There has been much ado in recent months about middle America, the silent majority, fly-over country or any of a dozen names you have heard. The people who live here and comprise this demographic are white, they are middle class(at best), and if you believe large parts of the punditry they are ignorant. The first two stipulations are hard to dispute out side of urban city states, however the final one is only partially true. They are not ignorant because they are uneducated or stupid. Though they certainly could be, the funny thing about individuals is they tend to very quite a bit from each other. Rather their ignorance, the ignorance that has fueled Trump’s rise is the same insidious ignorance that left leaning people wallow in, this is identity politics, and a perverse pride in aspects of your person that generally do the least to define who “really are.”
These associations are almost always with negative personality traits, or at least things that are perceived that way. They may start out as jests, in fact they often do. I’ve even been known to call myself a hillbilly once in a while, and also accept this jest from my coworkers. However the more we hear these things and the more we allow ourselves to be defined this way, the more in turn we begin to believe that this is how we are defined. The most obvious example on the political right is the “Deplorables” and this also gets to the point that I wanted to make today.
It’s this belief and buy in that has led large parts of the political right to become infected with the victimhood complex traditionally belonging to the left. Now the right has begun embracing and playing to this claim of victimization. We see this with the rise of populism and the “Alt-Right.” It’s not your fault, you are the victim of the coastal elites. It’s not your fault, its the capitalist CEOs who sent your factory job to Mexico. It’s not your fault that XYorZ thing happened, it’s the fault of globalist liberals. You can not be responsible for the things that happen to and around you because you are the only one not receiving a government hand out.
This fallacious belief should not be accepted any where on the right. This is an absolute repudiation of conservative values. We are the sum of all of the beliefs and experiences that shape us, and accordingly no one thing can explain or define us as human beings. I am not refuting that everyone catches some tough breaks at one point or another, but none of the things that make us intrinsically who we are entitle us to anything.
Unfortunately it is too late to stop this belief in our own victim status from being incorporated into the right wing message. So we must begin instead to fight back against it. The best way to do this is to embrace everyone as more than just their traits. You are not just a red neck,you are who you are. You are not just a gun nut, you are who you are. You are not just a christian, you are who you are. You are not just the job you work, embrace the totality of yourself. If you don’t know who are or haven’t decided then take some time and just think about it. What do you believe and why? Only by this process of getting to know and then sharing ourselves in our totality can we stop ourselves from becoming everything that we rightly despise about the classist, intersectional, oppression Olympics progressives.