By John S.
Ten years ago I was just a 30 year old, working-class republican, sitting in my car on a lunch break. I had been taking in a heavy dose of conservative radio, and this day was no different. I can’t remember who was on the radio at the time, but they started off by calling people on welfare “queens” and ended by complaining that they had to push 1 for English on an ATM.
That was the day I burned my GOP card. This vilifying of the “other” from right wingers was nothing new, so what had changed in me that made it finally register? The answer lies in critical thinking and skepticism. When I wasn’t watching FOX “news” or listening to Rush (the shock jock not the band), I was devouring every podcast I could on the topic of reason.
I found myself yelling at my car radio, “We don’t have a national language!” I have Hispanic friends and I know real people on welfare. I didn’t stop watching FOX that day but I started listing. They called young black men in hoodies “thugs”, every southern immigrant was a “Mexican stealing your job” and gay people getting married was an abomination. Nobody was safe, not atheists, Muslims and especially not liberals.
It was a targeted attempt to blame all of the worlds problems on everyone that wasn’t white and on the right. It worked. The working class in- particular was especially susceptible to the rhetoric, having a long standing culture of bigotry. A culture I was very familiar with having been a white working class man for over a decade.
The “why” it turns out is pretty simple: fear of a brown planet. The GOP can’t exist in an America where whites are becoming more liberal as our population becomes more diverse. They rely on fear and hate to keep their flock angry and voting.
As it turns out, the real problem is that we the people gave the keys to the kingdom over to CEOs and banks. The 1% legally buy politicians on both sides of the isle. Even the “left” (I’d argue the Dems are center right) lost their high ground when they abandoned the working class. Wonder why you never hear FOX vilify the rich?
We are now left in an America where right wing extremism is on the rise and bigotry is so normalized that strangers are emboldened enough to spew hate in public. An America that voted for a morally bankrupt, bigoted idiot because he made promises to the struggling working class. The bait on that hook was racism towards Mexicans and Muslims. Nobody had any reason to believe the man.
The left is thankfully being taken over by progressives (vilified by the right and left) who refuse to take corporate money or super PACs. Their biggest affront? They want their taxes to pay for your kids healthcare and education. Terrible, I know. At least the faces representing our future look like America. Our great country of “others”