So Here We Are…

Can you stand one more post about the January 6th insurrection?

Investigations in the wake of that shocking assault are steadily turning up evidence that it was anything but a spontaneous response to Trump’s crazed rally speech. It had been planned, and not just by the conspiracy-believing members of the rightwing’s radical fringe, but with the connivance of seditionist members of Trump’s campaign, his White House, and members of Congress.

The identities of these conspirators will eventually be made public, but who they are is ultimately less important than what they are–representatives of White Christian Nationalists who see themselves as losing out in today’s America.

Thomas Edsall writes a weekly column for the Washington Post on politics, demographics and inequality. In the wake of the riot on January 6th, he considered how “racism, grievance, resentment and the fear of diminished status came together” to fuel the fury and violence. He began with the obvious: the dominant role played by “out-and-out racism and a longing to return to the days of white supremacy.”

But Edsall also acknowledged the need to probe more deeply–to try to ascertain the roots of the anger and to identify the elements of contemporary life that serve to “trigger”  violent expression.

It may sound trivial at first, in light of what happened, but how important is the frustration among what pollsters call non-college white men at not being able to compete with those higher up on the socioeconomic ladder because of educational disadvantage? How critical is declining value in marriage — or mating — markets? Does any of that really matter?

How toxic is the combination of pessimism and anger that stems from a deterioration in standing and authority? What might engender existential despair, this sense of irretrievable loss? How hard is it for any group, whether it is racial, political or ethnic, to come to terms with losing power and status? What encourages desperate behavior and a willingness to believe a pack of lies?

Edsall posed those questions to a range of academic researchers. Their responses were sobering.

A sociologist at NYU dubbed the rioters “ethnonationalists,” and described  Trump supporters as those who want to return to a past when white men considered themselves the “core of America”–when minorities and women “knew their place.” Since they realize that such a return would require the upending of the existing social order, they’re prepared to pursue violent measures.

Another sociologist, a professor at Johns Hopkins, concurred:

They fear a loss of attention. A loss of validation. These are people who have always had racial privilege but have never had much else. Many feel passed over, ignored. Trump listened to them and spoke their language when few other politicians did. He felt their pain and was diabolical enough to encourage their tendency to racialize that pain. They fear becoming faceless again if a Democrat, or even a conventional Republican, were to take office.

There was general recognition from those Edsall consulted that It is incredibly difficult for individuals and groups to come to terms with the loss of status and power. Before Trump came along to provide a culprit, these individuals lacked what one scholar called “a narrative to legitimate their condition.” Trump provided a narrative that gave “moral certitude” to people who  believed that their decline in social and/or economic status was the result of unfair and/or corrupt decisions by so-called elites.

According to a professor of psychology at Yale, the insurrection reflected angst, anger, and refusal to accept an America in which White (Christian) Americans are losing dominance.

And, I use the term dominance here, because it is not simply a loss of status. It is a loss of power. A more racially, ethnically, religiously diverse US that is also a democracy requires White Americans to acquiesce to the interests and concerns of racial/ethnic and religious minorities.

Others who responded to Edsell’s inquiry noted that contemporary America is especially vulnerable to right-wing anger due to our high degree of income inequality, and lack of a welfare state safety net to buffer the fall of people into unemployment and poverty.

You can click through and read the various responses, but they all reminded me of an exchange in the film An American President. Michael Douglas, playing the incumbent, points to his opponent during a press conference and says something to the effect that “you have a choice between someone who wants to fix the problem or someone who wants to tell you who to blame for it.”

Trump voters chose the guy willing to tell these deeply unhappy people who to blame.


  1. Now that the “little White boys” have had their fun, can we get back to the business of being America and work on solving our racial and income/wealth inequality before it destroys our democracy.

  2. They’re hardly from among an oppressed class.

    “Third, the demographic profile of the suspected Capitol rioters is different from that of past right-wing extremists. The average age of the arrestees we studied is 40. Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs. Unlike the stereotypical extremist, many of the alleged participants in the Capitol riot have a lot to lose. They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants”.

  3. I wish we could, Sandy, but that was not the point of the “insurrection.” I put that in quotes because the legal definition is: “A rising or rebellion of citizens against their government, usually manifested by acts of violence. Under federal law, it is a crime to incite, assist, or engage in such conduct against the United States.”

    If it were truly an insurrection, those “inciting and assisting” would also be charged. As several independent journalist outlets like The Intercept have pointed out, the storming patriots had deep-pocket funders, like the Koch-backed Donors Trust.

    We’ll see if the political class hold the billionaires and corporate donors accountable for “inciting and assisting.” These actors can’t hold each other accountable, let alone someone like Robert Mercer or Charles Koch.

    Personally, I see no chance of that happening because the IRS would also have to accept some of the blame for allowing anonymous donors to contribute to an organization like Donors Trust when it is obviously used for political activism. It has been for quite some time.

    Here’s a prediction – our fascist right-wing capitalist surveillance state will use the Koch-backed “insurrection” as a means to clamp down on activism mainly on the Left; organizations promoting democracy, income and wealth equality, workers organizing unions, wildcat strike organizers, racial equality, etc.

    p.s. who instructed the Capitol guards to stand down in advance?

  4. Well Sheila you nailed it this morning!

    Hopefully, Todd won’t see me as a know it all today, LOL! It’s just that being from a multi-ethnic background, kind of a bifurcated family, one side is solidly liberal, nonwhite, democratic and very religious, the other side is solidly Republican, white, supposedly conservative, and supposedly religious!

    I think, my father’s side, which is white, are pretty self aggrieved and willfully deluded! I always have, for the most part, and stayed away from the family reunions when I was old enough to do so. Ironically, they always considered themselves the right stuff, entitled, but never accomplished much.

    The other side of the family, turned out to be fighters! I gravitated towards my family members on that side of the bifurcated family unit. That’s where the grief came from, that’s where the knowledge of unrighteous came from. That’s where the knowledge of true hatred came from, and discrimination, lack of compassion, lack of empathy, lack of entitlement, and the list goes on and on.

    I really believe, that having free junior-college, up to a bachelors degree in city colleges, and the opportunity to pay for higher degrees at an interest-free rate would make a huge difference in the psyche of many individuals who feel left out. But also, being able to reboot manufacturing in this country, and have intense apprenticeship programs for those who feel colleges are not the way for them.

    We used to have that here, and it was run more through the unions than the state, but in Germany, you have the state along with manufacturers unifying to educate and train citizens to be savants in specific types of jobs. This takes less classroom work and more OJT which would allow the students to be getting paid immediately. And, offer opportunity for advancement by continuing a college education down the road for maybe research and development or advancement into management.

    So, that could solve one part of the problem, but another part would be to make sure the manufacturing will be here to stay. Germany made sure that their employees would not be replaced with robots, and that has to be an assurance. Because in education or knowledge without being able to use it, pretty useless because it won’t put food in your mouth or a roof over your head.

    The GOP has been an expert at pitting whites and their white knuckle concerns against those of nonwhites and immigrants. Because if you’re not a Republican, you must be a communist! And, Republicans are the only bulwark out there to hold the gates against the hordes trying to take over and dismantle the Commonwealth of states.

    Now that doesn’t explain all of the bigotry, and it doesn’t explain why it’s so deeply ingrained in white society!

    That part could be explained in their religion. Their religion says that racial mixing is perverse! Interracial marriage is a sin! White men are the salt of the earth, but everyone else is a burden on the white man! Hence, Rudyard Kipling’s “The White man’s Burden” that pretty much explains the thought process. This is borne of the Protestant religion, and, also as referred to in Rudyard Kipling’s ditty, those who are wide eyed devils, these were preached as being cursed by God and therefore really not as human as the white race. So, wholesale slavery, and wholesale slaughter against indigenous people, was for the most part, done with a clean conscience because those religious leaders gave them a permission slip!

    Now you have 2 things you have to clean up, the educational aspect of life, and the moral aspect/religious aspect of life. But if you want to change something, you can’t be ignorant of it! And unfortunately, too many are ignorant of these drivers, and ignorance will lead to one’s demise.

    History is cyclical, for millennia the Jews have been the canary in the coal mines, the object of hatred and fear. For centuries, the African race has been co-canaries, because just as the Jews, those of the African race, given the opportunity, will excel above most in the white race! And that’s because when opportunity is presented, it’s not squandered for the most part, because those opportunities are few and far between.

  5. Part of the cause of the feelings they have about losing status and power is due the the prevalence of electronic media. Anyone can “tune into” sources showing how “other people” are living, and how much better their lives are. The media concentrate on those who seem to be living the “life of Reilly” (to use an old expression), so those who are not, wonder why.

  6. The whole problem started when 45 decided to repeat the Lie that the election wasn’t legitimate. The right wing of the media ran with the Lie and nobody in the GOP stood up and told the truth. I had hoped that 45 would set the record straight as he gave his last speech but the grifter couldn’t do it. These people were lied to and until 45 goes to jail, they will support him, because they believe him and only him. He told them for 5 years to not believe anyone but him. It’s a cult based on lies.

  7. Saw these middle-aged people in front of a rusting, obsolete steel mill in 2016 cheering for Trump. Did not go past the financial security lost. Did not consider the “loss of face”. Consider Indiana only: Loss of steel mills, loss of auto & tractor manufacturing, loss of school bus manufacturing, loss of TV manufacturing, loss of washer, dryer, refrigerator manufacturing, loss of coal mining, loss of family owned small farms, loss of wood furniture manufacturing, loss of musical instrument manufacturing. Certain I’ve missed others. Does anyone remember somebody with callused hands saying “I HELPED MAKE THAT “.
    Let’s be aware that those items/commodities are still being made somewhere else, it has little to do with the ‘labor cost excuse’ but everything to do with the US financiers and wealthy only interested in ‘instant income gratification’ as factories cost lots of money that is readily available in the USA, but the rich won’t invest in the future.

  8. Todd is right when he says that these aren’t the “economically depressed.” These are people who, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe that they are endowed by their creator with superiority. I said a few weeks back that they loved 45 because he gave them permission to say what they were thinking, to be who they really are. I doubt that anyone can reach them.

  9. Sheila poses civil questions about the nature of complex dynamics that fueled the insurrection on January 6th. I suspect we will be discussing all the implications for the next few generations. I choose to focus on what is for me an important issue. While adults are now in charge of The White House, there is a bold move to hold The Bully accountable. What we are witnessing are those who have courage to stand and confront The Bully, and those who choose to enable The Bully. The FBI is reporting that low hanging fruit in closing arrests are among those who were played by their own leaders who fueled emotion to attack but faded back behind lines of violence. These leaders of the insurrection followed the example of The Bully … Trump fueled emotion to attack and named the target while promising to be there with them … then faded back into his bunker. That is what bullies do. The most vulnerable take the hit. Now the bullies entrenched everywhere are watching to see if their hero gets away with it. They are betting he does. It is in their special interest to be empowered by another Trump victory. There is huge implication for the integrity of law and justice at many levels in our society by holding The Bully accountable.

  10. Professor-the quote from the Johns Hopkins Socialists perfectly describes the situation. Please give us this person’s name.

  11. “But Edsall also acknowledged the need to probe more deeply–to try to ascertain the roots of the anger and to identify the elements of contemporary life that serve to “trigger” violent expression.”

    The tap root of the “elements of contemporary life” is deeply buried in our history 400 years ago; the steady growth bringing us to now, “So Here We Are…”. Nurtured and fertilized and watered by religious dogma and growing White Supremacist groups known by many names. The probe should go all the way back to those planners in foreign countries who first came to these shores “to be free”; each group with their own view of freedom as the foundation of settlements leading to “So Here We Are…” today arguing over what happened, why and by whom January 6th transpired.

    “you have a choice between someone who wants to fix the problem or someone who wants to tell you who to blame for it.”

    So far, President Biden hasn’t been sucked into the Republican “blame game” or accepted their lip service (watch McConnell closely these days) which is in opposition to their actions and their votes on Trumpism; he is busy trying to “fix the problems” by removing Trump’s religious and racist Executive Orders which have torn this country apart. This needs to be done before progress can begin; like removing the debris from a hurricane before we start rebuilding.

  12. Should 45 ever be found guilty of any of his crimes and sent to prison he will become a martyr to his right wing followers. If he continues to be found not-guilty, he becomes to his followers the license for them to commit more crimes. For we law abiding and constitution supporting citizens this is a lose lose situation.

  13. As a white, urban, middle class Purdue Electrical Engineering and IU Law School Grad, son of rural southern Indiana less affluent parents (dad a carpenter with an 8th grade education, mom a housewife with a high school diploma), I’ve struggled with why so many of my “blue collar” contemporaries have rallied angrily around that evicted occupant of the White House who shall otherwise not be named here. Much as I respect and admire her, Hillary Clinton didn’t exactly help things by labeling them “deplorables”, but more broadly, I chafe a little every time I see my liberal icons on MSNBC use the term “non-college-degree white males” in announcing various polling results. Probably no malice intended, but those on the receiving end of that category can easily take it as “those poor dumb uneducated bastards who don’t know any better”. Until we get it into our heads that the trades are noble, that auto mechanics, plumbers, electricians and a host of other necessary and noble occupations (professions?) can and do make good money and contribute to our greatness, I’m afraid the great divide and resentment we are experiencing won’t lessen anytime soon.

  14. Not quite, aging girl. The insurrection – no matter how we parse definitions or try to “shrink” the participants – had/has its roots in our original sin, slavery. The Civil War showed how powerful the idea of oppressing non-white people could be. Why, for example, would over 400,000 poor, white, non-slave owning men go to eagerly die for a few thousand rich, white guys who wanted to keep their profits high from “free” labor? Add to that the cockeyed version of capitalism we practiced from day #1 – even before we were a country – and you have what we have.

    Now, however, we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of how government and the society SHOULD operate, but the inequality among us based on greed, the perversion of religion and the stoking of grievance (It was there in the 1940s and 50s when I was a kid listening to my elders.) to the point of violence this time was the product of all the ills and mistakes made by ALL of us.

    Lousy parenting. Ignoring the education of our children. The glorification of sports. The inherent bigotry and prejudice. The demographics of the mob shows that all of these things apply to all those age groups and occupations. Add it all up and put some raving psychopath in charge of the microphone and here we are.

  15. I agree with Sheila’s fundamental point: the feared loss of status is the fuel for the white supremacists. I agree Trump gave them a narrative upon which they could fixate. What I will never accept, and she is quoting others, is that “Trump felt their pain.” Trump does not have the empathy to feel anyone’s pain. Nor would he care if he did. Change that sentence to “Trump exploited their pain” and I am back on the bus.

  16. White Supremecists make up about 1% or less according to most sociologists. The amount of those that are racially challenged is much higher and yes it is on both sides of the aisle as if you read Setting the Record Straight, American History in Black and White by Dan Barton youll see a history of white dominance, but it didnt come from Republicans. The Washington Post actually lays blame on the FBI in sorts because their Roanoke division knew of chatter about attacking the Capital Building and what if alerts had gone out and the National Guard had been dispatched on the eve of the attack. No problems were solved there and it makes you wonder if the office of the President and the constitution is being protected by those we hired to do so.
    I found that michael Douglas one liner to be one of my favorites, but we must keep people free, and if people chose violate our freedoms and especially in the case of equal rights we can call the EEOC and complain.
    In regards to the capital attack more 99% of the public is against that kind of action. I hope we can find securityin that.

  17. Go into rural parts of Indiana where huge vehicle manufacturing plants dot the landscape and observe that those same places are bastions of Tr45p supporters. Deeply ingrained racism and small very fundamentalist religious congregations cement the resentment and grievance at the loss of status, not the loss of jobs. Yes, there are many small cities and towns that have lost manufacturing jobs that have virtually crippled their local economies. But if you compare the living conditions of those more rural communities to those of urban neighborhoods that have existed with those same conditions as the norm for generations, you understand that the difference is in what they have lost, not in what they never had. They see POC, women and LGBTQ+ being recognized as legitimately aggrieved and allowed to enter previously racially, religiously and culturally majority white, male positions of power and they resent the loss of status and control they have been raised to expect due to their entitled superiority. IMO, they will never acknowledge that equal opportunity and equal justice apply just as much to them as to those they resent. It will take at least a full generation of increasing population diversity to put them in a slight minority. It will be painful for us all as they will use every tool available to keep their privileged status. The NRA has provided much of the weaponry. The Tr45p cult has fueled the anger to violence. January 6th was not a one-off, but the next step for domestic warfare to restore the privilege they still enjoy but fail to see. The next cult leader may be just as sociopathic as Tr45p but much more intelligent and disciplined. Case in point, someone like Hawley.

  18. Certainly some groups of Americans more than others have seen the life that they planned on living being taken from them by “elites”. There’s no question of that. In my experience, most of those “elites” were in corporate governance rather than public governance but that distinction is obscured in the public mind on purpose. “Elites” manage people, in order to enrich themselves, and become associated with the class to which they feel entitled, the “elite” class.

    The aggrieved were beginning to feel like they were being shoved into what used to be the slave/immigrant class and what a drop in status that would be. Unbearable! Nobody below us? But we are America!

    The reality that is not as clear to them however is that they were being manipulated by, most of all, Donald Trump and other Republicans who pushed some of them over the edge into jail for the purpose of maintaining their ego born status of elite among elites. They were sacrificed like soldiers have been forever in service of elite power.

    All of this has been underway for decades. In fact Donald J. was just a more successful entertainer than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck were but of the same type.

    We’ve made a mess of things and there will be consequences for that but will we hold the real perps accountable? The elites who manipulated rather than the aggrieved who suffer?


  19. “He felt their pain….” No, he saw their pain, and used it, as any competent demagogue would.
    “Others who responded to Edsell’s inquiry noted that contemporary America is especially vulnerable to right-wing anger due to our high degree of income inequality, and lack of a welfare state safety net to buffer the fall of people into unemployment and poverty.”
    And who worked, assiduously, for the last 40 years, or so, to create that income inequality? The Jews? The “Lib’rals?” The Rothschilds building Space Lasers with foreign labor? (Sorry, I just had this urge to throw that in there.) No, obviously, it has been the party to which Trump attached himself, having once, reportedly said that if he joined any party it would be the GOP, because their base is just sooo stupid.
    A competent demagogue knows that the beloved “uneducated” are easy marks, and Hillary did not help with her “Deplorables” comment.
    The angst the Trumpists feel is understandable, not necessarily laudable, but feeling that the ground is slipping away from under one’s feet is no source of joy and the assessments presented, here, seem totally accurate, to me.
    It is some sort of irony that the bigots, who need the color of their skin to be worshipped, and the god of their center, in order to feel worthy, attached themselves to the party of long time bigotry, and false piousness, only to have that be the party that gradually, incrementally, stripped them of their jobs, told them that any movement toward “social support” was tantamount to socialism, or communism, and literally left them behind.
    Bernie, and AOC, whom they apparently hate, ( and she does not wear their uniform) have championed plans that would provide economic support…though not tribal support.
    However, after all that, I like sandy’s idea, but have to bow to Todd’s assessment, based on the demographics of the crowd of (hand picked?) insurrectionists. Except that, that may not be quite the crowd who has filled the places where Trump used to hold rallies. That base, may be more like the “uneducated,” he “loves.”
    And, Betty devise was put in office to create still more of them, but that’s beside the point, today.

  20. Dan Lazaraton @ 8:16 a.m.

    You touched on a major crux that has perplexed the average working man for generations! But, who is the entitled working man? When the emancipated slaves came north looking for work, they were met with violence and lynchings because the entitled working man in the North felt threatened.

    Now, the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas is really unconscionable. Because, the savings has not gone into the consumers pockets for the most part, it’s gone into the bank accounts of the corporate bigwigs, various operating officers and levels of vice presidents and premium shareholders. And, the GOP continues to dole out tax breaks for the same individuals, because that’s how they do I guess.

    No one has ever given any thought to the average working man, the person who pays the taxes and buys the houses and the cars, buys the refrigerators and washing machines, and so on and so forth. When there isn’t the ability to purchase, and, the individuals who used to produce these items, are bagging groceries, you have a problem. So, as Joe Biden said, the government will purchase made in America only. That in itself is going to create a lot of well-paying union jobs. It will also expand the tax base.

    But it can’t stop there, the manufacturing needs to be brought back here, because the rest of the world is catching up on wages anyway, so it’s not that much more inexpensive to produce there than here. The $15 minimum wage is going to make a big difference, if you do the research, the cost of that minimum wage increase does not make a huge impact on goods and services. Some don’t change at all.

    We will see if arms can be twisted enough to get these corporations to bring back these jobs to the United States. The uproar will be deafening, and there will be a lot of resistance. But the purse rules! So, you start taxing the income of these investors and corporate owners and operators, the part that’s originated overseas, and I’ll bet you’ll start seeing them bringing these jobs back here. Also, the threat of not protecting corporations who think that they’ve safely located their headquarters offshore, when foreign governments start to sue, let them twist in the wind for a while. Keep the State Department and Atty. Gen. out of it, only those companies that have a majority of their business in the United States would get the assistance and have the full weight of the government behind them.

    Trade schools and apprenticeship programs should be started for young men and women right out of high school, whatever trade or operation they want to be involved in, they could start right away and would be paid while they learn. It used to be that way here years ago. And, right now, Germany does it the best. Like I said in the other comment, free college, junior college and city College up to a bachelors degree, and interest-free college loans for the higher degrees, masters and doctorates. Associates degrees should be just like high school was back in the day, there is no reason why that shouldn’t be done right now.

  21. John Song’s recommendation, “ being able to reboot manufacturing in this country, and have intense apprenticeship programs for those who feel colleges are not the way for them” is an excellent one. Don Sherfick’s position regarding the value & importance of the trades as an profession is on point. Being college educated doesn’t make one better than anyone else. I should know, since I have four of those pieces of paper that can cover the holes in the walls.

  22. As to the allegations that there are corporate managers and others who are not economically disadvantaged but in the capitol building, I here note that a rich capitalist Engels also supported a bankrupt and boil-ridden Marx. I ascribe such seeming anomolies to other reasons in terms of status and power and racism. However, and in keeping with my analyses of such social dislocations through an economic lens, I think that those who fear loss of status and power are in the main those who could be relatively placated with an end to wage and wealth inequality.

    I don’t hear of any insurrectionist occupations of the seats of power in Berlin, Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, or Stockholm, where wages are high, along with “happiness” indices. Granted that they don’t have four hundred years of African slaves and the white superiority that goes with it in their history (though the EU is becoming a mishmash of races lately). For instance, who in 1950 would ever have dreamed that the Lord Mayor of London would be a Muslim – or that we would have a black ex-president, or a woman of color a heartbeat away from the Oval Office?

    Yes, I agree that the perceived loss of status and power and racist attitudes, especially when so identified and cheerled by a demented narcissist with a bully pullpit in search of political power can be grounds for the current upheaval we are seeing in our fractured politics, but I think that wage and wealth inequality is a big part of that “loss of status and power.” Transplanted Turks making 35-40 dollars an hour in German factories with union members (by law) on the boards of their employers and generous pensions, leave and other social benefits are unlikely to burn the Reichstag.

    As we have just witnessed with a year of the virus, it is neither politicians, Wall Street nor those who enjoy inherited riches who make the world of everday go around; it is the millions who work in factories, grocery stores, the utility workers, the police, firemen and other such essential workers, and perhaps if those corporate managers who went to the capitol were involved in a booming economy they would have neither time nor rationale for making the trip.

  23. AJ,

    I appreciate that!

    4 pieces of paper that cover holes in the wall?

    I would venture to say you put plenty of work and for those 4 pieces of paper! My entire career has been apprenticeships, and my wife is the one with the paper. There are benefits to both! Unfortunately, the value others put on the labor, time and circumstance, it took for either the apprenticeship or those pieces of paper, is another story. I think human dignity has a lot to play and how we relate to each other, compassion and empathy, definitely equate to ethical behavior. Unfortunately it it seems unethical conduct, lack of empathy and compassion, is overstocked at this point.

  24. And while searching for ultimate causes, we must, as Sandy points out, look hard at the survival of the fittest (dog eat dog) economic system that instructs each of us on what hoops to jump through each day. Before Reagan became president and capitalism was weaponized to benefit the few, CEOs made about 30 times as much as workers on the production line. Now, as is well known, they make more than 300 times as much on average. But before the economic tilt began, my non-working stepfather and Rosie the Riveter mother found a way to send my brother and me to two of the best colleges in the country. Does, or can that still happen?

    Half of the U.S, population owns about two percent of the nation’s wealth. That places us in a league with Uganda in terms of income inequality. How do you think the 2% feel about that? Since that statistic touches so intimately on our daily lives, do you see it as a possible source of grievance? Wouldn’t it rankle even more if a major subset of the Republicans (The Tea Party) made it their mission to perpetuate this trend? And there seems to be a self-destructive rule that governs how we pay our workforce: The more valuable the contribution of the job is to society, the less it will be rewarded – think teachers, social workers, butchers, sanitation workers, police and EMT’s. Would anyone but their tiny number of investors notice if all the hedge fund managers vanished from the planet? Try that question for sanitation workers. This is fertile soil for society’s polarization. David Korten summarized this phenomenon by saying, “Capitalism defeated Communism and it’s well on its way to defeating democracy.”

    Financialization, externalities, neoliberalism, ignoring nature, the demise of collective bargaining, would all form major chapters in an indictment of how capitalism currently works in America. Since FDR’s death in 1945 the Republican Party has devoted itself to (1) dismantling the reforms he put in place to make wages more equitable and (2) crippling the government’s ability to lend a helping hand. Their success has been resounding. As worshipers of Ayn Rand their motto has been, “Starve the beast.” Ignoring capitalism’s most basic and most absurd assumption, that infinite growth on a finite planet is possible, the system has worked overtime to discredit itself, but its defenders have worked harder.

    Yes there were dedicated racists and white supremacists and neo-Nazis at the Capitol on Jan. 6. But it it is my belief that people have been so badly battered by our economic system for so long that they are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Some of the rioters come from places where race is not an issue. None come from places that haven’t been ravaged by 21st century corporatism. Very few have the intellectual heft to sit around thinking “I am being displaced by forces beyond my control.”

  25. Identifying scapegoats to blame for societal pain, and which almost always includes economic strife, is at the core of the most egregious moments in western civilization connected to wars and the most violent and unsettling episodes in time

  26. Well said, Betty.

    Reading Sheila’s post and the comments, I will suggest (speculation) that there are two parts of the coalition with shared grievances. The DC Seditionists had more wealth and feel the loss of their status acutely. They want to rule and not share power – their way or — no alternative, just their way.

    Many others are the supporters. I suspect that they were raised in the standard American way with racism institutionalized into their world view. They feel the pain of economic loss. In the ’50s and ’60s, with our “diamond shaped wealth distribution”, where a factory worker could share in the American dream, the inherent racism could be subdued, and maybe could have been slowly eradicated over time (long time), but the greed and worship of Reaganomics, crushed those workers. Democrats rushed to the right, abandoning the New Deal view of economics. To these supporters, nobody was on their side. One part of the Democratic Party tried to maintain the commitment to civil rights and equal rights, so it sounded like poor whites, and especially poor white men, were being left out. Increasingly, (actually starting with Nixon’s Southern Strategy) from Reagan’s welfare queens to Trump’s “anyone who isn’t like me”, they were given the scapegoat.

    Given this view, if the Democrats really go big and address not only equality, but equal economic growth, the number of supporters will diminish drastically. Their underlying racism may not subside, but if they feel that they can live the “American dream”, it won’t matter.

    Racism is a tough nut to crack. It will take time, but if general well-being grows, racism will take a back seat. I don’t see antisemitism going away after a couple of millennia, but until recently, its overt expression was more subdued. We can hope to force racism into that “background”, so that one doesn’t have to fear police based on the color of their skin.

    As for the rich entitled racists who tried to overthrow the government – throw the book at them – maximum sentences and fines for these seditionists and their enablers.

  27. Don Sherfick, I like very much what you said here. Thank you.
    Also, as usual, Vernon Turner, JoAnn Green, John Sorg, Gerald Stinson and you, Todd.

  28. Plus, we see the republicans willing to hang Rep Greene out to dry while doing nothing to address Hawley, Nunes, Graham,and other complicit republicans,

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