Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

THEY DON’T LIKE YOU

          What drives the national divide today? Partially, but largely, a standoff between differing cultures in America. Growing up in the foothills of the Missouri Ozarks, whatever I heard on radio and saw on TV had nothing to do with my life or of those around me.

          It was all about what we now call the “elites” of the east and west coasts—what they were saying and doing, what they liked and didn’t like. And, by default, their amusements and concerns were ours too because nothing else was on the tube. Our tastes were home-made and lacking in the sophistication (and manipulation) of those who controlled the major sources of information. But ours at least were for, and about, us. But we were invisible to the rest of America.

          A look at the larger world drove me at last to take the first stagecoach out of Dodge, so to speak, and come to terms with what theretofore was alien territory. Laugh if you will, but my first diagnostic test flatly revealed that I was “culturally deprived” but accepted into a private grad school due to IQ.

Yet my speech separated me from those reared elsewhere. It is not rare even now to hear Southern politicians admit that they know other Americans feel that they “talk funny” and I’m here to tell you they have not a clue why, any more than Brits know we think they have silly speech patterns that only posturing snobs and celebrities care to emulate. In your case, you would talk funny too if you were reared in a home with Jeff Sessions for a dad: “There but for the grace of God,” and all that.

          Years of broader exposure have occasioned a different person. Only those with the keenest ear can detect rudiments of my former speech, and only those who knew me “then” know the differences in my head and heart.

          But I have not forgotten where I came from, or the people there. They have a national inferiority complex whether they admit it or not, and—news flash!–on a personal basis they have more ego strength than sophisticates burdened with much more inner conflict, whether they too admit it or not. Sophisticated northerners, especially New Englanders, are far greater male chauvinists than educated Southern men, and haven’t a clue how obvious is their cloaked racism regardless what they think they know of the southern variety.

          Those who’ve had this country their way for too long are unaware of other subtleties, i.e., back when celebrity crooners like Sinatra, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, et al, were sucking up all the cultural air, country singers outsold them hands down in albums, sheer sales and money. And when people wondered why followers of televangelists continued to support their disgraced preachers, it was that cameras at crusades and revivals showed at last the forgotten people who were never in the news or on TV—and clearly were different from the self-described sophisticates and intelligentsia. To take down their preachers would ensure that they too, again, would disappear.

          In truth, that is no different than the rest of humanity: if you’re young and not into every new Rock group regardless of the inanity of lyrics, you’re a nobody. Cam-pan an Improv crowd and you know the only reason those people look like their having a good time laughing at lame jokes is because they’re drunk and know they’re on television.  

          As the noose tightens around Donald Trumps’s neck and we begin that sigh of relief at finally dodging a terrible bullet, let us not forget that along with a changing world that scares the hell out of some people and makes them lash out in equal parts at perceived authorities and any designated minority, we can continue to do our part to dig the cultural divide even deeper—and risk another Donald Trump that we won’t be able to get rid of.

           This warning is not about haters—that’s another subject, but it’s about a lesser animus that threatens ever to turn into hate. We look down on the kind of person I once was and short of hating them, we simply ignore them the way people pitied the poor in Dickens’ England.

          But America’s forgotten can’t ignore us and they don’t quite hate you. But they sure as hell don’t like you. And that’s why they voted for Donald. And will vote for him again.

          So be aware. And now that we know what Donald is like: be very, very afraid.

         .

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2 Responses to “THEY DON’T LIKE YOU”

  1. Amen, my brother! Amen!

  2. Those of us who grew up in Cape, shared the experiences of the 50s and perhaps had Ms. Sadler for English, and went out into the world are, as always, very proud to read you. Best to you, bill


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