Mike has pictures of fish to post, so that kind of neutralizes those try pulling the “real ‘merican!” shtick on him (to endorse policies that benefit the top 1%). Allow me to list my “populist” credentials, since advocating for policies that actually help blue collar workers isn’t enough.
1. My daddy is a farmer. I had a pet goat when I was little. I spent half my afternoons running around on the farm (when Mother was working evenings) making toys out of sticks and old gasoline nozzles, chasing geese and exploring.
2. I grew up around guns, and enjoy shooting them. My father and grandfather were champion trap-shooters, but I was more of a rifle-and-scope kind of guy. My father still trades guns and anybody who has ever been to a gun show in Iowa has probably met him. Hint: He’s the only vocal Democrat in the building.
3. My mother is an RN, and the first in her family to graduate from college, albeit a two year nursing program.
4. I went to a school with a K-12 population of about 240 kids. I took welding and small engines.
5. I graduated from a state college, University of Northern Iowa. Ivy League schools intimidate me a bit, and the people who graduate from them seem like they have robotic super-powered brains to me.
6. I have drunk many pitchers of cheap beer and various forms of swill. When I drink wine, it’s under $5. One of my favorite things to drink is a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor. Pretty much, if a vagrant would drink it, I’ll give it a shot (shout out to Mad Dog 20/20!). PBR tastes like cow piss, though.
7. I eat terribly. Fast food in any form, burritos, five dollar piles of Chinese food…yesterday my lunch was half a bag of hot fries. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger! Seriously, I could eat chicken nuggets and pizza every day (though I had to start jogging, like an elitist)
8. Cool smarty-pants kids don’t really like me or find me particularly interesting, cultured, or rebellious (though I am, I swear).
9. It was up to my wife to see that I wore halfway decent clothes. Before her I was wearing tapered jeans and t-shirts, and lots of dark monochromatic shirts.
10. I’ve worked in nursing homes, small town restaurants, single screen movie theaters, dormitory dining service, polling, window selling, video stores, etc.
11. I make around $20K a year and haven’t had health insurance since 2000. Just got on my wife’s plan, no visit to the doctor yet. I’m just about done paying for the $4000 operation I had two years ago (two operations, it ended up being), and for years I had to travel to Mexico to get dental work.
12. By sheer luck and nothing more have I avoided a small posse of illegitimate children with terrible women.
13. Oh, I grew up in a town of 100 people, and spent the other half of my childhood tooling around the countryside on bike, building forts where possible (within a train trestle, mind you), and swimming in whatever body of water we could find.
14. I went to Sunday school most of my life, where we never talked about Hell, just read the more exciting parts of the Old Testament and talked about what a nice man Jesus was.
15. I was spanked, not only by my parents but by my high school principal on more than one occasion.
16. Finally, I swear like a sailor. Or, rather, like a farmer. Or a farmer’s son from small-town America. Because that’s what the fuck I am.
Now, I’ve excluded a lot of things that make me a bit “fancy” and also “un-American” by the barometers of a lot of Ivy League wealthy rightwingers who hate the poor and working class and gleefully manipulate and pillage them for all they’re worth. If a working poor person does have some education and uses a few too many big words going after the elites in our society, they can be neutralized via the cultural war tropes that piss us off because they’re distracting and stupid…so we can be ostracized for being pissed off and calling “stupid” where we see it.
The elites in our society don’t tell people “pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” because they want to help them become wealthy too. Liberals and conservatives alike own small businesses and become managers. The elites say it to keep us down, to keep the rabble away from the fruits of their labor, away from the profits that their hard work generates. They don’t get people frothing mad about taxes because taxes keep anybody poor or working class down, but because it’s the wealth of the elites that gets tapped to provide for schools, Social Security, Medicaid, and other things. Roger Ailes needs every penny of his $23 million a year so he can keep living behind thick walls with security details, so Fox hosts the Tea Party rallies and get people fired up about health care for them that would lean on his taxes for support. It’s that simple. And if a rich person does dare to advocate for the working class, they have the whole “Limousine Liberals!” shtick to play. You get screwed either way.
So they sell that snake oil, and these rich bastards assuage the working poor by telling them the liberals who are trying to directly help them secretly hate them.
My father was a blue collar working class Democrat who supported the party because he always saw them fighting for him, and he always saw the Republicans doing everything they could to screw the working class. He never regarded their blather as anything other than the prattling of used car salesmen, smooth-talking shysters. Nobody could ever fool him into thinking that denying him health care was doing him a favor, and nobody could ever fool him into thinking that a billionaire’s taxes were too high. He’s culturally still somewhat conservative, and my ways don’t always please him, but that’s always been a separate subject. He’s still not sure Barack isn’t going to take away his guns, but he knows that’s the only issue he likes Republicans for. It’s the only thing they have to say that has anything to do with his actual life and how it’s lived, and it’s not enough.
And that’s the foundation from where I start.
p.s. And I’ve seen every single UFC!