Thursday, November 10, 2016

USA, USA and Lock Her Up - tribal anthems

Friends on the left denounce me as part of the Democratic establishment which betrayed the workers who now voted for Trump.  If only the Dems had gone far left, the white workers who voted for Trump would have followed.  I doubt it.  I don't see this as a working class rebellion. Rather it is a tribal uprising by whites - primarily those living in overwhelmingly white communities. As the Times points out today the biggest growth for Trump was in a belt of overwhelmingly white communities from Maine to Montana.
Tribal loyalties are fact-resistant. Rationalizations well up in the face of anything that challenges the tribal view. Tribal loyalties long outlive the facts that created the bond. The founding histories become myths, epics, and epochs.
White people have had the upper hand in America since before the founding, which they now see as heroic, its Constitution (that contradictory compact with the devil) is seen as scripture. Now they see themselves as the disadvantaged, and are first to chant `USA, USA', feel beleaguered and short-changed - especially by minorities and others who benefit from programs to aid the poor. Their own benefits (Medicare, home mortgage interest deductions, etc.) are seen as merited entitlements. They live in doubt about the future, and are anxious about the present.
They resent people with advantage as alien. I grew up in the archetypal 100% white post-war suburb -Levittown. I went to college, worked for myself as a lawyer and now teach at a law school, living in Manhattan. No I am resented (right and left) as a member of a supercilious "elite". Of course I was born into privilege - white privilege. The mystery is why did they fall for a guy who really came from privilege, who pays no taxes, etc. White nationalism - the evil spirit that emerged from the Trump campaign, to which people committed as they chanted USA, USA, and Lock her up!

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