Poor and white in the USA

Why the Left doesn’t get it By William Bowles

Book Review: ‘Deer Hunting With Jesus - Dispatches from America’s Class War’ By Joe Bageant
We meet a ‘self-made’ property millionaire as thick as two short planks (and illiterate to boot) who nevertheless is looked up to by the very people he rents his clapped out clapboard houses out to simply because he’s ‘succeeded’ where they have failed. ‘Failure’ in America is very, very personal, that is to say, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough. Yet, as Bageant points out, even the very poorest who receive government assistance work at least six months of the year. ‘Workfare’ supports, if that’s the right word, only those who fought very hard to get it and are loathe to see it spread even more thinly than it is already.

It explains a lot about the psyche of working class Americans and why they can be manipulated, apparently so easily by the rapacious pirates in power. Simply put, there is no sense of the collective whatsoever, a view borne out by my own conversations with working class people when I lived in NYC and hung out in a scuzzy bar in East Harlem, where, during one evening of drinking, I got into a conversation with a young Puerto Rican guy who worked in Mount Sinai hospital and he told me, with desperation, “This has got to be the best of all possible worlds.”

And it’s a view that’s not lightly challenged, and with good reason, after all, if you think life consists of nothing but you against the rest of the world, then in challenging that perspective, you are inevitably questioning something that is fundamental to every American, the possibility of Success (the Capitalist version). To challenge the notion that the US is the best of all possible worlds is simply a step too far and in my opinion, explains much about why Americans consistently vote in a government that screws them up the yazoo, big time, every time.