Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The back row in America

Chris Arnade, a Wall Street bond trader, had a pretty lofty view of himself. He was an atheist, and a progressive. This is from his new book, "Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America," Sentinel, 2019.

"Like most successful and well-educated people, especially in New York City, I considered myself open-minded, considerate, and reflective about my privilege. I read three ­papers daily, I watched documentaries on our social problems, and I voted for and supported policies that I felt recognized and addressed my privilege. I gave money and time to charities that focused on ­poverty and injustice. I understood that I was ­selfish, but I rationalized. Aren’t we all selfish? ­Besides, I am far less selfish than others. Look at how I vote (­progressive), what I believe in (equality), and who my colleagues are (people of all races from all ­places)."

And so he begins traveling, photographing and talking to "back row America" and discovers that those in the front row don't have all the answers.

You can read this excerpt on-line,

Chris Arnade writes for many publications.  In this article in the Guardian he is skin color focused, and he blames Trump for exploiting the pain and humiliation of the poor [but not Hillary?].  However, he gets a lot right in this article published shortly before the Nov. 2016 election--why Trump is supported by the working (and not working) poor.

"She was blunt when I asked her about her life. “Clarington is a shithole. Jobs all left. There is nothing here anymore. When Ormet Aluminum factory closed, jobs all disappeared.” She is also blunt about the pain in her life. “I have five kids and two have addictions. There is nothing else for kids to do here but drugs. No jobs. No place to play.”

She stopped and added: “I voted for Obama the first time, not the second. Now I am voting for Trump. We just got to change things.”"

And Trump is changing things, and that is terrifying for the progressives who are willing to give away the country economically, socially and culturally. What he says about education rings true to me.  Who would want to give up their position at the top?

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