Last week on my Facebook account, I posted links to five books I am reading. I finished the first, The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Author Katherine J Cramer, a UW-Madison professor, provided an insightful post election interview to the Washington Post explaining the Trump victory. A New Theory for Why Trump voters are so angry - that actually makes sense.
I am not so sure it is a new theory for those of us in the Badger State, but it does make sense:
That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power... Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff, that they weren’t getting their fair share of public resources. That often came up in perceptions of taxation...And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect.
The book I am reading now is Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.
Also the work of a sociologist who left a progressive university city (Berkeley CA, not Madison in this case), Arlie Hochschild went to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Read her book and learn why people toiling in the worst poisonous petro-contaminated conditions disdain the EPA.
The next book sitting on the nightstand is:
The Unwinding of America: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. When you get through the cartoons, always make it a point to look for any article Packer provides to the New Yorker. Two weeks before the presidential election he wrote Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt: The Democrats lost the white working class. The Republicans exploited it. Can Clinton Win it Back? I went back and reread the piece the morning after the election, It was as though Packer had written it AFTER the fact and had the insight of the results.
...the political scientist Samuel Huntington published his final book, “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity.” He used the term “cosmopolitan élites” to describe Americans who are at home in the fluid world of transnational corporations, dual citizenship, blended identities, and multicultural education. Such people dominate our universities, tech companies, publishers, nonprofits, entertainment studios, and news media. They congregate in cities and on the coasts. Lately, they have become particularly obsessed with the food they eat. The locavore movement, whatever its benefits to health and agriculture, is an inward-looking form of activism. When you visit a farm-to-table restaurant and order the wild-nettle sformato for thirty dollars, the line between social consciousness and self-gratification disappears. Buying synthetic-nitrate-free lunch meat at Whole Foods is also a way to isolate yourself from contamination by the packaged food sold at Kmart and from the overweight, downwardly mobile people who shop there. The people who buy food at Kmart know it.
Snarky footnote from me:
That's why I threw out the 2009 plan for a Madison public market that focused on expensive prepared foods for tourists, and insisted on one that sold vegetables with dirt on them, like carrots, beets, and tomatoes. Yes, there will be prepared foods, quality, prepared and wholesome foods, but the merchants and the shoppers served will be less than cosmopolitan elites.
In a month or two I will post the other two books.