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A Buckeye’s Lament: What Has Happened to Ohio and the Midwest?


#21

The two guys in the picture are at a Trump rally. Therefore, I would assume it is very likely they are white nationalists and their biggest issue is immigration. Does anyone else attend Trump rallies?


#22

Ohhhh, is that what happened? Since I was only 13 when I was dragged kicking and screaming from Ohio, I was afraid it was just the innocence of mid-century childhood that left me wondering what happened. Yes, I had and have Ohio relatives who agree with me, And I’m especially glad to hear good things about Athens Co., home to my ridge-runner mother. But my Dad was a Goldwater Republican (saved by the nomination of Reagan). My August 9 memories are of betrayal when, in Berlin on the way back from a summer study tour to the USSR (Grandmother: “Oh, Barbara, why would you want to go there?!”) the hostel manager congratulated us on our new president. 11 out of our 13 college students jumped up and down, screaming and hugging each other until tears ran down their faces; 2 of us who’d been defending Nixon all summer were in shock.

So much for innocence. If even Dad could learn, I learned sooner, in part because of that morning in Berlin. I can’t imagine what the reformed Dad would have to say about djt and these fools.

I did watch the coverage of the special election in Ohio’s 12th district Tuesday with special interest. The gerrymander uncannicly tracks my connections to Ohio — born in Mansfield to parents who came of age in Zanesville, lived about 10 of my 13 years in Columbus and its suburbs. The 2 years outside of Lima don’t count so much, except for when I stopped back as an adult and shuddered at just how rural it could be. I was a little proud of my people, and anyway, there’s always November.


#23

Wood County has way too many fools like the two pictured. It is a tough environment for a progressive!


#24

When I saw the T shirt I laughed out loud. There’s an entirely different take on this. Even with the 24/7 Russiagate Liberal hysteria over a troll farm endowed with an inconsequential $100,000 dollar war chest half of which appeared after the election of 2016 (with no evidence it had any effect) we had an election with Billions spent by US oligarchs, including Hillary Clinton and the Koch Brothers (Cambridge Analytica), most Americans just don’t seem interested. If the Democrats were really an opposition party they could be going after the legitimate depravity and corruption of what the GOP is getting away with every day. The Democrats and their neoliberal policies, which only enriched the already rich, hold much of the blame for the rightward turn of middle America.

As an aside I thought that it was notable that the T shirt said “Russians”, not Putin or Russian oligarchs. The Russian people are not our enemy. The GOP and the Demoratic Party represent the US oligarchy - they are the enemy of working class Americans. The “threats to democracy” are homegrown.


#25

Conservatives and MODERN Russians getting along is no surprise. They are not commies. They are two peas in a capitalist pod. They both hate socialists and embrace a world run the Oligachy.
Americans need to take a good long look at the current state of Russia, for that is what conservatives want to use as a model for 21st century America. They want a dog eat dog capitalist libretarian paradise where the richest of the rich rule like kings. Sound familiar? It should, as it is exactly what people like the Kochs have foisting upon us for three generations. The scary part is that we are almost there.


#26

I don’t know why everybody seems to be shocked by racism, sexism, and xenophobia displayed by the average republican supporter (notice I didn’t say trump supporter, as there is no such thing. That demographic would have supported Hitler or Pol Pot had they been nominated by the GOP). As a life long western Pennsylvanian I can tell you with 100% certainty that racism never disappeared in the Pittsburgh area, West Virginia and especially Ohio. I worked in and around the upper panhandle for years in 90’s and early 2000’s. Long before the election of Barack Obama, white people in wheeling, Belaire, Bridgeport, Martins Ferry and the like, used the N word in casual conversation. And still do. But now that they have “fellow travellers” in charge of everyone they seem even more emboldened to share their backward assed philosophy with the rest of us.
We call the area east of us Pennsyltucky for a reason. Central and northern PA are like the land that time forgot. Dirty broken down towns, half filled with dumb, dirty people whose social views haven’t changed since the civil war. They ali recognize that they are ignorant slobs and hopeless rubes, but they will tell you to the last man that, while all those monikers are true, at least they’re not Black.
We all should have seen this coming. After all, the idea of American exceptionalism has been drilled into us since the first time we wandered into kindergarten. We are told that, as Americans, we are free to do and be anything we want. Unfortunately, many of us choose to use that freedom to be racists. That’s what we are up against. A quarter to a third of US genuinely believe that it’s their God given right to oppress other people.


#27

On balance, a very good article. That said, I would make a couple of observations.

While I do not like blanket condemnations of mainstream media, many leading news anchors and pundits in network media are members in good standing of the 1%, with high six and even seven figure salaries. Major Hollywood actors and directors are even richer, so rich that they can only summon an understanding of normal life through memory. So I understand why ordinary folks who struggle to maintain middle class lives don’t jump on board with left-leaning economic “elites” who in no meaningful way share their struggle.

Moreover, as easy as it may be to peck at right-wing, country and nascar culture, where is left culture? Movies and music are unabashed odes to extreme violence, sexuality, and materialism, finished with ample doses of nihilism. Popular artists like 6ix9ine and Cardi B aggressively trade in maximal vulgarity and self-absorption.

Looking at America, the right and left seem stranded on opposite poles with no major overlapping values in their Venn diagrams, save, it seems, adoration for the authority of wealth.

I generally dislike calls to find center, believing that in most cases, like that of slavery, one side is right and the other wrong. But it seems that the popular right and popular left in the US today both need to moderate their positions toward one another.


#28

This is true of a significant part of the U.S. public beyond Trumps. “We” are not the good people “we” pretend to be. The non-participation of the vast majority of U.S. citizens in public life (beyond family and church) allows Trump and his followers to exist. The public itself has been privatized by its acceptance of consumer capitalism, white supremacist/patriarchal exceptionalism and imperialism.


#29

I live in Ohio. Hate to blow up the narrative, but lower income people supported HRC more than the Drumph, who won because he carried the above 50K crowd. (In Ohio the only income group HRC won was under 30K with 57%)

But the political culture has changed - I’d say substantially because of Reich wing radio.


#30

Assuming you mean income percentiles, I’d have given you a “like” if you could have done without the malephisms.


#31

religious fundamentalism

I really dislike this term, or at least how it is used in this country. First it does a disservice to the pious and sincere Christians in other countries whose beliefs are in no way related to American Christian fascism.

Second, it denies what is really “fundamental”. The Nicene Creed is fundamental to Christianity; the text of the New Testament is fundamental to Christianity; a bumper sticker that reads, “Guns, God and Guts made America Great” is not fundamental to Christianity; hating people because they are gay is not fundamental to Christianity; a belief in the God-given right to the use of a gun for self-defense, or for that matter, a belief in the God-given rights in the Declaration of Independence, is not fundamental to Christianity.

Third, there is a racist tone to the phrase. When Muslims say they want to kill all Christians, we call them “Islamic extremists”, but people are very careful not to use the phrase “Christian extremists” for Christians who want to kill all Muslims, preferring the less aggressive nomination of “fundamentalists,” furthering the ethnocentric habit of thinking that, if they are my neighbors, then they couldn’t possibly be fascists or terrorists.


#32

Who used the term in this discussion? If it wasn’t here, we’re veering and I’d prefer you don’t answer.

It’s not only in other countries where there are “pious and sincere Christians.”

And a final nit: The Nicene Creed is quite specifically fundamental to Constantinian Christendom, and a lot of us pious and sincere American Christians are finding we need to edit it, or just not participate in its recitation. Similarly, the handling of the Greek Testament text, especially in its various translations and adaptations, is somewhat problematic.


#33

I was observing the expression on their aged faces, a kind of innocent, childlike sadistic glee I’ve seen before in my Midwest Hoosier relatives. If immigration was these two fellows’ issue, the “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat” T-shirts threw me off. Their quasi-sadism comes from very hard , very painful lives.


#34

The Russian people around the Northwest tend to be conservative and very homophobic. There’s also a tinge of " shady business " and … well, they’re interesting but not always in a good way.
Therefore, these " religiously persecuted " fundamentalists, and their philosophy, can be a direct threat to all Americans’ equal rights and freedoms. We refer to them as Gray Russians; ya know, as opposed to Black Russians and a really good White Russian.


#35

I dunno. One of the famous stories in my family was of the first time my future Dad gave my future Mother a ride home from where they worked together, the Zanesville News, but before they’d ever dated. As Dad was descending the drive, he encountered Grandpa (my Great-) Basil Roberts, a giant Welshman. They chatted briefly about nothing important. When Grandpa made it to the dooryard, he reportedly said “Nice feller ya go there, Eloise,” and sniffed as he turned to go in the door, “Too bad he’s a Republican.” Mother told him she’d never discussed politics with the City Editor (she was Society Editor). As Grandpa went in, he clarified, “I can smell 'em a mile off.”

I recognize these guys as midwestern types. I had an Uncle Arch like that, anything for a laugh Political parties are hereditary. They probably bought and wore the shirts to be funny, and precisely to get their pictures in the news. It was much more about dissing the Democrats than praising the Russians. They probably have no idea what it’s like to live in Russia, and care even less.


#36

Except for native Americans, everybody is an immigrant. Russians have been emigrating here for over 100 years. Noam Chomsky’s and the painter Phillip Guston’s parents were from Russia. So there are conservative Russian emigres? So what? Do you know who the White Russians were, the White army? They were counterrevolutionaries who sought to kill the Russian Revolution, to bring back Tsarism.


#37

Only after you round up and put in orange jump suits Hilary Clinton and all the Democrats who have violated law after law and flout that in our faces.

Me…Yeah, I’m right there with them “good ole boys.” The Democrat Party has nothing to offer America but suffering, death, and shameful behavior.


#38

Those guys in Ohio got the idea somewhere that displaying this sort of hubris on their shirts is perfectly acceptable.

Let me argue this cultural shift began with 1987’s elimination of The Fairness Doctrine. Its elimination spawned a rash of radio shows that encouraged the very attitudes these men now display on their chests. Rush and the rest would not have occurred had The Doctrine remained in place. These radio (and now cable TV) performers compel their audiences to act as they do.

“If I hear it on the radio, it must be true!”.

We have now mainstreamed these attitudes and created a much harsher/ divided populace.


#39

The full quote, from paragraph 7 of the article itself: “Away from the large urban centers, the Midwest has transformed into a stronghold of derivative Southernism: country music and mores, religious fundamentalism, the cult of the good old boy, reactionary conservatism of a primitive type.”


#40

OK, then. Anything of substance to say about my response?