Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant~ Dispatches from America’s Class War
Welcome to our first Politic 101 book discussion everyone! Let’s kick things off lightly with a couple of general observations about DHw/J. Been reading the Australian edition which was published in 2007:
First, Team Obama convinced enough rednecks in Virginia to act on “This year we’re votin’ fer the nigraahhh.” to deliver VA’s 13 ECVs to BHO. This is a remarkable achievement as VA was the former Capital of the ante-bellum South. The prospect of a President Sambo Macaca was so far off former GOP VA Senator George Allen’s radar as short a time ago as the 2006 Mid-Terms, that Georgie Boy thought he could publicly slag a “darkie” at a deep woods rally and expect to get only votes and kudos from such a blatant act of bigorty. But bigotted George was too much for “decent” Virginians in 2006 and the voters shunned him like a political leper. And justly so! Two weeks before E-Day 2008 in neighbouring Ohio— which Obama also won;
“The Hardest Vote,” by George Packer (October 13, 2008) wrote:
Recently, people in Ohio have told me that voters there have started to shift toward Obama. Gabe Kramer, of the S.E.I.U., said that, after the first Presidential debate and amid the financial crisis, union members seemed to find Obama’s ideas and manner more persuasive than before. But even if Obama wins he will still have to overcome the deep skepticism of struggling Americans
Then came E-Day;
|Candidate||Party||Votes||Pct.||Change from ’04||Electoral Votes|
Table Source: New York Times
Secondly, Joe Bageant is writing about what he knows and loves; his people and his place and how his people and his patch have been systematically oppressed and degraded over the course of his lifetime. After thirty three years in the profession, many as a “big city” editor, Joe is an extraordinarily good writer with an ace raconteur’s turn with a story and a fine ear for dialogue:
From page 95 …
Nobody stands up for people like her (Nance) unless a few of them get crushed under a seam of coal, thereby providing the required emotional grist for the nightly news. Only right wing politicians appealing to their religious prejudices and ignorance on behalf of big money pay any attention to them. If you hang around real working class places very long,……you’ll see that decent working folks seldom talk politics or current events except during the final weeks of an electon and when prompted by lefty agaitators like me or grassroots neocon Republican operatives—people who understand that the four cornerstones of the American political psyche are:
- emotion substituted for thought
- ignorance, and
… to me the most profound sort of blindness in heartland America is born of innocent trust in our system
So when American/Virginian rednecks* are politically inattentive by design and they are force-fed Limbaugh and Fox as media staples, it is all the more remarkable that Obama swung 7.2% of voters, (most of them rednecks, I venture) to vote for him a few short months after HRC whupped him in the VA Dem primaries, and after the saturation coverage of Obi’s crack about rednecks “clinging to guns and religion” when they were “under stress”.
Anyway, there’s a great deal to discuss, mes amis, so it’s over to you.
*Bageant differentiates between rednecks and “white trash”. Rednecks will never take a “hand-out” from anyone whereas “white trash” will accept help from where ever it comes.