Do poor people on the right not know they are poor?

Chew Toy McCoy

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Broad stroke generalizations ahead. It seems like every time a lefty starts mouthing off about wealth and opportunity inequality there are people on the right who are victims of it but still staunchly against changing it. It’s like when they hear about it they only envision a big city poor family (probably minority) within walking distance of jobs trees but they just refuse to work. Meanwhile they’re eating government cheese in a dilapidated house and the only reason they have that house is because its been in the family for 3 generations.

Are they actively being told that what liberals are proposing to battle wealth and opportunity inequality will only benefit poor liberals at the expense of poor conservatives?
 

JayMysteri0

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Broad stroke generalizations ahead. It seems like every time a lefty starts mouthing off about wealth and opportunity inequality there are people on the right who are victims of it but still staunchly against changing it. It’s like when they hear about it they only envision a big city poor family (probably minority) within walking distance of jobs trees but they just refuse to work. Meanwhile they’re eating government cheese in a dilapidated house and the only reason they have that house is because its been in the family for 3 generations.

Are they actively being told that what liberals are proposing to battle wealth and opportunity inequality will only benefit poor liberals at the expense of poor conservatives?
One opinion piece
It's always been a long standing approach to divide others so they don't focus on one's true actions.

Now that we have tribalism even more in politics, it makes that divide & conquer strat even more effective to the point that some will zealously vote against their best interests willingly. ACA anyone? :unsure:
 

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Broad stroke generalizations ahead. It seems like every time a lefty starts mouthing off about wealth and opportunity inequality there are people on the right who are victims of it but still staunchly against changing it. It’s like when they hear about it they only envision a big city poor family (probably minority) within walking distance of jobs trees but they just refuse to work. Meanwhile they’re eating government cheese in a dilapidated house and the only reason they have that house is because its been in the family for 3 generations.

Are they actively being told that what liberals are proposing to battle wealth and opportunity inequality will only benefit poor liberals at the expense of poor conservatives?
And what in the world is their attraction to a man who was born a millionaire and has done nothing but laugh, mock and scoff at them his entire life?

If anyone figures this one out I would love to hear it.
 

lizkat

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And what in the world is their attraction to a man who was born a millionaire and has done nothing but laugh, mock and scoff at them his entire life?

If anyone figures this one out I would love to hear it.

Some like that he lets his racism hang out... with a guy like Stephen Miller in the actual White House, it's pretty clear Trump's all in on that stuff. Only the US Prez can appoint a policy director on the WH staff.

Others like it that he mouths off to anyone who looks crosseyed at him... because when they've had jobs they were not in a position to do any such thing and keep that paycheck.

Others like it that he disrespects women in power and generally lets his misogyny hang right out there especially if a woman challenge him on something... anything... or you know, if they keep right on breathing even after he disrespects them.

All those things are kinda Walter MItty things, so yeah, a kind of projection. They fantasize having the power Trump has to do what he's been doing for four years, even though he's been signing exec orders the whole time that try to take more of their own rights and future prospects away. Go figure. Feelings aren't facts but they go great with a beer down the end of the bar with some equally broke pals.
 

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Broad stroke generalizations ahead. It seems like every time a lefty starts mouthing off about wealth and opportunity inequality there are people on the right who are victims of it but still staunchly against changing it. It’s like when they hear about it they only envision a big city poor family (probably minority) within walking distance of jobs trees but they just refuse to work. Meanwhile they’re eating government cheese in a dilapidated house and the only reason they have that house is because its been in the family for 3 generations.

Are they actively being told that what liberals are proposing to battle wealth and opportunity inequality will only benefit poor liberals at the expense of poor conservatives?

Partly this, yes, but I would also put it down, partly, to the unscrupulous, irresponsible, hateful (but clever) way Mr Trump has played the "identity politics" card, or stoked what have been referred to, as the "culture wars".

So, yes, they do know that they are poor; and here, with this question, I assume that you are referring, in the main, to poor white (males).

However, what unites them with other poor people, (those of other races, or ethnicities, for example, or women), is, to their way of thinking, a lot less than what divides them, divisions (such as race, - and indeed, gender - rather than social class) that have been exploited with extraordinary skill by racists such as Mr Trump.

In other words, their "tribe" (from which their identity is derived and affirmed) is "white", (rather than "poor"); they tell themselves, and are persuaded to tell themselves, that they have more in common with other (aggrieved) white males, irrespective of social background, than any of them have with people of colour - or women - for people of colour, and women are, by definition, the inferior, and lesser "other", the "other" who used to be subordinate to them in culture, in socio-economic life and in law - who may be facing similar (but not identical) socio-economic challenges and problems and whose lives - and life chances - are limited by deliberate curtailing of access to socio-economic (and educational) opportunity.

So, they will never feel "poor", while they can still feel "superior" (and aggrieved), or, while their need to feel superior (and aggrieved) - to people of colour, to women - is indulged, inflamed, stoked up, and fed monstrous (yet comforting) falsehoods. Ad Mr Trump actively feeds this stuff.
 
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Chew Toy McCoy

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Some like that he lets his racism hang out... with a guy like Stephen Miller in the actual White House, it's pretty clear Trump's all in on that stuff. Only the US Prez can appoint a policy director on the WH staff.

Others like it that he mouths off to anyone who looks crosseyed at him... because when they've had jobs they were not in a position to do any such thing and keep that paycheck.

Others like it that he disrespects women in power and generally lets his misogyny hang right out there especially if a woman challenge him on something... anything... or you know, if they keep right on breathing even after he disrespects them.

All those things are kinda Walter MItty things, so yeah, a kind of projection. They fantasize having the power Trump has to do what he's been doing for four years, even though he's been signing exec orders the whole time that try to take more of their own rights and future prospects away. Go figure. Feelings aren't facts but they go great with a beer down the end of the bar with some equally broke pals.
I’ll throw some of the 2016 Trump supporters a bone that isn’t tied to some -ism. They liked his “the politicians have failed you!” rhetoric. They probably felt his verbally steamrolling over the other Republican candidates at the debates was a masterful performance of a lifetime.

To this day there are still Trump supporters who aren’t playing the partisanship game and blame all politicians across the board. I get that, but what I don’t get is the “he’s a successful businessman” reasoning. And I’m not talking about how he’s a laughingstock amongst his peers or his shading dealings. You know how successful businessmen at his level get there? By screwing your working class ass over. You know the head of the company or corporation that laid you off, how about we have that guy (or woman) lead the country. Can I count on your vote?
 

JayMysteri0

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I’ll throw some of the 2016 Trump supporters a bone that isn’t tied to some -ism. They liked his “the politicians have failed you!” rhetoric. They probably felt his verbally steamrolling over the other Republican candidates at the debates was a masterful performance of a lifetime.

To this day there are still Trump supporters who aren’t playing the partisanship game and blame all politicians across the board. I get that, but what I don’t get is the “he’s a successful businessman” reasoning. And I’m not talking about how he’s a laughingstock amongst his peers or his shading dealings. You know how successful businessmen at his level get there? By screwing your working class ass over. You know the head of the company or corporation that laid you off, how about we have that guy (or woman) lead the country. Can I count on your vote?
I think that's the one thing that sticks in my craw about the whole "all politicians are bad" defense/deflections. Because 9.9 out of 10 times, those individuals aren't backing 3rd party options, but the establishment or what's as close ( people with the last name of Rand ) as possible. The politicians are all bad meme often only comes out, when you've ripped apart the politician they were just stumping for in the thread, and don't want to be called out anymore.

Similar to what I see of 99.9% of the supposed independents who voted for 45, will again, and vote R straight ticket.

If one wants to pull the "all politicians are bad" card, you better from the jump have in it for politicians of both sides, or it just looks like you are trying to talk out of both sides.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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I think that's the one thing that sticks in my craw about the whole "all politicians are bad" defense/deflections. Because 9.9 out of 10 times, those individuals aren't backing 3rd party options, but the establishment or what's as close ( people with the last name of Rand ) as possible. The politicians are all bad meme often only comes out, when you've ripped apart the politician they were just stumping for in the thread, and don't want to be called out anymore.

Similar to what I see of 99.9% of the supposed independents who voted for 45, will again, and vote R straight ticket.

If one wants to pull the "all politicians are bad" card, you better from the jump have in it for politicians of both sides, or it just looks like you are trying to talk out of both sides.
A friend of mine is big on 3 things. Well, more than 3 things but these are the 3 things that are pertinent here. Climate change is something we need to radically act on now. Democrats are far better than Republicans on everything, but especially climate change. Stating sources and reliable data. It’s practically impossible for me to have a topical discussion with him without him busting out his iPhone to search a person or source I just mentioned to see if they are respected and reliable.

This morning I texted him a podcast episode I thought would be right up his ally. It’s on climate change and full of naming sources. It shares his viewpoint on climate change, but what I purposely didn’t warn him about is at least the first half hour (because that’s as far as I’ve listened so far) is full of information on Democrat politicians only giving lip service to climate change. It includes an Obama exit speech bragging about how the US had become the world’s biggest oil producer on his watch. We live in CA and my friend was waxing poetic on how great Gavin Newsom is on climate change. The podcast even plays Newsom’s recent speech on how the CA fires and droughts are proof that climate change is real and happening now and we need to do something about it. Meanwhile Newsom has singed off on thousands of CA oil drilling permits since he’s taken office. It talks about how Pelosi preemptively blames Republicans before even trying to present climate change legislation similar to Republicans telling people they need to go take up their financial issues with the poor.

I’m curious how my friend will take it or if he’ll even make it all the way through, documented and well sourced proof that his beloved Democrats only differ from climate change deniers in rhetoric. They might as well be the same person when it comes to what really matters.
 

iMi

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They are brainwashed and effectively subjugated with emotionally charged arguments. I’ll share two examples.

One, food stamps... Vast majority of food stamps are consumed by white, poor people in rural red states. That’s a fact. Republicans, meanwhile, spin it as an “inner city“ problem. It’s a false narrative, but it plays to the racist ideas that somehow black and brown people get preferential treatment.

Second, liberal states and “entitlements.” Republicans love to talk about liberal policy and how democratic states are the reason why we have a deficit. First of all, social security is funded 100% by direct paycheck withholding and you have to work in order to qualify for benefits. Second, if liberal states stopped contributing to federal revenue, red states would have no funding for their food stamps and other social services. But it’s the “them against us” non-sense they have been selling to uneducated, rural folks.

So, yeah... instead of thinking and acting in their best interest, they vote based on highly charged, emotional and I’d say primitive instincts. Tribalism. You see it everyday. They will take our guns. They will take away your right to practice religion. They will take your job. It never ends. Add little anxiety surrounding race and “culture“ and you’ve got yourself a devotee who will vote as you wish.
 

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Do poor people on the right not know they are poor?
hi,
its a good question.

however, i would like to change the focus of the question from "poor people" → "anybody".

i have learned this in life:
you can make USD 20,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 120,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 12,000,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.

i mean every word of the above.

the truism of "no matter how much you have, its never enough" is very very true.

it has to do with consumption (how that money is used).

buy more stuff. want more stuff. wealthy people know this (or else they will come to know it at some point).

so lets focus on the other end. the people making less money than many.
in your phraseology, the poor.
do poor people... not know they are poor?
the answer is yes. they do, and no they don't, if they are able to have a basic amount for heatlh care and food and other truly human necessities, then any amount beyond that just puts them in exactly the same conundrum as so called wealthy people.

there is truly a basic human level of need, in order to feel human.
but anything beyond that is just how you manage your expectations/consumption vs what you can afford.
its the same for both the "poor" and the "wealthy". no distinction between these two groups at all.
 

iMi

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hi,
its a good question.

however, i would like to change the focus of the question from "poor people" → "anybody".

i have learned this in life:
you can make USD 20,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 120,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 12,000,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.

i mean every word of the above.

the truism of "no matter how much you have, its never enough" is very very true.

it has to do with consumption (how that money is used).

buy more stuff. want more stuff. wealthy people know this (or else they will come to know it at some point).

so lets focus on the other end. the people making less money than many.
in your phraseology, the poor.
do poor people... not know they are poor?
the answer is yes. they do, and no they don't, if they are able to have a basic amount for heatlh care and food and other truly human necessities, then any amount beyond that just puts them in exactly the same conundrum as so called wealthy people.

there is truly a basic human level of need, in order to feel human.
but anything beyond that is just how you manage your expectations/consumption vs what you can afford.
its the same for both the "poor" and the "wealthy". no distinction between these two groups at all.

Studies show that the “happiness” threshold is about $70,000. Impact of income on happiness can be reliability measured up to that point. Beyond $70,000 in income, there seems to be very little difference. That’s objectively speaking. I suppose the question would be whether or not being happy could be equated with being satisfied or feeling rich.

It’s all very subjective. Someone making $200K will be considered rich by some, while they themselves may think they are “middle class.” Where you live matters, too. Making $100K living in the middle of Kentucky where cost of living is relatively low may be seem like you’re rich. While making the same in New York or California would make you feel poor.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Partly this, yes, but I would also put it down, partly, to the unscrupulous, irresponsible, hateful (but clever) way Mr Trump has played the "identity politics" card, or stoked what has been referred to, as the "culture wars".

So, yes, they do know that they are poor; and here, with this question, I assume that you are referring, in the main, to poor white (males).

However, what unites them with other poor people, (those of other races, or ethnicities, for example, or women), is, to their way of thinking, a lot less than what divides them, divisions (such as race, - and indeed, gender - rather than social class) that have been exploited with extraordinary skill by racists such as Mr Trump.

In other words, their "tribe" (from which their identity is derived and affirmed) is "white", (rather than "poor"); they tell themeless, and are persuaded to tell themselves, that they have more in common with other (aggrieved) white males, irrespective of social background, than any of them have with people of colour - or women - (for people of colour, and women are, by definition, the inferior, and lesser "other" - who may be facing similar (but not identical) socio-economic challenges and problems and whose lives - and life chances - are limited by deliberate curtailing of access to socio-economic (and educational) opportunity.

So, they will never feel "poor", while they can still feel "superior" (and aggrieved), or, while their need to feel superior (and aggrieved) - to people of colour, to women - is indulged, inflamed, stoked up, and fed monstrous (yet comforting) falsehoods. Ad Mr Trump actively feeds this stuff.
Assuming poor people feel they deserve government handouts in this statement, I think black people feel they deserve it because of slavery and racism and white people feel they deserve it because (in their head) their ancestor's contributed to making this country great (by their definition). Both views are a sad version of legacy inheritance and avoiding personal responsibility. If you reanimated their ancestors from 100+ years ago I don't think any of them would be pleased with where their poor descendants are and would place blame on society but also on their descendants. There's a fine line between being systematically oppressed and just putting out minimal effort, but for a long period of our history putting out minimal effort got a lot of people comfortably by. Those days are over. But unlike boot strap Republicans I don't blame low ambition simple people. Every time I ask them if everybody suddenly went to college where would all the great paying jobs be I get crickets in response. They really can't deal with problems of scale.
 

SuperMatt

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hi,
its a good question.

however, i would like to change the focus of the question from "poor people" → "anybody".

i have learned this in life:
you can make USD 20,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 120,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.
you can make USD 12,000,000 per year. and you can feel rich. and you can feel poor.

i mean every word of the above.

the truism of "no matter how much you have, its never enough" is very very true.

it has to do with consumption (how that money is used).

buy more stuff. want more stuff. wealthy people know this (or else they will come to know it at some point).

so lets focus on the other end. the people making less money than many.
in your phraseology, the poor.
do poor people... not know they are poor?
the answer is yes. they do, and no they don't, if they are able to have a basic amount for heatlh care and food and other truly human necessities, then any amount beyond that just puts them in exactly the same conundrum as so called wealthy people.

there is truly a basic human level of need, in order to feel human.
but anything beyond that is just how you manage your expectations/consumption vs what you can afford.
its the same for both the "poor" and the "wealthy". no distinction between these two groups at all.
A musical tribute to that truth:

 

lizkat

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Similar to what I see of 99.9% of the supposed independents who voted for 45, will again, and vote R straight ticket.

I just read a piece in The Hill (ok so consider the source there, and also the fact that it's reporting on a new national Fox News poll, conducted Oct 27-29 by a Republican and Democratic pair) that doesn't agree on indies for 2020. It said that independents went for Trump by 1% margin in 2016 but in the current poll the indies were a small subgroup but were going for Biden 54-32.

“Biden has the advantage among key groups, especially seniors, suburbanites, and independents,” said Shaw. “Trump needs a few more points out of these groups to win re-election. But the main impediment is the stubborn stability of the race; it hasn’t changed much all year despite pandemics, economic collapses, and massive social unrest.”

 

Scepticalscribe

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I think that's the one thing that sticks in my craw about the whole "all politicians are bad" defense/deflections. Because 9.9 out of 10 times, those individuals aren't backing 3rd party options, but the establishment or what's as close ( people with the last name of Rand ) as possible. The politicians are all bad meme often only comes out, when you've ripped apart the politician they were just stumping for in the thread, and don't want to be called out anymore.

Similar to what I see of 99.9% of the supposed independents who voted for 45, will again, and vote R straight ticket.

If one wants to pull the "all politicians are bad" card, you better from the jump have in it for politicians of both sides, or it just looks like you are trying to talk out of both sides.

The "all politicians are bad", or "they're all the same" only comes from the mouths of those who are attempting to defend the indefensible, to explain away and excuse the egregious, on their own side, because - if they manage to make that narrative stick, and persuade the electorate that the "other side" are at it, too, - then, it will mean a dull and glum acceptance of appalling standards (which will become a new norm of accepted political behaviour and conduct) and a reluctance to examine such lapses or make someone (or some administration and their enablers) accountable for these actions.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Assuming poor people feel they deserve government handouts in this statement, I think black people feel they deserve it because of slavery and racism and white people feel they deserve it because (in their head) their ancestor's contributed to making this country great (by their definition). Both views are a sad version of legacy inheritance and avoiding personal responsibility. If you reanimated their ancestors from 100+ years ago I don't think any of them would be pleased with where their poor descendants are and would place blame on society but also on their descendants. There's a fine line between being systematically oppressed and just putting out minimal effort, but for a long period of our history putting out minimal effort got a lot of people comfortably by. Those days are over. But unlike boot strap Republicans I don't blame low ambition simple people. Every time I ask them if everybody suddenly went to college where would all the great paying jobs be I get crickets in response. They really can't deal with problems of scale.

In western Europe, the trope of the "deserving poor" hasn't been all that fashionable - meaning the elites don't dare give voice to such a sentiment too loudly - since the 19th century; government support is a right, not something bestowed on the "deserving" poor, whether they feel it merited or not.

Mr Johnson (and some of his Tory predecessors) in the UK are something of an exception, as is his clear contempt for the poor.

However, in Europe, precisely because the social class structures were so deeply rooted, so extraordinarily entrenched, so impervious to change, (revolutionary politics, and occasional revolutions notwithstanding), only the state could serve as an agent - or vehicle - to effect the belated and necessary and long overdue social and economic and political change.

And, when that finally did come about - through - among other things, the social and public policies enacted by the parties of the left and centre left, - it came about because parties of the left, such as socialist or labour parties, social democrats, were finally elected to public office. And that, in turn, only came about because these were the political parties that had evolved, developed and emerged from the eventual extensions of the franchise in the 19th and 20th centuries, to less well off social classes, the lower middle class, the working class, the rural poor, and women, whose economic, social and political needs had not been represented (let alone recognised) in any meaningful way by the older, conservative, parties, not least because they had had no compelling need to want to attempt to do so.

Thus, even the state (ever so reluctantly) accepted that poverty was not the fault of the poor, and that awful, that ghastly distinction between the "deserving poor" and the "less deserving" poor, became a lot more muted and a lot less pronounced in public and political and cultural discourse.

Therefore, I would argue that class politics (and social and political identities - and political parties - that are derived from that) are somewhat more salient - and relevant and obvious - and thus, politically expressed (although less sharply defined than before) in western Europe, than they are in the US, where the obvious "tribal" or division or definition of identity, - for economic, cultural, social, legal, historical, and political reasons - has long been race.

In the US, therefore, it is both interesting and instructive to see how race overshadows - intersects with and sometimes robustly reinforces - other forms of deep, structural, systemic discrimination, such as social class (and indeed, gender).

In recent decades, in the US, I would suggest that the "American Dream" (which those at the bottom could comfort themselves with, dream about, hope for, work towards, as the class divisions found in Old Europe were not as strictly defined or enforced in the New World, but which, nevertheless, managed to craft, construct and maintain a pretty rigid class system all the same), has become a lot harder to achieve.

The "ladders" (educational, economic) that used to exist, to allow social and economic progress, or movement, or transformation by way of ascent - while, they still exist (barely), - are, these days, a lot more difficult to access, let alone climb, than they used to be.

While the existence of these ladders served to give the impression that to make a "success", or "failure", of life, were matters of private choice - rather than public policy - at least, to some (limited) extent, they did exist, and their existence allowed for some sort of social mobility (even if it was always a lot less then the cosy myth of the American Dream might have implied).

Perhaps it is inevitable in a political culture, a socio-economic culture, that emphasises identity as a matter of race (at the expense of class, by seeking to ignore, or overlook, or deny, the latter), and argues that poverty is a consequence of personal choice (rather than public policies) - that people prefer not to define themselves as "poor", and feel that they have little in common with others who are "poor", for, under the defining conditions of Tribal Identity - or "imagined community" in the US, to admit to being poor, or, to define oneself as poor, means internalising the values of your society, and those values insist that this is your choice, and your fault.

So, those on the right (especially if they are white males), while they may well know that they are poor, they will not - for reasons found in their culture - admit to this, and will instead find reassuring identity in cultural "tribes", or "communities" that still permit them (nay, encourage them) to look down openly on people of colour, and on women.
 
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lizkat

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The Republicans' definitions and stereotypes have long since started to fall apart (which is one of the reasons the RNC didn't formalize "a platform" for 2020 but merely affirmed support for the person of Donald Trump).

For instance, what really should be thought of a so-called superpower nation in which just the billionaires added nearly a trillion dollars in total to their nest eggs during the global pandemic, but fully 40% of the population still can't scrape together $400 in cold hard cash for a financial emergency?

Are the cash-poor really poor? A lot of them would not have been thought of as poor at least prior to 2020 because they were making good money. They just don't have any liquidity and do have a lot of debt... not just mortgages and cars and college loan debt but straight up American consumerism debt. The response of the Trump administration to that situation has been to undo some of the restrictions on banks so they can make a buck lending money to people who probably cannot afford to repay it...

But the truly poor, among them some who do regard themselves as left behind by departed industries --and who are also of course cash-poor-- are the ones the Trump administration has not cared about except to encourage them to join in rallying around a President who likes to style himself as persecuted. And that tactic of course feeds into their projection of their own situations onto his very different one in the real world.

Sure Trump's government came up with Farm to Family food boxes ... into which they put letters from Donald Trump touting his own generosity. Those letters are such a concern to the nonprofit food pantries --regarding politicization issues as violations of the Hatch Act-- that they have to spend hours pulling the letters out from underneath all the foodstuffs in the boxes before handing them out, sometimes with a substitute note saying the food is financed by the taxpayers via the USDA, a government agency of the USA. The taxpayers are helping foot the bill for a bailout of farmers whose livelihoods were disrupted by not only the pandemic but by shortages of immigrant labor and by the backfiring of Trump's trade war fetish. Meanwhile Trump tries to take credit for the existence and distribution of the foods in those boxes.

The same administration has attempted to defund programs like Home Heating Assistance and Meals on Wheels for seniors. It was unclear to me at that time what the point of such gestures was. After all, it was entirely predictable that they'd be unpopular moves if enacted, since they're obviously just cruel and don't amount to a lot of money anyway.

Since then though, one may well ask whether a major focal point of the administration under Trump has been to emphasize the potential of the federal government to be cruel --as desired, and on demand, by Trump and his inner circle of policy directors.

So is the message there that the poor need not always be with us? That seems to have been the message also at least some of the time about those who are dying from covid-19. That they are somehow weak, so no big deal if they vanish.
To me all these things are ways the Trump White House reveals itself to be on some kind of fascist head trip, and a huge set of reasons to vote them all out of office in the coming week.
 

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What is poor? As a people, Americans are about as happy as they choose to be.

Really? The poor --like the rich-- are more likely to encounter happiness than to succeed in either hunting it down or telling themselves "hey this right here right now yeah this must be it."

It's true that if you are poor, you may have moments as happy as those of a wealthier person so long as you have basic sustenance and shelter.

But please don't tell me you think a single mom up on a mountain can be "happy" if she can just "choose to be happy" when discovering that her car won't start on a winter morning to take her to a fast food manager's job 40 miles away.

Oh sure, she's just like me discovering I could "choose to be happy" in the city having missed the express train to Wall Street, but I had other options, like taking the local train, or a taxi... and she has nothing but the promise of being fired if she's late to work one more time, and the problem of how to get the kids to the school bus regardless of all else.

Some choices are harder to get around to making than others, ya think? "Choosing happiness" can be right up there.

I'm not sure that rally-level Trump supporters in 2016 or now either have been looking to "choose happiness" anyway. The ones who voted for him four years ago because he wasn't a regular politician weren't looking for happiness. They were looking for someone to blame for their problems, which is a whole other thing. Trurmp suggested Obama...

Trump further helped them normalize blaming other people for everything wrong in their lives. And surprise, surprise, he and they are still engaging in that practice. It can feel really great to let it all hang out, never mind how destructive that can be. But neither he nor they are "choosing happiness". He's picking scapegoats and his followers are cheering him on, refusing to connect constructively with the reality of their own lives and with Trump's complete disconnect from those realities.

Does that make it impossible for the poor to be as happy as the rich? Nope. But it can make it impossible for the perpetually self-indulgent --of their inner rage-- to encounter happiness, regardless of their material wealth.

I don't think the poor on the right who are Trump supporters think of themselves as poor. They think of themselves as persecuted, just like they think Trump has been persecuted during his presidency. In other words, they bought his pitch -- hook, line and sinker. They think Trump's on their side because he too has an enemies list and isn't shy about shouting it out. He's their hero.

Trump will even survive his followers' flip from hating losers --as he says he himself does-- to loving him more because in his impending loss he'll transcend that ugly status of "total loser" and become the icon of their self-inflicted martyrdom. I rather fear the doomsayers among media analysts are correct in suggesting that a Biden administration will not spell the end of the Trump era. His supporters are ready to flip that switch from loyal political followers to loyal icon worshippers. And the media are addicted now to phoning it in, whatever "it" is that Trump says or does. It beats working for a living. I'm giong to cancel most of my newspaper and magazine subs after the election, starting with the ones that give more space and time to Trump than to an incoming Biden administration.

And yeah I think Biden has a lock on the election. Most of us really do know how to choose happiness. It ain't Trump.
 
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