American Shithole #14 — Defending the Deplorables and Facing Fears
by Eric Wilson
Ah, the deplorables. How I once loved to loathe thee — even though I knew it was wrong.
I understand now that my desire to witness your internal struggles on full display as the reality of this criminal administration unfolds — it was driven by a position of indifference that I had taken to your pain. Pain I felt you deserved. I entertained fantasies where you were sobbing uncontrollably in front of your broken-down trailer homes with several of those ridiculous confederate flags flapping in the wind, as Trump and company were led away in handcuffs. I believed you deserved to suffer.
Humans do not deserve to be in pain.
After experiencing great suffering, we rarely wish that particular experience on anyone else. For example, I would not wish the final two years of alcoholism on my worst fucking enemy. I certainly shouldn’t wish any pain upon you, even though your actions have shaken the foundations of our democracy.
I know this isn’t all your fault, hapless deplorables. You’ve been manipulated, you’ve been grifted, and you’ve been dumbed-down for three generations. Additionally, in the last twenty years you have been whipped into a perpetual frenzy by ultra-right-wing mouthpieces paid handsomely to champion division and foster discord.
Basically, you’ve been provided a billionaire-sanctioned turd sandwich, and since it’s the only sandwich you’ve ever known, it’s not surprising you eat shit with such gusto.
Who knew that the ass-end of American super-capitalism could taste like so much freedom.
Don’t fret deplorables, you’re off the hook; mostly. Blaming you for America’s collapse would be like blaming Yoko Ono for the breakup of the Beatles. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Sure, she was there. She didn’t help matters any. Everyone else was blaming her — but it was the people with all the money making all the bad decisions that caused that band’s demise.
In news that should surprise no one, and the impetus for this week’s post, a recent study revealed that the white folk who voted for Trump — particularly the poor, rural, disenfranchised conservatives that are the focus of this column — did so due to their fear of losing racial status over any economic concerns.
First off, how someone with half their teeth, a third-grade education, and splotchy, meth-ravaged skin can stand barefoot in the dirt out front of a dilapidated double-wide worrying about their racial superiority being in jeopardy, is beyond me.
I would assert however, that fear itself is the more important issue rather than the focus of that fear.
Before I get to that though, I revisited American Shithole to date, and I can see where some people get the idea that I am an angry person. If you only knew me through my political articles, I can understand how you could make the case that I am at risk for hypertension. At least that seems to be the consensus from my (extremely liberal) mother’s conservative friends to whom she (gleefully) insists on forwarding this column.
I’ll take circulation any way I can get it, but I imagine that seeing American Shithole in their inboxes every week is akin to receiving a flaming bag of poo on their doorstep every Thursday.
“That boy is filled with hate!” I imagine they say, sipping lemonade, standing in the atrium overlooking the smoldering sack of liberalism I have deposited on their front porch.
Nothing fills me with joy quite like the idea of my mom terrorizing her conservative friends with my column each week. I love you mom, you’re the best.
Look, most people in this world are largely ignorant of most things — I too fall into this category, despite my best efforts — and the overtly ignorant scare easily when exposed to things they do not understand.
The deplorables in question are not only uninformed, they are also misinformed — intentionally so — and therefore some of their values are misguided. Unfortunately, the majority of the working class Trump supporters are completely unaware that they are being duped, and their cognitive dissonance provides even further cover, along with the echo chambers of social media.
In that sense, I think it will help in our effort to right this ship if we come to understand that this predicament we are in, is not their fault. They have been effectively rendered offline to our efforts.
I draw the line at the billionaires; as this most definitely is their fault. I understand they are merely the result of nature hating a vacuum — and capitalism provides the space for them to exist — but they invariably choose to turn their backs on the suffering of humanity, and I find that unforgivable.
As you might have noticed, I don’t like to let a column slip by without taking an opportunity to impart just how much I despise billionaires, and how convinced I am that either they go, or humanity goes.
As far as the deplorables are concerned, with access to better information, and education, Americans by and large would make better decisions. This is a given. It is an important point to hammer home that these Americans are largely voting against their own best interests. I believe that fact is a strong argument against culpability, if not responsibility.
Ignorance of the law may be no excuse in the American legal system, but in the court of public opinion, I believe it would serve us well to reserve our anger and shame for the manipulators, not the manipulated.
Namely, the Koch’s and the Mercers of the world.
It’s not like deplorables are getting anything out of this nightmare. You have to be very misinformed and very scared, to be such a disservice to your own interests.
So yeah, I’m angry — but it’s not an anger driven by fear. Yes, I am angry. It’s 2018. Mainly, I am angry because millions of these cow-fucking hillbillies are still afraid of the dark. An inference to the color of skin, as well as all the shit they don’t know.
But I don’t blame the deplorables for this mess.
A bit of breaking news for you — conservative white people — in case a few you took a left turn at Albuquerque and found yourselves here:
Your horrible behavior of late does not hide the fact that you are terrified (which is what you really don’t want anyone to know), so feel free to knock it off. We know you are terrified of losing your privilege — the privilege you continue to deny even exists. You are terrified of the changes in the world around you, the changes that always seem right at your doorstep, forcing you to readjust your deeply ingrained beliefs.
Changes are coming whether you like it or not.
In the end, you are terrified of your own ultimate meaninglessness in the universe, and the general meaninglessness of your daily lives — because like all humans, you deeply desire purpose.
So, in your desperation, you voted for a showbiz circus orangutan whose only qualifications were that he screamed the loudest and threw shit bombs absolutely everywhere — oh, and he told you that you were special.
You are not. None of us are. You certainly aren’t special to him, and when this is all over, you will still be left with your fear.
Do you remember when you first thought about death? When you first thought about the nature of the universe, and your place in it? You were probably pretty young. Do you remember how that fear washed over you like a wave? A tidal wave of fear it can be, sometimes — the early venture into the unknown.
Many of us eagerly accept a spiritual belief in those early days, one that alleviates the anxiety caused by that terrifying experience. In the years that follow we build walls around that belief system to protect it, as it in turn protects us from that fear — and behind that wall many of us imprison our own curiosity — sealing our fate for an unexamined, and ultimately I would argue, meaningless life.
Have you fallen into a pattern of avoiding your fears as an adult? That’s okay, dear reader, it happens to the best of us.
Next time, maybe stay in the moment. Let it develop. Let your mind wander and explore the fear-inducing stimuli. Let your curiosity take over and see where it leads you. The effort may beat you back at first, but don’t let that deter.
It’s not easy as an adult, either; I get that. Facing fear is a pain in the ass, and we are not wired for it. Most of us have well-developed tactics to stave off these uncomfortable moments. I still fail when faced with some particularly troublesome phobias — hell, I jumped out of an airplane to face my fear of flying — and decades later I still avoid air travel unless I absolutely have no choice in the matter.
You might lose some of these battles.
It is also very unlikely I will ever have a pet spider, but that’s not keeping me from a vacation in the Netherlands — so, some phobias are more debilitating than others. Pick your battles. Let the tarantulas win.
Remember, it really is never too late. Unless people are gathered around you eating catered food, and you’re the only one lying down and not talking, it’s never too late.
Embrace that fear! Once fear turns to curiosity, the experience creates opportunities. Opportunities in the now, that were likely unclear through the hazy fog of anxiety. Fear blinds you to the future, binds you to the past, and paralyzes you in the present. I believe that a healthy relationship with fear is a requirement for living a consequential, purposeful life, grounded in the now.
For me, the now is the other side of addiction. The now is also new opportunities created by being able to accept, even embrace disability; which is strange, but that is how it worked out for me. Doors that were invisible are open, as others have closed.
This year, I have embraced an opportunity to connect with you, dear reader, and each week here at Literate Ape it is my honor to do so. This would not have come to pass had I not been willing to plop my butt down in a puddle of fear and splash around a bit.
Before I get too preachy, or throw my shoulder out patting myself on the back, I just want to suggest again that you allow your fear to turn into curiosity, and stay in the now. Don’t be like the deplorables. Let your fear evolve into something that works for you, not against you; your world will be richer for the effort.
Also, if you love the deplorable lives matter coffee cup, that and a hundred other items just like it are available on Amazon. Bezos could always use a few bucks. Late-stage capitalism knows no shame.
I understand that David Hogg really gets under people’s skin. I know many progressives that wrinkle their nose at the very mention of his name. I look at it a bit differently, and it might be because I see the effect these young people are having as an ultimate fuck you to power. This recent post from David not only cracked me up, it genuinely reflects the effect they are having on some truly awful people. The caption read: Kids vs the NRA this November. #USAoverNRA
My thoughts are with you every day, dad.