You would fit right in with the KKK. He said a temporary Ban in order to create a better system to ensure safety.. This has been done in the past by Banning people of other countries on a temporary basis.

This is not Racist, it is common sense. No one wants to put a complete stop to immigration, how is a wall racist? A wall is for security. If you read the article you will note that the Wealthy Americans purposely brought illegal immigrants to this country for their own financial gain, to exploit them.

Had they been legal citizens they would know their rights! Yes, it was done in the past and it was done for racist, ethnocentric, and xenophobic reasons. When compared to non-Arab and non-Islamic Americans, Arab and Islamic Americans have lower rates of violence and higher rates of education, wealth, and professional careers. In terms of both total numbers and per capita of each demographic, Americans are more likely to be attacked by a white Christian and then have their lives saved by an Arab-American Muslim.

This is because the kinds of Arabs that immigrate to the US tend to upper class professionals, not poor refugees. This is the kind of fact that Trump ignores in his race-baiting. His proposal of a wall is a distraction. No one is going to build a wall. All the Huns had to do was to bribe the border guards.

A border wall would be as pointless and destructive as the drug wars. Besides, building a wall would be a near impossible project that would be one of the most costly projects in US history. And only a complete idiot thinks the Mexican government is going to pay for it.

Anyway, undocumented immigration is at its lowest point in a long time. The US economy is bad even for undocumented immigrants. The only major wave of undocumented immigrants in recent history was those who were escaping the Honduran violence that the US government promoted by helping to overthrow a government.

They actually were refugees and ironically refugees of US policy that destroyed their country. If you want to stop such people ending up at the US border, the first thing to do is to stop promoting foreign policies that create political and economic refugees in the first place.

Instead of attacking the victims of our own policies, maybe we should change our policies. We have met the enemy and he is us. And wealthy Americans like Trump and many others love to scapegoat immigrants.

Immigrants make up large portions of the workforce on numerous industries, including agriculture and construction. Immigration opponents have long argued that immigrants are taking jobs that would otherwise be filled by Americans who are out of work, but numerous studies have found the contributions of immigrants to the U. Among them, 50 percent of Republicans support a path to citizenship for those already residing in the U. A Pew study released in found that the figure had actually reached net zero, and possibly less.

This means that any Mexican immigrants arriving in the U. Those factors included the weakened U. That was an increase from 39, in and 24, in Of those apprehended, 15, were Mexican. The most came from Honduras, at 18,, followed by Guatemala with 17, and El Salvador at 16, The rate at which Mexicans are moving to the US has been negative since in large part due to the economic conditions in both nations.

Low margin manufacturing requiring lots of manual labor is an endangered species in US and Europe alike. IMHO, if things are to be outsourced, keep it on the same continent. It makes logistics, planning, and a host of other issues much simpler as well as strengthening immediate neighbors. Construction of it would be tied up in legal battles long after he was out of office anyway. The only person Trump cares about is Trump.

Perhaps the truth is that Americans, collectively, are not very bright? Maybe a nation gets just the pizza it has ordered. Thorough and insightful though long! Your story is very informative enjoyed it a lot. It got me thinking of all the different ways we keep each other down doing the work for the upper class. We have a system in place of keeping us occupied with constant bickering and never solving anything of importance mostly equality in pay!

We fight over guns, marriage, health care, abortion, Democrat vs Republican, rich vs poor, But so seldom do we agree on anything. Which is ludicrous so many issues should be so easy. Should a person working 40 hours at Mcdonalds be able to pay rent and eat? Should a person working 40 hours have health care? Should every man woman and child have the same rights as others? How can any person on any side of the isle not say yes to all of the above? But people fight over these issues.

As long as we are busy fighting with each other. Wal-Mart, Mcdonalds, and every other employer gets to keep doing business the way they like! But what about what happened in the s? In , Congress passed a law essentially halting all immigration — with Samuel Gompers, the George Washington of the American labor-union movement, leading the campaign to have it passed.

Gompers wanted to create labor shortages that would drive up wages and give unions more bargaining power. By , unemployment was 1. And even when the Great Depression hit three years later, the lack of immigration prevented the economic carnage that would follow from being a lot worse than it actually was. Donald Trump is reminiscent of Samuel Gompers: Even a flat tax with no standard deduction or personal exemption would still need a discrete agency to administer it; Pennsylvania, which has such a state income tax, is living proof of this.

Thus Donald Trump is indeed a different breed of cat — so let him scratch out the eyes of the Ayn Rand crowd and win the GOP nomination. His polled support is extraordinarily broad — he draws almost equally from all demographics.

I think that his broad support comes from his nationalism. His positions stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the Presidential field, all of whom are globalists.

To avoid confusion, let me provide working definitions. A globalist is someone who seeks to balance the interests of their own country with the interests of the rest of the world. A nationalist is someone who seeks to put the interests of their own country ahead of the interests of the rest of the world. In many cases, advancing the interests of the rest of the world advances the interests of the United States as well, but the nationalist sees helping the rest of the world as a means to an end — advancing the interests of their own country.

His supporters know that companies are sending manufacturing jobs overseas, bringing in cheap imported foreign labor legally to replace them in the domestic workforce, and standing by while floods of illegal aliens self-import themselves to undercut their job opportunities.

Trump promises to oppose all that and try to reverse it. Trump says that our trade agreements are one-sided against us and are fueling the exodus of American jobs. His followers believe him, and he gains a lot of support from his promises to renegotiate our trade agreements to improve the value of American labor by American citizens in America.

Trump spends a lot of talk promising to build a wall. Yet if you read his policy papers he also talks about mandatory instant employment verification to make it virtually impossible for illegal aliens to get jobs with fraudulent paperwork.

The latter would be a hundred times more effective than the wall, but doubling down on the wall is a sign of commitment to his supporters.

There are a few other key issues in which Trump clearly differentiates himself from the rest of the field. But to return to the article itself, this may be hard to accept, but no one cares about class in America except for leftists. They see themselves instead as middle class people who are currently struggling. They hope to do better some day. They understand that in a free market rich people can become poor and poor people can become rich.

They understand that it is Socialism that cements people into those classes. Socialism is all about keeping the rich people rich and keeping the poor people firmly in their place, while ostentatiously showering them with benefits and handouts that really came out of their own pockets. The Trump phenomenon is really a throwback to the old-school American dream as opposed to the thin gruel of a compromise offered by the modern welfare state, where all the jobs disappear but you get a welfare check instead.

A check is a check?

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