Trump supporters are not in fact suffering disproportionately from the flight of manufacturing jobs overseas, or competition from immigrants. They might not be poor themselves, but they live in places that are in a state of crisis, where the pathologies of the white working class are manifesting themselves in visceral ways: heroin overdoses, single-parent families, rampant opioid addiction, vast swaths of adult men on disability and out of the work force. It’s no wonder they feel like something has gone horribly wrong in their country. It has—but not quite in the way they suppose.Indeed. Stop enabling the dysfunction, you get less of it.
On the other hand, fifty or sixty years of affirming the authenticity (a euphemism for "behaving badly") of people in straitened circumstances behaving badly, rather than as a matter of education and public policy, inculcating the habits of the middle class, brings us to a pass where the "successful people feel so different."National Review runs another excerpt from J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy -- it's on the Cold Spring Shops shopping list, but there are car repairs first -- from which it becomes evident that the one transgressivity that isn't celebrated is great ambition. (And that might include in sports, too, something that isn't true in the 'hood.)
I may not have known multiplication that day, but when I came home and told Papaw (my grandfather) about my heartbreak, he turned it into triumph. I learned multiplication and division before dinner. And for two years after that, he and I would practice increasingly complex math once a week, with an ice cream reward for solid performance. I would beat myself up when I didn’t understand a concept, and storm off, defeated. But after I’d pout for a few minutes, Papaw was always ready to go again. My mother was never much of a math person, but she took me to the public library before I could read, got me a library card, showed me how to use it, and always made sure I had access to kids’ books at home.Hillbilly attitudes took a long time to emerge. Recognizing the evolutionary disadvantage they confer might also take time. As might a populist Republican Party, and a more explicitly technocratic and gentrified Democratic Party.
In other words, despite all of the environmental pressures from my neighborhood and community, I received a different message at home. And that just might have saved me.