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‘Hillbilly Elegy’: The Forgotten Americans Who Love Trump

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‘Hillbilly Elegy’: The Forgotten Americans Who Love Trump

A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in the city of Baotou, in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region October 31, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo - RTSMVQ1

His name doesn’t even appear in the book.

But make no mistake. “Hillbilly Elegy,” the new bestseller by J.D. Vance, is, in a very real sense, about Donald Trump. More to the point, it’s about the people who have made his unlikely run for the presidency possible.

It is also, not coincidentally, a book about being invisible. Not H.G. Wells invisible, with objects seeming to float in mid-air. Rather, Ralph Ellison invisible, when you are right there in three dimensions, but somehow, unseen.

First and foremost, though, Vance’s book is a memoir about growing up hardscrabble and white in clannish, insular communities in Kentucky and Ohio. It was a tough, unstable life. Vance was in and out of his mother’s house — she was a drug user with a procession of boyfriends and husbands — and was raised mostly by his grandparents — “Papaw” and “Mamaw.”

Mamaw was no June Cleaver. A gun-toting “lunatic” with a menthol cigarette forever dangling from her lips, she was rumored to have once almost killed a man who stole from her family. Her favorite descriptive term was the verb form of the F-word. But her love for her grandson was iron.

That grandson did a hitch in the Marines, went to college, went to law school at Yale. But he never lost a certain tough-minded pride of people and place.

“I may be white,” writes Vance, now a Silicon Valley investment executive, “but I do not identify with the WASPs of the Northeast. Instead, I identify with the millions of working-class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent who have no college degree. To these folks, poverty is the family tradition — their ancestors were day laborers in the Southern slave economy, sharecroppers after that, coal miners after that, and machinists and mill workers during more recent times. Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks, or white trash. I call them neighbors, friends and family.”

In other words, Vance’s people are Trump’s base. And the book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand Trump’s appeal. “Hillbilly Elegy” is a compelling and compassionate portrait of a people politicians seldom address and media seldom reflect.

They love Trump because he sees them.

Yes, he’s a racist clown who lies like bunnies copulate. Yes, he appeals to their lowest selves, to their hatreds and fears. But he sees them and speaks to them, something neither Democrats nor Republicans do. When you feel yourself forgotten, when work and hope have fled, when you live by a tough-minded pride of people and place, yet also by a whisper of embarrassment that your people and place are so often sick, unschooled and hungry, the simple fact of being seen and spoken to is powerful.

The one great flaw in Vance’s book is a disingenuous near-silence on his kinsmen’s attitudes about race. And a passage wherein he claims their antipathy toward Barack Obama has “nothing to do with skin color” but rather, with the fact that he is “brilliant, wealthy, and speaks like a constitutional law professor” is flat out intellectually dishonest.

Obama is hardly the first politician to be smart, rich and well-spoken. He is, however, the first to be hounded into producing his long form birth certificate.

Still, that flaw does not outweigh Vance’s triumph, which is to give substance and dimension to those America has made invisible. Democrats, Republicans and media struggling to comprehend the forces that have upended politics should be asking themselves a question. Donald Trump shattered the paradigm because he sees J.D. Vance’s people.

Why is he the only one who does?

Photo: A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in the city of Baotou, in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region October 31, 2010.     REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo – RTSMVQ1

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 28, 2016

    A most interesting article and one which I’ve pondered about at different moments in my life on different levels.
    First, I was amused by Al Capp’s comic strip character, Li’l Abner, and his mom “Mammy Yokum”, and others. As a black youth, I was amazed that such a group of people existed who had a hard way to go but had a different social environment.

    Later, while growing up in Jim Crow Jackson, Miss. I saw the same phenomenon played out in real life and wondered as a boy why they were physically and mentally separated from “us”, even to the point of being buried in segregated cemeteries, worshiped the same God but were mandated to do so in separate churches, went to separate schools, rode in separate parts of the bus, etc.—all while being poorer that my parents and our neighbors, most of whom had attended and finished segregated colleges, yet restricted in movement nonetheless.

    The Trump phenomenon underscores the parallel yet separate lives still lived. Only this time, “Jim Crow” imposes its will on the minds of many of my white brothers and sisters who support Donald, and not by law but by some post-hypnotic suggestion, and an anti-Christian notion that they must continue to support the mantra of “Separate but Equal, but in more “acceptable” terms.

    This all boils down to the insistence on wanting to stick with the tragically false supposition of “The Inequality of The Races”, formalized in writing by a “white” brother Joseph Arthur de Gobibeau, and later bolstered by the quasi-scientific and quack conclusions of Sir Francis Galton, a highly influential British statistician and polymath.

    The works of these two, and many others, is a big reason we live in a society that subconsciously and consciously in large measure is split, each of the major players in America thinking that the other are fundamentally separate species of the same Human Race.

    (It’s interesting to note, as a side-bar, that an organization referred to as “The Nation of Islam” has been audibly silent during these ordeals lately. It too responded to social forces of hate and suspicion, and a notion of inequality that caused the late Elijah Muhammad(formerly Elijah Poole) to succomb to the wiles of the mysterious Fard Muhammad, a light-skinned man of Syrian(?) descent who proposed a separation of blacks in America from whites. The N.O.I. represented(represents) a knee-jerk reaction that forced them to devolve into a similar trap of racial distinction, with myths regarding their special place in human society and even convinced of their superiority—again, to counter “white superiority”).

    1. Jon August 28, 2016

      Trying to follow the reasoning and rationalizations of the white supremacists/nationalists requires extraordinary mental gymnastics and acceptance of scientifically discredited theories and beliefs as facts. It becomes frustrating trying to debate a person whose “facts” have no basis in science, religion, or basic humanity. I see the same twisted thinking in many of the Trumpies who are regular contributors to the discussion here. They call names, disparage, belittle, and lie rather than debate based upon established facts. To the extent they pretend to engage in factual argument, the source of their “facts” is usually The National Enquirer, Sean Hannity and Bill O’ Reilly and their fellow coconspirators at Fox News, Breitbart News, Judicial Watch and similar extreme right wing media sources. I simply cannot believe the hillbillies referred to in the book are not racists. I don’t doubt that they have lived a hardscrabble life for generations. The problem is they are largely uneducated, struggle to earn a decent living, and insular to a degree. You often find racists and hate clubs under these circumstances. They need a scapegoat to blame for their hard lives and limited opportunity to improve their situation. The scapegoat is anyone whose skin is a different color, whose religious beliefs differ from theirs, whose accent or dialect is different, and the government they feel has abandoned them to their situation. They lack the education, knowledge, and sufficient contact with those outside their area to learn that that there are good and bad people in virtually every group of people no matter how you categorize them. Because of their lack of education and sufficient contact with others who are different from them and need to blame somebody else for their situation in life, a demagogue like Trump who is telling them they are right to blame minorities, a corrupt government, illegal immigrants , democrats, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton for creating the conditions in which they live, seems like the 2nd Coming to them. They lack the education and world experience to spot a demagogue and evaluate just exactly how it is that he will improve their lives.

      1. cthetruth August 28, 2016

        A person of my heart. Very well said and the best analysis I have heard to date.

    2. JPHALL August 28, 2016

      Yet now the N.O.I. supports Trump! Their leader, Farrakhan now spends his time denigrating Clinton instead of American society. The main reason, Clinton is a woman and women cannot be leaders on true men. How sad the N.O.I. has sunk so low!

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

        I had a chance to meet “Shorty”, the late Malcolm X’s long-time friend. Shorty(Malcolm Jarvis) died some years ago, and was an amiable person—I wish I had spent more time with him, except that he had become afflicted with the N.O.I. messages.

        During my 2nd visit to his home in Boston he had already started to show a marked decline of rationality by spouting some of the myths and quasi-theories which are stock material for the N.O.I. and its supporters. It was hard to carry on a conversation because he was so consumed with their ideas, and I’m allergic to that sort of stuff and had to fade away from his sphere.

        On another occasion, I and a couple of others had the misfortune of attending a talk given by Farrakhan that was nothing short of a rambling rant against his perceived detractors, both within mainstream Islam and in mainstream America. Those were two hours I would gladly like to have back.

  2. Dominick Vila August 28, 2016

    Honestly, they are not all Hillbillies. Trump supporters include people who have lost their jobs as a result of outsourcing; those who have been left behind as a result of the emergence of new technologies, especially the impact of robotics on the workforce; those whose lack of formal education and skills prevent them from qualifying for the good paying jobs that are being filled by foreign professionals entering the country with H1b visas; and those consumed by ethnic and cultural hatred. They are either overwhelmed by events that are beyond their control, or so filled with fear and hatred that they are willing to support a man who has outsourced jobs, instead of investing at home, and a man whose solution to our social problems is to emulate the actions embraced by the Fuhrer, Stalin, and other despots, to get even with those they perceive to be the reason for their misery. The fact that most of their problems are influenced by the decisions they have made, does not make a difference to them. The want simple solutions, and Trump is delivering exactly what they want to hear.

    1. charleo1 August 28, 2016

      Some of Trump’s supporters are made up no doubt of those that have been economically left behind by globalization, automation, and a lack of opportunity in a particular region of the country. But a lot of his supporters are doing just fine. And so have no excuse for supporting Trump’s lying bigoted demagoguery, other than their own personal well cultivated animus toward the people Trump singles out in his hate filled rantings. All a clear attempt in bringing Neo-Nationalism back into the mainstream of American politics where good people of conscience banned this kind of poison that dwells within the Republican Right more than 60 years ago now. Probably because we had just fought a horrendous World War to rid Europe of much the same thing only a decade earlier then. Or because they were just better, wiser, and more aware of where this kind of thing leads, for what they had just experienced. And I’m well aware how partisan this sounds. But today’s RW base is as White as the driven snow, and dumb as box of rocks about these matters. And of course, wear that ignorance like it’s a badge of honor. As if it somehow gives them entry into this very exclusive, even secret, club.

      1. marriea August 28, 2016

        And dealing with the likes of Trump, those dumb rocks will quickly become gravel and sand.
        They might end up being an exclusive club all right. To used as material for waste.

        1. charleo1 August 28, 2016

          I almost feel bad for the poor fools. Worshipping Trump, while basically being that something or other Trump would ordinarily scrape off the bottom of his shoe. It’s so pathetic, it hurts.

      2. wjca August 28, 2016

        In general, while Trump’s supporters are not doing badly, they are afraid that they will be soon. And that their children will do less well in life than they have. In short, it’s not the present that scares them; it’s the future that they think they see.

        1. charleo1 August 28, 2016

          And so, the great political epiphany on the Right is they’ve finally figured out the Politicos they’ve been trusting in, and believing their horse crap, and voting for in the GOP. Are in fact, nothing but a gaggle of lying, water carrying shills, for the same filthy rich one-percent-ers that have been given free reign in rigging the economy that has screwed them over for the last 40 years.
          So now Trump trots out and admits he’s been buying them all, and rigging the economy to make himself rich for years. And they treat him as if he’s some heroic truth teller, for, get this, revealing what the Left, which of course they would rather die than spit on. have been telling them, and anyone who would listen for years.
          So why aren’t they supporting Democrats? It goes to a lot more than economics. And falls a lot closer to race, isolationism, and
          ethnic based Neo-Nationalsm than Trump being the smartest man alive.

          1. wjca August 28, 2016

            That they are afraid is why they are supporting Trump.

            What they are afraid of is a variable mix. For some, it’s race, for some it’s religion, for some it’s simply change. Or it can be a mix of any or all of those. But it doesn’t really matter what it is they fear, since Trump has managed to punch all of the buttons.

          2. charleo1 August 28, 2016

            That certainly is the truth.

    2. TZToronto August 28, 2016

      There’s also a healthy portion of “getting even” with those they blame for the circumstances. So they flock to Trump because, finally, someone with a soapbox it telling it the way they see things–that they have been deprived of jobs because they are white, jobs for which they have been overlooked because people with formal education (and few practical skills, they believe) have cut the line. For many of them, this is their opportunity to stick it to those “effete intellectual snobs” who would dare to preach equality for people who have already been elevated above them by way of affirmative action, something they view as preferential treatment for the unworthy. And why are they unworthy? Well, someone finally has the guts to tell their truth. The unworthy are black people and, more recently, Hispanics, labeled by Trump as driven by immorality and, by and large, engaging in rape and drug dealing. Getting even will bring the Eastern elites to their knees and put the unworthy in their subservient place. Once these people are put in their place, Trump’s zealots will be elevated to their well-deserved

      1. marriea August 28, 2016

        The problem with those Eastern Elites is: TRUMP IS ONE OF THEM.
        Why can’t they see that?

        1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

          Well there are elites and there are elites. Trump could be considered a member of the financial elite (though his wealth seems to be much exaggerated) but I don’t believe any of the intellectual and/or cultural elite would claim him as one of their own.

          1. charleo1 August 28, 2016

            Well, his campaign slogan lately is vote for me! What have you got to lose? So right, he’s aiming to con the hopeless, penniless, and desperate. Hardly a snobbish appeal to the ultra rich. Yet, the majority have a lot to lose, whether or not they realized it, is another conversation. But to ask how things could get much worse, seems like a fairly dumb question, considering where it
            is they are presently living.

          2. The lucky one August 28, 2016

            I agree that the poor often take stances that are detrimental to them but I think for some the feeling is “I’ve been suffering with trying to survive in this environment for a long time. I know how to scrape by on very little. i want to see the rest of you experience the same and see how you do.”

            There’s also the action of the condemned man who spits in the face of the executioner as an act of defiance when he sees that he has nothing further to lose.

          3. marriea August 28, 2016

            However, do they really believe Trump will improve their plight?
            Trump Corp exploits folks.
            I will always remember the woman who foolishly paid $35,000 to his university and got nothing in returns but a bill
            She said she thought she could learn jow to rich like TrumpThis guy is the worst type on used car saleman.
            As a matter of fact, heales used car salespersons look moral.

      2. charleo1 August 28, 2016

        A lot of truth in your post. It reminded me of a song by the late Merle Haggard. Once called the Blue Collar Poet. His parents, depression era refugees from OK. fled to the cotton fields, and migrant camps around Fresno CA. in the 1930s. The song recorded in about ’66-67, was called, “The Train Never Stops in Our Town,” describes perfectly the plight of the White working class poor in small out of the way towns being left behind. Dreams of better times, or ever getting ahead, having been denied by things, or changing situations they didn’t quite understand. And yet, as one of the lines in the song points out, “Failure needs something to blame, “And the only thing that’s left is that old train.” Republicans have simply taken that sense of frustration, and it’s mysterious, hard to understand roots in global economic shifts, and automation. And gave them other things, more readily understandable. Things more politically advantageous to the Republican Right. Democrats, Liberals, affirmative action, the cheap labor of the immigrant, or those “other, non authentic, undeserving, big city elites. It’s something that’s been around in one form or another for many years.

    3. marriea August 28, 2016

      So true, so true

  3. Box August 28, 2016

    Obama is rich? How rich, and whats the source of his wealth?

    1. charleo1 August 28, 2016

      You could learn a lot from Barack Obama, if you had half the class, education, talent, or weren’t such a bigoted dolt to begin with. See, the first thing to remember about Barack Obama is, that he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His Daddy wasn’t rich, and well connected. In fact his father wasn’t there for him at all. His Mother, full of the altruistic spirit, directed her life where she believed she could most help those that had a hard time helping themselves. So his youth was spent traveling the World, and experiencing people, and places most of us have never heard of. I guess that’s one reason he’s such a brilliant writer. It’s where the vast majority of his personal wealth comes from. But the thing about Barack Obama is, he could have been most anything he choose to be with his gold plated lawyering degree from Harvard. A Wall Street billionaire, a corporate CEO living in the Hamptons in no time at all. But he choose to follow in his Mother’s footsteps and lend his talents, and education to those inner city folks who needed the help, in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the entire Country. So what kind of young man makes that kind of choice, when the World is laid out before him for the taking? Not Donald Trump for sure. Nor any of the men you might believe ought to be kicking their feet up in the Oval Office, and representing this great country. See, for my money, it really comes down to one’s values, or the complete lack of them, that determine what it is we choose to admire, or condemn in a person.

      1. marriea August 28, 2016

        HEAR!, HEAR!!!!!

      2. Independent1 August 29, 2016

        Great recap on a truly special president. And what makes it even a little more special, is that the woman we hope will follow Barack into office has led a similar life. Like Barack, when Hillary graduated from law school, she didn’t run off to see how much money she could make with that degree either. Instead, she chose to go to South Carolina to do what she could in helping less fortunate minorities. And since then she’s been spending her life working to make the lives of others around the world better – especially the lives of women.

        And it’s not just Hillary, but also Bill too. The two of them have always been down to earth and although obviously now very wealthy are not money hungry like right-wingers constantly want to paint them as.

        Here are some excerpts from an article about how she came about winning South Carolina over Bernie Sanders which gives a much better picture of the true Bill and Hillary Clinton:

        From McClatchydc.com:

        Clinton had a sizable advantage heading into the race, not the least of which was her name. The Clintons were popular in South Carolina when they were in the White House, in part because “people in communities of color felt comfortable and felt that there was an ally in the White House,” Cobb-Hunter said.

        But Hillary Clinton’s connection to the state dates back to the
        1970s, when the recent law-school graduate came to South Carolina to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, founded by Bennettsville-native Marian Wright Edelman.

        Since the 1990s, she and her husband also have repeatedly visited the state. Then-President Clinton visited rural, predominantly black communities after a spate of church burnings, which helped build “good will and gave weight to the notion that he cares,” Cobb-Hunter said. “People were saying, ‘What in the world was going on?’ ” Cobb-Hunter said. “It mattered to the most powerful person in the world that this is happening.”

        The Clintons also are regulars at Renaissance Weekend, a nonpartisan annual gathering in the Lowcountry of notables from diverging backgrounds and opinions on everything from civics, politics or academia, to the arts, science or business.

        The beach and friends also drew the Clintons to the state, said Phil
        Lader of Charleston, the founder of Renaissance and a former Clinton
        administration official.“Wherever Hillary goes and gets to know people personally, she buildsvery strong, lasting friendships and people discover how genuine and funny and committed she is,” Lader said.

        “There is a considerable number of Americans, including many South
        Carolinians, who may not agree with her on every policy position, but
        trust her, have confidence in her and would like to see her serve as
        president,” he added.

        Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article62932607.html#storylink=cpy

        1. charleo1 August 29, 2016

          Exactly! Both Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama were, and remain the kind of smart, altruistic, people we need more of in this Country.
          People who should be held up to our kids as shining examples of good people who have dedicated huge portions of their lives to making other’s lives better, via the honorable, patriotic work of public service.
          And work horses, not show horses, as one fellow put it. That instead of cussing corrupt politicians in the pocket of this billionaire, or that
          big money special interest lobby. Or fuming because big Govt. no longer seems to care about the concerns of the Common People. Perhaps we, the American People, need to look closer to home to find the answers as to why that is? And start by taking a real hard look at Donald Trump. See if his record matches his rhetoric. Or his grasp of the issues represent anything like the kind of capable political leader that’s going to do the very hard work necessary to achieve those selfless goals of the true reformer some claim him to be. Or is he in fact, the epitome of the kind of glitzy show horse and preening publicity hound, and low brow brawler that has absolutely no business being POTUS. And would, if elected, most likely confirm every nihilistic, damming cynical assertion about politicians, and big government run amuck out there. And yet, he is the GOP Nom.

          Begging the question, what gives? Why doesn’t any of that matter? Are those on the Right who have been screaming the loudest about the self serving politician, and the incompetence in government, really all that upset? Or, are they actually just as narcissistic, cocksure of their own entitlement, and as self serving at their core as Trump is? Do they prefer him over Hillary Clinton because they are Republicans? Because they believe he would do a good job for the Country? Or do they prefer Trump because when they see him, they see themselves?

          1. Independent1 August 29, 2016

            I agree completely. And sadly, I think the answer to your last question is that many of Trump’s supporters actually see many aspects of themselves within him.

            And it’s truly unfortunate that we have so many bigoted, hateful, racist, misogynic people still living in America. And my sense is that what’s created so many totally unAmerican people in our country, is the GOP’s 24/7 despicable actions and brainwashing via outlets like Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. and even help from other America media outlets.

            It’s virtually all the American media outlets that have abetted the GOP’s destruction of America by hyping and not questioning many of the GOP’s obvious schemes to mislead the American public, e.g., blatant lies, fake scandals which they use to destroy enemy politicians, and other means the GOP uses to divert attention from their legislative actions which are clearly intended to steal as many tax dollars as possible from the less fortunate in our country.

            America is in a truly sad state today. Hopefully, the 2016 election will turn out such that politicians with at least some sense of compassion and true Americanism will be elected and we can start what will be a long road in pulling America out of the morass that the GOP has put our country into.

    2. Independent1 August 28, 2016

      And the displays of your ignorance go on and on.

    3. Jon August 28, 2016

      You can look at the tax returns private citizen Barack Obama released when he campaigned for the presidency to learn the source of his wealth. Donnie assured many people, thousands of people, millions of people that he would release his tax returns if he ever ran for the presidency. Well he’s running and refusing to release them. He hides behind the false assertion that he can’t release them because his returns are being audited by the IRS. Sad.

    4. marriea August 28, 2016

      Are you jealous of Obama?.
      I know many whites are.
      Why do you by inference want to imply that he did something a little shady.
      No, just like his father, he learned to OBSERVE.
      Why do you fixate on the mannerism of the President, but be so totally clueless about other presidents.
      Seriously, are you so insecure with you own inablity to not get farther than this black man, that it is like a pox on your ego.
      No dear, unlike you have obviously been schooled, blacks can and have done everything whites can do and in many cases better.

      1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

        ” blacks can and have done everything whites can do and in many cases better.” that is absolutely true, for better or worse. The same is true for women. Both identities are capable doing just as well as white men but also are capable of being just as self-serving and authoritarian.

    5. The lucky one August 28, 2016

      All presidents are either rich upon attaining office or become so due to quid pro quo. Reagan, Bush, Clinton and soon Onama will work the circuit writing, I mean having ghost written books) and given show talks to the rich and powerful who reward them handsomely for prior service. Hilary broke the mold a bit by cashing in first before becoming president. We do have to give her some credit though. At least she is following through. If Trump had done the same he would find some excuse to cut and run with the money.

      1. latebloomingrandma August 28, 2016

        Obama writes his own books. He has not used a ghost writer yet.

        1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

          As far as we know. You may be right.

    6. Daryl Deniz August 28, 2016

      . . . but when the BLACK guy does it, it’s a “… complete lack of understanding of etiquette, respect for public property and … woefully unrefined ….” Yes, you are a paragon of class and good taste. When is the last time you ran a stop sign, you self-righteous prude?

    7. 1standlastword August 28, 2016

      Can’t think outside of the “Box” ROFLMAO!!!!

  4. Box August 28, 2016

    Growing up I was taught to judge on individual experiences with someone, not by generalizations about race, wealth, religion. Fine, but that doesnt speak for the world and you cant make a law to rule someones heart. Since open prejudice is rampant in Asia, I asked Asians how they judge and why. As example, respondents told me a skin color darker than their own is simply “not nice.” White is nice, darker is not nice and so its avoided. Strange thing is the respondent might be light or dark themselves. A light person doesnt like darker, a dark person doesnt like the one darker still. For that view, no law will ever change it and those with long embedded histories like Chinese will unlikely change their heart even by force. In a job, they wont hire a dark person and in this way they dont have to worry about the embarrassment of having to promote someone otherwise qualified.

    1. marriea August 28, 2016

      If I’m not mistaten, wasn’t India colonized by the British.
      In many of the South East Asian countires, they are all kind of used to their ‘own kind of people’ and for centuries didn’t breed outside their ‘race’.
      However, for all this talk about not messing with the others, because they were animals’, those freaks didn’t seem to have any problem with having sex or raping those others.
      It’s what I call a white man’s lie.
      But like all lies, the truth comes out in the end.
      Just like with many societies, tribalism fades.
      As for you hiring the person best qualified for the job, I’d bet that they are mostly if not entirely white. Right?

  5. Box August 28, 2016

    For all the accusations of Trumps supposed racism, I had forgotten about the information in the pictogram below. News says David Duke supported Trump but Trump never reciprocated and suffered the accusation because of a racist’s praise. Then how can Hillary praise Byrd, a KKK Grand Booba, and suffer no charge of racism for it, and certainly not by any of you? Somethings wrong.

    1. docb August 28, 2016

      Byrd denounced his racism before Hillary was ever on the Stage…and Lived it!

      Byrd came out of the morass of racism and violence of the 1950’s and turned it around!

    2. charleo1 August 28, 2016

      Most of the Founders owned slaves. So why do we lionize them, and build monuments in their name? Because Countries change, and people do as well.
      I know this is a spoiler for the perpetually picked on RW. Who seem to believe time travel is possible, if they kick, and yell long enough, it could be,1950 all over again. And Robert Byrd is a loyal Southern Democrat, and a Grand Wizard, but he wasn’t when he died. While David Duke remains a White racists Republican that supports Donald Trump. Why do you believe David Duke is a Republican? And why is he so enthusiastic about Donald Trump?

    3. Independent1 August 28, 2016

      As is always the case, you demonstrate your total ignorance of reality by every word you post!!

    4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 28, 2016

      The hillbilly has posted.

    5. JPHALL August 28, 2016


  6. yabbed August 28, 2016

    This book is no “triumph” unless you consider glorifying racism and ignorance as a loony triumph. This love affair with spoken toughness is nothing to admire. Real toughness is moving beyond the difficulties one encounters in life in a positive way. There is nothing positive about talking a better game than one can play in life. Some people need to grow up and learn what being American is all about.

  7. docb August 28, 2016

    It was a great read…I learned a tremendous amount about a culture I have never been exposed to..It was compassionate and real!

  8. wilty707 August 28, 2016

    Trump may appear to see them, but has no real understanding, either cognitively nor viscerally, of what the poor white, Scots-Irish are feeling. He does, however, SEE them as pawns for use in his grand scheme of things, to take them along on HIS journey of nihilisitc, malignant narcissistic design to absolutely nowhere, but for more disappointment, misunderstanding, hate and finally the end revenge game. Too Trump, it is all about Trump, and the joy he experiences when he plays with people for the sole purpose to see to it, their ruination. Oh, what glee for him. The author completely obscures the situation, and he indeed is playing a game with the invisible Trump character. HAH!!!

    1. Karen August 28, 2016

      I thought the article was well pointed to the fact that Democrats and Republicans have spoken about the plight of the many the auth but Trump has managed to speak to them. Obviously for his own gain and sadly they have nothing to gain by following him.

      1. Independent1 August 28, 2016

        “Obviously for his own gain and sadly they have nothing to gain by following him.”

        Yes. The travesty here isn’t just the danger Donald Trump poses to our nation should he get elected, it’s also the danger his campaign poses to America should he lose, because of the way he’s constantly playing those who support him for fools – with them misguidedly believing the tripe that he can actually follow through on virtually anything that he is promising them; which for the most part he can’t.

        Which is creating the situation where bloodshed may well erupt around the country when he loses – which he will. So either way, Donald Trump’s campaign is nothing more than a potential disaster waiting to happen, where he is putting America into one form of danger or another by his ridiculous campaign for the presidency.

        1. Karen August 28, 2016

          It’s a real fear that can’t be overlooked

      2. wilty707 August 28, 2016

        Well said.

      3. marriea August 28, 2016

        I like the Twilight Zone.
        Once their was a episode in which visitors from another planet came with full of promises of a ‘better life’ than the ones they have on earth. Many people lined up to go to a far-a-way galaxy, only to find that they were planning on being eaten as a food source, on this new planet.
        I see a big parallel with those ETs and Trump.
        Trump, the reported billionaire who has said on the record that there is nothing wrong with the present minimum wage, but is promising them more jobs, ‘ the best jobs’….I guess that’s why he’s has many of his products handled overseas.
        And all because Trump is ‘talking to them’, they feel like he has their best interest at heart?
        Yeah, he surely does
        I think I read about Vance book from another columnist.
        What I don’t get is why all the attention being given to the white, poor uneducated people, as if other races haven’t felt the same pain for decades.
        Obama was right when he said, there is more that unite us than separate us.
        I think about a verse in Bible that says the poor will always be among us.
        It is well documented that only education that can help loosen the locks of chains of poverty.
        But I guess if one is conditioned to doing only one thing, and it is taken away, one crumbles.
        Mr. Vance fought himself out of that poverty. Why can’t he hip his people that Trump is a con.
        I get that we are all a product of our environment.
        But now that he is a Silicon Valley investment official and he knows the workings of how business is REALLY run, he focuses on what his people see instead of the solution.
        OK, they think Trump “SEES” them.
        I just bet he does, looking like big T-bone steaks.

        1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

          I agree with most of what you said. However “Obama was right when he said, there is more that unite us than separate us.” is only partially true. It’s true that the poor have more in common with each other independent of race, political views etc. but other than being finite beings they share little in common with the elite who never experience unmet needs or even desires and aren’t subject to many of the day to day fears and stresses wealth shields one from.

          I agree that we will, all of us, sink or swim together but we will see the privileged gathering on the higher ground and clinging to their life vests, even more than they can use, while the rest of us go under. Gatsby was right.

          1. Independent1 August 29, 2016

            I think you misinterpreted the comment Obama made – When he said that there was more that unites us than separates us – I don’t believe he was referring to social situations amongst the American publics’ living situations, he was referring to the commonality between each of our lives objectives – that he’s in fact fighting to bring about the changes in our world that are what the vast majority of us are looking for to improve our lives.

            That although we may not agree with every he does with respect to how he handles foreign policy, or the social changes he’s pushing for, or wanting to create more and better jobs for everyone, etc. etc. that although we may not all fully agree with everything – that there are in fact more things that we agree on than what we don’t.

            Here’s an example of what I mean when Hillary said virtually the same thing in one of her victory speeches:

            From PoliticusUSA:

            I applaud Sen. Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving. Greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality, and I know together we will get that done. Because whether you support Sen. Sanders, or you support me, there’s much more that unites us than divides us.

            We all agree that wages are too low, and inequality is too high. That Wall Street can never be allowed again to threaten Main Street, and we should expand Social Security, not cut or privatize it. We Democrats agree that college should be affordable to all. Student debt shouldn’t hold anyone back. We Democrats agree that every single agreement should have good and quality affordable healthcare.

            We agree that our next president must keep our country safe. Keep our troops out of another ground war in the Middle East. And we Democrats agree that climate change is an urgent threat, and it requires an aggressive response that can make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century.

            And we Democrats agree on defending all of our rights, civil rights, and voting rights, workers rights, and women’s rights, LGBT rights, and rights for people with disabilities. So in this election, we will have to stand together and work hard to prevail against candidates on other side who threaten all those rights and pit Americans against each other.


          2. The lucky one August 30, 2016

            “I think you misinterpreted the comment Obama made” That’s possible. I don’t focus that much on what they say preferring to look at what they do.

            “he was referring about the commonality between each of our objectives” I think that it’s true that the majority of us are more alike than different in our needs and desires But I don’t find “that he’s in fact fighting to bring about the changes in our world that are what the vast majority of us are looking for to improve our lives.”

            Yes Hilary says a lot of good things but her actions speak differently. Her choices for her transition team show that contrary to her words she still supports the TPP and fracking for instance.

            If either candidate could be trusted to do what they say then HRC would be the clear choice but I don’t see any reason to believe their words except that I really do think trump’s bigotry is expressed in his words.

          3. Hollyrolson August 29, 2016

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  9. The lucky one August 28, 2016

    I think there is racial antipathy involved but it wasn’t the hillbillies that promoted the birther BS.

    1. Independent1 August 28, 2016

      Maybe not. But it was primarily the people who grew up in similar situations to those described in Vance’s book, wherever they grew up around the country, who were the people who were motivated to keep up the nonsensical birther myth, even when it had clearly been debunked

      1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

        “it was primarily the people who grew up in similar situations to those described in Vance’s book, wherever they grew up around the country, who were the people who were motivated to keep up the nonsensical birther myth going”

        How do you know that? My experience is that poor people focus primarily on making ends meet without a lot of political motivation. They do tend to have a strong distrust of politicians, justified IMO. Many may have bought the story but it wasn’t them who kept it in the media.

        1. Independent1 August 28, 2016

          Because it’s primarily the same gullible people who are believing the lies Trump spews today who believed is birther lies.

          1. The lucky one August 28, 2016

            To the degree that is true you’ve made a logical inference but it is still belief rather than knowledge. Possibly you are right.

            I think for many it’s not so much believing in Trump as it is their experience that the GOP establishment has never cared about them and since Bill Clinton neither have the majority of Dems. They feel they have nothing to lose with Trump (I disagree). It’s also their way of flipping off the establishment. I’m not going debate with you whether or not Dems have deserted the poor and even the middle class but i believe that is the dominant belief among the poor.

          2. Stephan Alan Sonn August 29, 2016

            Believe almost implies free choice.If I say that their gene pool is hardwired to Trump but Koch set up the pins by a miscalculation, would I be politically incorrect?

  10. Eleanore Whitaker August 28, 2016

    You will pardon me if I do not fall for that “hillbilly elegy” or that they are forgotten. You can forget a bunch of lazy bums who get out of bed at noon and the first thing they do is reach for their AR-15s? And if they are so forgotten, why do their states get back more for their federal taxes than the rest of the states who manage on little more than half a dollar.

    Here is why these southern and midwestern whites HATE minorities. They cannot force them to work for FREE. Once you see the connection between these FREELOADERS and their bigotry, you see why they went from poor white sharecroppers once the free slave labor ended to them becoming today’s Walmartians.

    Their mentality is that being white, means “might,” whether or not that is true. Therefore, they believe that all that cotton picking and dirty work should be done by free slave labor. I believe you call that “plantation mentality.” So you bet they honor the thieves at the top of the corporations. You bet they hope somehow all that wealth will trickle down. After all, their white skin is insurance they are above all minorities and women.

    1. GayEGO August 28, 2016

      Right on! They believe it is OK to cheat and step on people to get ahead, I have heard some of them tell me how they avoid paying for insurance and taxes.

    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 28, 2016

      I applaud your indignation. As usual, you have your finger on the pulse.

      But, I’m just wondering out loud if “hillbilly” is a proper metaphor not just for the Li’l Abners in our society, but a term that applies to all of humans across the planet who have been conditioned to seek solace in insularity.

      1. 1standlastword August 28, 2016

        I venture to add that we’ve always lived in tribes and that is how we survived to this point in time because evolution illustrates that through natural selection and genetic variation the survival of the species advances to the next level and so on and so on.

        Our problem is with our cultural symbols/ language and the meanings those symbols/ narratives entail that informs our institutions: herein lies the perpetual problem

        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 28, 2016

          Yes, humankind’s evolution has taken it through different social stages—first we coalesced around the biological family; that grouping progressed to tribes composed of families; from tribes there arose what often are called “city-states”, mainly during the times just preceding Christianity up to about 600 A.D.; at around 660 A.D. with the advent of Muhammad, He initiated the call for contending and warring tribes to move towards the level of “nation”(Ummah in Arabic). Ironically, even though Islam introduced the social organization of nation, it took Christian communities in Europe to actually make it take shape.

          And here we are today. Unfortunately, by the mid-19th century, national pride took on such an over-sized dimension, that major wars became a prominent feature in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Nationalism has taken on a proportion akin to a deity, e.g. State worship in totalitarian regimes, unbridled nationalism as witnessed in Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and the US(“Make America Great Again!”), and what not.

          Which leads me to say that a new Message brought by Baha’u’llah in 1863 calls for nations to unite in a manner that they work together not as strangers nursing long-held suspicions and animosities but as partners driven by an expanded vision based on the Oneness of Humankind as the foundation and propelled by the theme, in His Words, that
          “the earth is but one country, and humankind its citizens”.

          Refer to http://www.bahai.org, and don’t rely on my word alone.


          1. 1standlastword August 29, 2016

            I respect the concept and intent of this universal system of human faith. As we both know many other’s have tried and it takes about between 2000 and 6000 years before all the world’s systems of faith become contaminated with ego.

            There is a reason for that too

          2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

            Yes there is a reason. The short and more profound reason is the lack of a “Lesser Covenant” which for some Divine Reason was never incorporated clearly in Religions prior to the advent of The Baha’i Faith. This lack of said covenant, coupled with the ever-present ego to assert one’s self led to the eventual decay and breakdown of every Religion of the past. This is NOT to say that the Religion in its essence was at fault, but that religious leaders, because of their unchecked ego and without that lesser covenant led to a multiplicity of interpretations and an insistence on seeing religion according to their limited understanding.

            So, it boils down to which way to turn, now that the previous religions are fractured, and therefore so is society. That is why there has appeared a “Renewal” of Religion to correct this melt-down in moral order and reinvigorate our abilities to express ennobling sensibilities.

            And yes, there have been approximately 1000 years from one Major Religion until the advent of the next one. This process will continue long after the duration of the Baha’i Faith as a feature of “Progressive Revelation”.


            Sorry for the long-winded response—just humor me, will you?

    3. Rick2101 August 28, 2016

      I agree these folks, like many, do not want to pay taxes, do not want to buy insurance, but are the first with their hands out when something goes wrong for them.

      The book “Hillbilly Elegy” which is now No. 6 on the New York Times best seller list. Vance is trying to explain the flawed thinking that they have.
      Here is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times:

      “Mr. Vance mixes compassion for the plight of his family, friends and neighbors with cleareyed judgments about what he says are the personal failings and flawed thinking that have made it impossible for many of them to escape those circumstances.”
      “It’s about reacting to bad circumstances in the worst possible way,” he writes in the book. “It’s about a culture that increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/podcasts/understanding-the-trump-voter.html?action=click&contentCollection=us&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article&version=newsevent&rref=collection%2Fnews-event%2Felection-2016

      1. Eleanore Whitaker August 29, 2016

        There are people in the south who are true “hillbillies.” Not those swaggering, drawling phonies who lay it on so thick you could spread it on a slice of bread.

        I should know. I have relatives in FL, GA, MD, TX and NC. When I’ve visited these states, I was utterly amazed at how their politicians use that Republican double speak on them and they all fall for it just like they fall for those tent revivalist snake oil salesmen like Joel Osteen.

        The other thing I noticed being in the south is that they seem somehow not to be ambitious.

        I’ll give you an example. Back in 1993, my Mom decided to move to NC with my half brother and his wife. She hated it down there. When I asked her why she said and I quote, “They move too slowly.”

        I responded, “Mother, you are 81 years old. How fast do you need to move?” She said, “Nothing moves down here and everything, when it does move, is as slow as black strap molasses.” She complained they don’t actually get going until nearly noon and few of them pay any attention to things most of us would know inherently is a huge loss of income.

        Now, of course, NC is desperate to stop minorities from voting and their case has gone to the SC of the US where it looks as if the lawyers representing NC are so dim witted they don’t even understand what it is the Justices are trying to point out to them. I’ve listened to the SC proceedings on this major case of NC closing a huge number of voting polls in areas where mostly minorities live. They just insist it had nothing to do with race.

        So, as always the brilliant Justice Ginsberg said, “Then why didn’t the state close voting polls in an equal number of areas that are predominantly white?’

        The lawyer was so dippy he just ignored her question entirely until Justice Sotomayer interrupted him and reminded him he gave Justice Ginsberg NO answer. Then it was a drawling blah, blah, blah, blah that made NO sense whatever.

        1. Rick2101 August 29, 2016

          I know what you mean. Not that all Southerners are hillbillies, I knew a few great guys from S.C., N.C, Ala. etc. when I was in the Navy. Even they knew that many from their state were distrustful isolationists, mostly from the poor rural parts. I believe that proves the necessity of providing a good education is critical to the future of America. Not by Trump University of course, although I do understand T.U did have successful courses in scamming and grifting.

  11. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 28, 2016

    After a long walk and reflecting further on this subject, and having read the comments since my earlier remark, some other themes and perspectives have come up.

    1) Insularity is not just confined to “hillbillies”, but is a human propensity that takes effect when groups of humans are cut off from each other. The “MGP”(Minimun Group Paradigm) kicks in and social, physical, and ideological barriers are set up in response.
    Our migration from a common region as “Modern Humans” along with the ability to speak different languages, having a built-in biological mechanism to have skin color change depending on latitude, the varying forces of the environment that spurred different rates of technological advances, and ethnic rivalries has forced humans to compartmentalize themselves accordingly.
    Insularity and “hillbilly” traits occur in both high and low classes, within groups based on shades of skin color, and according to Religion(or rather the contortion of Religion from its pristine form).

    2) The comments so far reflect a division among us based on those who are able to throw off throw off the shackles of insularity and a “hillbilly disposition, and the handful who still subscribe to the narrow confines of insularity.
    Those who have successfully freed themselves may be regarded, in my opinion as those who have felt the “breeze” of change infused into the world’s ethos by Baha’u’llah’s Revelation. In one of His “Hidden Words”, He states the following:
    ” O Son of Being! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant!”It would seem to me that enlightened individuals have indeed turned towards God, while such as Trump, the “hillbillies” referred to in the book, and all others who hold fast onto insularity have turned away and are withered as a result, much like a plant that requires light but is shielded from the sun.

    3) Among insects, I noticed as a boy while fascinated by the mounds of fire ants in our back yard and across the South, an interesting response was noticed as I carefully collected fire ants from one mound and placed them in a large jar, and then mixed fire ants from another mound. To my surprise, fighting broke out between the ants even though they looked the same. Later, I learned that ants have a chemical signature that distinguishes one ant hill from another and that this difference triggers a hostile response.

    Hopefully, humans will not continue to respond to each other based on physical stimuli like outward appearances, in the same manner as ants do. For now, Trump is the queen ant of an awful mound, complete with its own worker ants and drones, set on waging hostilities towards others of the “Mound of Humanity”.

  12. 1standlastword August 28, 2016

    Trump is a “place holder” for the beloved tyrant archetype that existed for all eras

    Throughout the ages whenever the power elite, the ruling class –as they always have done–neglected and abused the underclasses there comes an opportunity for a tyrant to upset the system: Trump is simply in that archetype.

    All the dust up distracts from this one consistent theme…doesn’t it?!

    I know that whenever “Trump” appears in the title line of any form of media most people are going to bash away…I’ve done it to great fanfare. However, today I want to take a different tact:

    This Is No Defense of Trump By Stealth!

    Trump’s odds of winning the election are equal to mine; or perhaps yours!!!

    The concern on all our head(s) should be whose going to change the nature of American politics? No single president can do it. No single congress and/or senate can do it. The rotten state of American politics evolved over decades to this point where the institution function at it nadir–today with a choice between two candidates with the majority of us wishing there was a third choice

    Trump was necessary for us to learn something about America?


  13. Oddworld August 28, 2016

    These rednecks haven’t been forgotten, lest we forget they have Duck Dynasty, Hillbilly Hand fishin, and a score of other programs chronicling their miserable existence on cable T.V.. IMHO, they’ve been given much more attention in recent years than they deserve. Their too stupid to realize Trump can’t stand them,who can? Trump will happily take their votes and abandon them as soon as he is able to. I’ve never heard of J.D. Vance but he sounds like a charlatan, he may be one of them but he isn’t one of them. The guy lives in Silicon Valley, why didn’t he move back to hick wasteland and try to help create something better for these people, “his people”. Remember folks, these are the same white inbred social scourges who constantly berate poor blacks for being useless and unwilling to change their circumstances. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is. I say America should ignore these insects and let them wallow in their self-made purgatory.

    1. Rick2101 August 28, 2016

      Donald “The Fraud” Trump does not care about their votes, he just wants whatever money they can scrape together. Despite all of the ridiculous statements Donald “The Fraud” Trump has made, he is not stupid. He is one of the most successful scammers in American history. He knows how to make a great deal, for himself. Trump the consummate con artist has bamboozled many Americans into donating to his campaign. Donald “The Fraud” Trump is trying to pull off the best grift ever: after your supporters willingly give you their money, you don’t have to give it back.

      1. Oddworld August 28, 2016

        It’s shocking just how many Americans either don’t know or don’t care about what a fraud Trump is. Those that support him need to do some research on him to understand they are voting for a con artist. He has left quite a surmountable paper trail indicating his past misdeeds for anyone who cares to view them. But the only thing most seem to know of him is from his show “The Apprentice”. Trump is no better than Bernie Madoff, the only difference between them is one is in prison for life and the other should be.

        1. Rick2101 August 28, 2016

          Donald “The Fraud” Trump is kind of like the character Gaston in the movie “Beauty and the Beast”. He starts out as a narcissistic, humorous buffoon, but by the end of the story he becomes a very different character. Many Americans now have a different view of Donald “The Fraud” Trump. Thank goodness that the 50 to 55 million supports are a minority of the 150 million voters, so Trump will never be President of the United States.

          1. Oddworld August 28, 2016

            Yeah, he becomes a different character in the end alright, he dies! At least in the Disney version. I don’t make a habit of wishing such things against other people but since I’m not perfect:>)

          2. Siegfried Heydrich August 28, 2016

            These are the same people who will send small amounts of what little money they have to televangelists who convince them that God will reward them tenfold if the ‘seed the fields’ or whatever scam line they’re running that month, and then put them on a sucker list for the rest of their lives.

            Something I’ve noticed in articles about the Drumpf base is an absolute avoidance of the substance abuse they engage in – tobacco, alcohol, opioids – that are wrecking their lives. There was a Mother Jones article this week (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/trump-white-blue-collar-supporters) that barely glanced at it. It’s as though there is a deliberate aversion to these topics for whatever reason.

          3. Oddworld August 28, 2016

            God told me he needs a new swimming pool, he wants it indoors. More money is going to be necessary to build a massive addition in order to house the inground pool and a large recreational area equipped with a bar. Oh and uhh, the shipment of new crack pipes finally arrived, we will be passing them out
            free to anyone that needs one this afternoon
            during the church social.

            LOL…I couldn’t resist! I have been hearing precisely what you mentioned for many years now. Appalachia is full of this kind of crap yet these folks tend to be critical and suspicious of all outsiders. Meanwhile, they don’t believe in abortion or contraceptives but they have a high degree of teenage pregnancies. Incest also occurs, the school dropout rate is
            high and the list goes on and on. Trump’s

    2. cjakobsson August 28, 2016

      That is just as shabby sentiments as the sentiments expressed by the white supremacists toward the black and brown people among us. I have no apologies for being a Christian, and Christians are called on to bring hope to the downtrodden, whatever the complexion of the downtrodden people might be. Also to remember the forgotten people, whatever the complexion of the forgotten people might be.

      1. 1standlastword August 29, 2016

        Oh my friend, Christians have brought a lot more than hope and they haven’t forgotten anybody as they’ve dressed the world’s table quite liberally with their message of love and forgiveness

        God loves religion

        1. Mikey7a August 29, 2016

          1Stand. You need to stop equating those who profess to be Christians, and are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing, with the ones who try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

          Who give, even when it causes them to suffer in doing so, and regardless of what the person they are giving to believes, looks like, or what part of the world they were born. The ones who will tell you that they, and Jesus loves you.

          Those who can forgive. Even forgive you for murdering, or abusing their kin. I was raised Pentecost, Assembly of God. I am 60, and in my opinion, can count the number of what I believe to be a “true” Christian on one hand, and no, even though I try very hard, do not count myself among them.

          Now, before you lay into me, please read some of my previous posts here on the NM. I am a true Blue Democrat. I could never vote for Trump, or Ryan, or McConnell, and their ilk. They prey on the uneducated, and on their fears.

          All I’m asking, is don’t be like they are. Don’t lump everyone into one stereotype, simply because of their spiritual beliefs. Careful, that we do not become them, as the Pigs did in George Orwell’s Animal Farm!

          1. 1standlastword August 29, 2016

            You do know the historic Jesus wasn’t a Christian…yes?

            You demonstrate the problem with conceptualization

            I can do all the things Christians do without calling myself a name; are my deeds of less value to those in need.

            Give with your right hand and let not your left hand know what you do. This sounds like the historic Jesus never wanted anyone to do anything in his name. Imagine in people never did anything in Jesus’ name….would Jesus still be honored? Would you have to come to the defense of Christianity?

  14. PatrickHenry August 28, 2016

    Yet another racist article by Leonard Pitts Jr., who sees the world through only racial lenses. And he easily gets an attentive audience. All follow like sheep.

    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

      What lens do you see the world through—white nationalism? And are your sheets clean, by the way?
      If you don’t like what Leonard writes why are you scch a sheep to keep coming here to read what he says?

      Stop whining for a change, and be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, Patrick.

      1. PatrickHenry August 29, 2016

        Part of the solution? Are you insane? The reason Most Americans want people like Trump or Bernie is because of Obama’s failed “solutions:…

        I see you assume White Nationalism as opposed to wanting what is best for ALL Americans, for people that disagree with your views or the clearly racist views of Leonard Pitts Jr. and many on the NM.

        You Socialists need different points of view to make you think, not just follow along like sheep, why people like myself comment on this Socialist rag.

        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

          You have trouble understanding what “think” really means. All creatures with a nervous system “think” on some level or another. By your response, “thinking” for you means that I should limit my capacity so that I may “think” on a lower level such as yours.
          Reptiles think, but you shouldn’t lower yourself to that leve; Trump thinks, but his thinking is constipated in a manner similar to yours.
          So, don’t advocate that we think on a lower level that you, Trump, and others would like us to stoop to.

          What are you, anyway? A Nihilist, a conservative demagogue, a frustrated white male who’s lost his direction in life, and not able to find solace except in the company of robots who look and think exactly as you do?

          Please explain your designation. I for one am a human whose vision encompasses all humans as being of one common family, created by the same God, and who are as the limbs and organs of one common Race.

          As a Baha’i, I and my Baha’i brothers and sisters of every racial background, from all nations, coming from every religious background see each other as members of the same human family, as are those who are not Baha’is as well. You can be a part of the “New Race” if you choose to transcend the limitations of what society at large calls “race”, or you can remain as a creation that has chosen as an affront to God to see yourself as someone who wishes to oppose His Vision of humanity. (As you may know, the embodiment of anyone who opposes the Will of God is designated in the Writings of all the Religions as “Satan”, (Shaytaan in Arabic), etc.)
          So, Patrick, which side are you on—the side of Sata, or the side of God. Please let me know so that I may gauge your character appropriately.

          1. PatrickHenry August 29, 2016

            What a nonsensical comment from an infantasizing, idea of the day, phony. I am a person of Christian faith that has done many good works, not a Socialist phony like you that “believes” himself superior to others, & wants OUR government to take from others for their own failures.

            No, not ALL life forms think, most act from instinct. Your new found faith is just a phony religion of Socialism. Christians have been helping mankind for Centuries & Jesus wants us all to use our God-given talents, not be government dependent forever.

            Why would I give an iota how you “gage” my character, are you some great all-knowing wizard that is “far above” the common man. Wow, LMAO.

          2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 29, 2016

            Well, bully for you and all your good works. And pray tell, what would those good works be? And what form of Christianity do you subscribe to that inspires you to be rancorous and full of vitriol?
            I’m not familiar with the sort of sect you subscribe to. I hope it’s not the same as what the KKK follows.

          3. PatrickHenry August 30, 2016

            Lol, Jesus was hardly a Socialist, he told his followers often to use their talents as well as not to be obligated to others. He encouraged people to help others, not take from them & create dependency. Jesus himself got angry at times, & He certainly is angered by the ruined lives created by Socialist policies.

        2. Independent1 August 29, 2016

          Obama’s failed solutions?? Would you care to try and explain those? Given that as I’ve pointed out to you several times that it’s actually amazing how much America has moved forward under Obama given the 24/7 obstructionism from the GOP his entire time in office. And its evil desire to inflict austerity on the American public which has only succeeded in making millions of Americans suffer far more than they should have! Just because of failed GOP ideologies!!!

          As I said before, Obama has accomplished FAR MORE in 8 years THAN ALL THE GOP PRESIDENTS IN OFFICE SINCE TEDDY ROOSEVELT COMBINED!!!!!!

          1. InformedVoter September 5, 2016

            Here you go again with your lies about Obama’s accomplishments. if Obama has done such a good job, then why is is ranked about 35 among presidents? He IS ahead of Carter, but most political scientists put him behind GW. OMG. For the record, Obama had two years with full control and accomplished nothing but his dying ACA. Why did voters, during the 2014 referendum, soundly turn his party out of office? I hear nothing but crickets! I know you have produced copy/paste data from such “credible” sources and Rachael Madcow, but really, you need to move away from being one of her three viewers.

          2. Independent1 September 5, 2016

            From the Huffington Post:

            In what category does Obama belong? I would make a case that he be considered among the “near greats.” Here’s why:

            Not since 1933, when FDR took office at the depth of the Great Depression, has a president confronted such a profound economic crisis on the first day in office. The banking system was collapsing, the two big automotive companies were near bankruptcy, unemployment was rising and the housing market was in a free fall. It was Obama’s policies, enacted into law despite unprecedented Republican obstruction, that helped turn the economy around. In fact, Obama’s policies have been far more successful than Roosevelt’s New Deal program. It was increased wartime production after 1939, not New Deal programs, that ended the depression. Obama ended the “great recession” while slowly disengaging the nation from active involvement in two foreign wars.


          3. InformedVoter September 6, 2016

            Oh, now the huff ‘n puff is a quoted news source? What a joke. OK, I’ll play your game. How about the ultra-liberal Newsweek? Now that they’ve shut down, they decided to stop lying to protect Obama and finally admitted that they altered, deleted and just about changed reality to keep his image good.
            Read it and weep!

            Newsweek Closed Its Doors with a Slam at Obama
            Newsweek Is Now History. The liberal Newsweek Magazine is going out of business, but not before it attacks the President. This is quite an article, even more so when you consider that NEWSWEEK finally had the guts to admit it. WOW! Newsweek COVER!!! It is their last cover before they fold. Also read the article at the end. AMAZING!!!
            Finally, Matt Patterson and Newsweek speak out about Obama. This is timely and tough. As many of you know, Newsweek has a reputation for being extremely liberal. The fact that their editor saw fit to print the following article about Obama and the one that appears in the latest Newsweek, makes this a truly amazing event, and a news story in and of itself. At last, the truth about our President and his Agenda are starting to trickle through the protective wall built around him by the liberal media…

            By Matt Patterson
            (Newsweek Columnist — Opinion Writer)
            Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job?
            Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League, despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a “community organizer;” a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, less often did he vote “present”); and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
            He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor;” a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president? There is no evidence that he ever attended or worked for any university or that he ever sat for the Illinois bar. We have no documentation for any of his claims. He may well be the greatest hoax in history.Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal: To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day.
            But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberal Dom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were ‘a bit’ extreme, he was given a pass. Let that Sink in: Obama was given a pass – held to a lower standard because of the color of his skin. Podhoretz continues: And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest? Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon – affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back.
            Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is. And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois ; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
            What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks? In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people – conservatives included – ought now to be deeply embarrassed. The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of cliches, and that’s when he has his Teleprompters in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth – it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years. (An example is his 2012 campaign speeches which are almost word for word his 2008 speeches)
            And what about his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. Remember, he wanted the job, campaigned for the task. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerless-ness, so comfortable with his own incompetence. (The other day he actually came out and said no one could have done anything to get our economy and country back on track). But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?
            In short: our president is a small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such an impostor in the Oval Office.
            P.S. Please send this article to family and friends throughout America and ask them to read and distribute this article to others.

          4. Independent1 September 6, 2016

            And more of your flatout lying. Newsweek is still a very respected news outlet. Here’s the link to its continuing online website.

            I’m sorry, but you’re such a worthless piece of pathological humanity, that you needn’t bother to even respond because you can be sure I won’t read or respond to any more of your flatout pathological lying BS!! Goodbye dirtbag!!!


          5. InformedVoter September 6, 2016

            I didn’t realize I was dealing with an emotional and mentally challenged individual. They have ceased publishing!
            And did you bother to read the article that eviscerated Obama? They stated in CLEAR words (that even a challenged person like you should understand) that Obama has been a failure from the time he entered college through his current tenure as pretending to be president.
            Once more you have been destroyed and yet you continue with your warped vision that you have anything of value to contribute. Do you hear any noise? It’s your fellow posters laughing at you – because of your constant posts that demonstrate for all that you are among the most low information creatures on earth. So how many times does this make that I destroyed your low information logic? Hmm, ALL OF THEM!
            I never thought I would encounter anyone dumber than dirt, but you now won that title!

          6. Independent1 September 5, 2016

            From Forbes:

            President Obama’s Trifecta – Democrats Continue Economically Trouncing Republicans

            This week marks the 6th anniversary of the stock market’s bull run, with the S&P up 206%. Only 3 other times since WWII have equities had such a prolonged, sustained growth series. Simultaneously, last week saw yet another month with over 200,000 non-farm jobs created, making the current rate of jobs growth the best in 15 years. And, in a move that has taken some by surprise, the U.S. dollar is hitting highs against foreign currencies that have not been seen in over 12 years.

            It is a rare economic trifecta, and demonstrates America is doing better than all other developed countries.


            Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing

            And that is great news.

            Back in May, 2013 (15 months ago) the Dow was out of its recession doldrums and hitting new highs. I asked readers if Obama could, economically, be the best modern President? Through discussion of that question, the number one issue raised by readers was whether the stock market was a good economic barometer for judging “best.” Many complained that the measure they were watching was jobs – and that too many people were still looking for work.

            To put this week’s jobs report in economic perspective I reached out to Bob Deitrick, CEO of Polaris Financial Partners and author of Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box (which I profiled in October, 2012 just before the election) for some explanation. Since then Polaris’ investor newsletters have consistently been the best predictor of economic performance. Better than all the major investment houses.

            This is the best private sector jobs creation performance in American history


          7. InformedVoter September 6, 2016

            The Obama economy is so weak! Annual growth of <2%. The latest number 1.1% didn't even make the weak projection of 1.2%. Even Hillary, while attempting to get the DEM nod, called the current Obama recovery the weakest and slowest in 50 years. She was trying to distance herself from Obama's failed economy.

          8. Independent1 September 6, 2016

            You worthless GOP-lover, it’s only because of Obama’s guidance that the American economy is doing anything Given the 24/7 obstructionism by the GOP and all the treasonous actions by GOP gangsters to drive America into austerity while also doing everything they could have over the past 2 years to sabotage our economy – including refusing to even consider 2 jobs bills Obama submitted 5 years ago.

            Go stick your head in a toilet bowl full of cow dung because that’s all you and your GOP gangsters who pretend to be politicians are worth.

          9. InformedVoter September 6, 2016

            That’s all an intellectually challenged poster like you can do – name call and repeat obvious lies.
            Obama has been a major mistake and embarrassment from the beginning. The US has been openly mocked because of his incompetence. The fact that you would even try to say his dumb policies were rejected shows how dumb you are. Now that Trump has regained the lead in the polls (latest CNN+) we can hope that his treasonous actions will be duly noted. I can’t wait for President Trump to charge Hillary and Obama with treason, and since the GOP WILL hold the House and Senate, it’ll be fun watching the legal destruction of the two worst politicians in history – Hillary and Obama. Obama will flee to Kenya and claim native immunity but Hillary, to save her sorry ass, will through Bill under the bus. It’s gonna be a great 2017!

        3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 30, 2016

          Pat, you have this inordinate desire to assert yourself and project and aura that you know what’s best for the rest of us poor “socialist”—a nebulous term that can mean whatever a detractor wants it to mean.

          I have a suggestion for you, and if you’re a true Christian(and not a make-believe one), you’ll want to try it.

          Instead of entering an discussion in a dictatorial and pompous manner, try to have a conversation where you are willing to listen rather than starting from a position presuming you know what is best.
          Any armchair general such as yourself can look back with hindsight and say—“Oh! The President was wrong to do such and such”, and all the while omit the failures of previous administrations. That is a myopia that you should try to rid yourself of. What do do propose to be done? If you have the solutions, why don’t you run for President, or at least submit your resume to Trump’s team to join that august group.

          1. PatrickHenry August 30, 2016

            I have tried that approach, but it has proved useless. Whenever I waste my time trying to show another point of view, that makes sense as well as factual, I get hit by hateful, intolerant rants. So there you have it.

          2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth August 31, 2016

            OK, I can relate to what you’re saying and I appreciate that you’ve tried. What you’ve said is beneficial for all of us. However, I would suggest that whenever we have an idea or opinion, we offer our idea/opinion in a kindly and objective manner without giving the impression like “Well, I’m going to straighten you all out because I know better”.
            Even if any of us enters a discussion and our idea turns out to be the right idea, then it will have little or no effect on others because one will have asserted himself to be better-informed(which she/he may indeed be so).
            So, stay involved in conversing with others but do it in a measured way without giving the impression of haughtiness and smugness in one’s knowledge. I have fallen short on this account on many occasion and still have work to do in this regards.
            What I’ve outlined above is a counsel Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l Baha, and Shoghi Effendi, the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith, have stressed to all of us Baha’is regarding how we are to consult with each other whenever we meet. This attitude is evolving in the conversations of all Baha’is across the globe, whether they be in Greenland, Zambia, Japan, Australia, the US, Germany, etc.

            So, give it a try and you may notice a different sort of reaction to your offerings to conversations.

  15. ray August 29, 2016

    They are the poorly educated people that Trump loves so much.

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