So I'm about to become what I hate- someone who's writing an obscenely long post. About politics no less. Gross. Anyway, here goes.
We need to talk, far-left liberals. Don't get defensive, now. Just breathe. Take a seat. It's all going to be ok. I love you. I'm on your side and yes I voted for her. I'm not here to mock you or cut you down. But we need to talk.
We need to talk about you, and how you're perceived outside the urban bubbles that you tend to populate. It appears that you've spent so much time worrying about what the rest of the world thinks about you that you forgot to worry about what the rest of THIS COUNTRY thinks about you.
I can hear you already: "Oh yeah? Fuck those rednecks! We don't need em! They're all a bunch of sexist homophobic racist anti-semitic xenophobic goat fuckers anyway!"
Those people do exist, but It's really not that simple. Please allow me to explain.
We're divided right now, and the line in the sand isn't between black and white, or north and south; It's between urban and rural. And I'm one of the few people I know (and you know) who's intimately familiar with both cultures. I grew up in rural white america, and I've spent the majority of my adult life in New York City.
All night and day, people have been pulling their hair out trying to figure out how it came to this. How could THAT FUCKNG GUY get elected to the Oval office?
The most commonly presented explanations include:
"This entire country is racist!"
"This entire country is sexist!"
Again, I'm not saying those people aren't out there, but this a largely false generalization. Most rural people, as you'd expect, are pretty simple. But they're normal. The men just want to go to the plant/factory/rig/pit/garage, work their hours, and come home to their simple wives who have a simple warm meal ready for them.
No, really. Not every guy is destined to move to the big city and chase after lofty childhood dreams, and not every woman is meant to become an alpha female freedom fighter feminist badass. The simple life might not be for you or me, but it's preferable for millions of people in this country.
So why'd they vote the way they did? How'd she lose sure thing states like Michigan and Wisconsin? Because those people felt as if that life they'd become accustomed to was under attack. I know that this notion sounds silly to us in the city, but it's a very real idea to them. Rural America has been so beaten down economically for decades so badly that there just aren't many good jobs left there. Until you've seen someone try to raise a family on $12.50 an hour, don't be so quick to judge them.
I can hear you again: "But Phill, it's assholes like HIM who had a hand in outsourcing all their jobs!"
You're not wrong, and I'm going to get to that in a second. But first we need to talk about the thing I opened with- perception of liberal culture to everyone that's NOT within a 25-minute drive of a major city.
Uber-progressives like to fancy themselves as an all-loving group that welcomes all, but that's only true to an extent. Liberals don't hate people based on gender, race, sexuality, body image, or hair color, but they do hate people based off of one key attribute- worldview.
Urban and Rural might as well be recognized as two different languages. When I moved to New York, I had to re-learn the meaning of words like "privilege," "appropriation," and "trigger." Words that quickly and often get weaponized when someone disagrees with someone else, but they'd rather not have an actual conversation. Here's an example.
"Hey have you seen Tom?"
"Nah, he's running late."
"Pfft! What a fag."
"What.. did you.. just.. say?"
"Do NOT fucking use that word."
"It means you hate all gay people. You're a homophobe."
"I don't hate-"
"YEAH YOU DO! YOU HATE GAYS!"
"No... I don't. Tom's my friend. That's a thing you say to-"
"NO IT ISN'T STOP OPPRESSING EVERYONE AROUND YOU WITH YOUR PRIVILEGE!"
This goes on for another 15 minutes, typically. And it always ends in that person being labeled a racist, a sexist, or some other name. And that's exactly what it is- name calling.
Seriously, have you ever called someone one of those things and had them calmly go
"Good point. I'd like to join your political party? Who should I vote for?"
When you attack people who aren't actually homophobes, misogynists, and racists for supposedly being those things, you're not helping your cause- you're just alienating people who were probably on board or at the very least neutral in the first place.
Now let's apply that concept to our rural friends I described above. Let's say for a moment that you were a swing voter living in a rural midwestern town and ever since the auto industry collapse, you've had a tough time. You've burned through all your savings, had to sell your car and ride your bike to work year round no matter what the weather is, and you're eating a ton of Ramen noodles. Your life isn't what it used to be, and you're frustrated.
One day, after a hard day at work, you tweet a meme that you thought was funny to a friend, and this meme had a mild gay joke in it. A couple minutes later, some random kid from New York tweets you calling you a homophobe. He then proceeds to call you a loser and says that you're not "woke." Just for good measure, he leaves an #imwithher at the end.
Later that night on TV, you see an absurd cartoon character of a politician who's screaming something to the effect of
"Don't worry, you can say whatever words you want with me, AND I'll get you a better job. Vote for me!"
Honestly, who's party you going to vote for?
Eeeeeexactly. And they don't give a fuck which guy in a suit outsourced them the first time, they just want their jobs back. Their simple lives.
There's been a lot of blame and finger pointing the last day or so. But if you want to know where to actually place the blame, it's time to take a long hard, self-righteous look in the mirror. Cause this one's on you.
The rural population doesn't hate you- in fact a lot of them watch movies that take place in New York and LA and fantasize about visiting! But what they don't like is the incredibly smug and dismissive attitude that is often thrown their way- the fact that they're referred to as "flyover states" is actually pretty fuckin insulting.
I know it's hard to imagine, but this is exactly how they felt eight years ago- dejected, scared, and mad as hell. They felt left out, saw an opportunity to stick it to the cool kids, and stick it they did.
So where do we go from here, now that the sky is apparently falling? Well for starters, try not to insult and look down upon potential allies and potential voters. Be more welcoming. Be excited to share the cause with people and help them understand, and do it with a smile on your face.
The progressive causes are worth fighting for. I know that your hearts are in the right place. But it's time to stop sharing the ideas AT people, and start sharing them WITH people. Anyone with half a brain will be on board, but only if the message is delivered with love and not with hate