JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

A definition: Idiot rural white voters

It seems my last post—or two posts ago—generated a bit of steam. So I wanted to elaborate.

By Idiot Rural White Voters, I mean, well, Idiot Rural White Voters. They’re the ones who think the Republicans are actually talking to them when they refer to “government handouts” and “keep your hands off our paychecks.” So why are they idiots (in this area)? Because the politicians are not talking to them. They’re not even talking around them or above them. Hell, they’re not even in the room.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Keep the government out of our pockets,” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. Hell, anyone who follows this stuff knows no Democratic officeholder (at least any that I know of) have called for middle-class or lower-class tax hikes. This is fact.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Obamacare needs to go! Obamacare needs to go!” they’re talking directly to the health care industry, which—as a whole—donates millions upon millions upon millions to political campaigns, one-off advertising, etc. While Obamacare—in its present mediocre form—is far from perfect (thanks to the demise of a government-provided insurance plan—which, as a guy who pays $1,400 monthly to Blue Cross Blue Shield, I would have loved), it benefits, more than anyone, the lower- and middle-class citizen who has been priced out by the evil (and they are friggin’ evil) health care companies. There is absolutely no reason for a lower- and middle-class American to loathe universal health coverage the way my idiot rural white voters loathe it. I mean, quite literally, it makes no sense. Zero. Zip. None. But they listen and, like sheep, nod. Baaah. Baaah.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “Paul Ryan’s plan is the answer!” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. Really, Paul Ryan’s plan is the answer? For many Americans, Medicaid and Medicare and the only available protections. You’ve worked hard your whole life, you lost your job or your sick or … whatever. It’s all you’ve got. So when you see Ryan speaking and nod appreciatively, well, you’re an idiot. Because he’s not speaking to you. Or even about you. He’s just hoping you believe him.

When the hard-core right Republicans scream, “We need to lower taxes to stimulate job growth,” they’re talking to anyone but the family pulling in $50,000. In fact, they are literally gambling on idiot rural white voters being idiot rural white voters. They want you to think lower taxes=jobs for you. No, no, no. First off, all Bush did for eight years was lower taxes. And here we are. Second, by “lower taxes,” what the Republicans are demanding are across-the-board lower taxes. Translation: Tax reductions for corporations and our wealthiest doners, with the hope (which I’m quite certain most of the politicians know won’t come to fruition) that the savings will trickle down. In other words, they’re thinking that if a person worth, oh, $100 million receives a greater tax break, he’ll hire more people. When, in truth, he either (A) Won’t even notice; (B) Will use the money to buy that beach house in Malta.

Look, there are plenty of idiots to go around. White. Black. Republican. Democrat. Me. You. But I am sick and tired of greed ruling the day. There was a time when genuine sacrifice carried this country; when people were willing to give back and actually pay taxes to support to government. There was a time when people believed—as they still should—that the government can be there to help the poor and struggling among us; that there are necessary programs out there.

Something, however, has snapped. We’re a greedy, selfish people. Not all of us, but far too many. We also happen to be gullible beyond belief. Am I disappointed in Barack Obama? In many ways, yes. But at least, I believe, my disappointment is based upon a foundation of righteous ideals. I want a president who helps people; fuck, I want a country that helps people. I want him to ease the burden of the burdened; to think of the struggling first, the big-bellied donors second.

Alas, it doesn’t happen. Even.

We are broken.