Dear White Working-Class Persons—especially you White Working-Class Men:
I get to say this because I am one of you. I am white. I’m a Boomer. I’ve worked as a roofer and a liquor store clerk. I’ve harvested wheat in Kansas and tossed hay bales in Arkansas. I’ve also worked in advertising and in academia, and for the last 20 years I’ve been a pastor. That’s right, a clergy person—right now one royally, righteously pissed off and more than a little depressed clergy person. But I’m still the guy who puts new guts in the toilet at home when the parts wear out and the guy who knows how to patch the roof. I’m still the guy who struggles to balance the household budget. I still load up my motorcycle with a tent and a sleeping bag when I have to get away from it all and blow out the cobwebs. So I get to say this because I’m one of you.
Last night you screwed the pooch. Last night you took the final steps down a primrose path that is nothing but dust and feathers. You were led there as deftly as any pied piper ever absconded with the village children. And it didn’t just happen overnight or even during this latest election cycle.
You’ve been played. For the past 35 years you’ve been listening to a very loud and very skewed story about how awful everything is for you. And yes, I know that things have been tough. Things have changed. The ground has shifted. Jobs have been tougher to come by and they pay less. You’ve got a legitimate beef. But instead of looking at why all that is happening and what you can do about it and who maybe has some solutions, you just listened to the loud, sad, bad story of punditry which was really nothing more than a lot of finger-pointing in all the wrong directions.
Don’t you get it? Well, clearly you don’t. It’s all been a big carnival trick of misdirection. All the Rush Limbaughs and Fox News Personalities convinced you that it was those nefarious (it’s a real word, you can look it up) Liberals who were to blame for all your troubles. And you bought their fertilizer by the bagful. And if any legitimate news source tried to give you some actual facts that didn’t agree with the story those windbags were spewing, they taught you to just dismiss it as “Liberal Media.” My God in Heaven, with all the competing information out there you had to choose to be ignorant.
And over and over again while you were memorizing their evil little song about how bad everything is, you let them guide you into making it worse. You let them lead you into electing people whose primary role has been to create schism and dysfunction. You let them pull you by the nose into electing people who manufactured the worst, longest-running war in our history out of nothing but fairy tales in the desert. You let them convince you that the people who were deepest in bed with the lobbyists, big money, big pharma, big oil and all the other special interests were, somehow, the best people to represent you! You let them lead you into electing people who pulled the brakes and steering out of our financial industry so that they could crash the economy and make you pay for it!
You let them lead you into electing people who brought the whole government of the United States of America to a standstill. You let them tell you it’s a matter of principle, that you have to take a firm stand. Well guess what, compromise is also a principle. You can actually take a firm stand on that, too. Finding common ground is a principle. Finding a common vision is a principle. Opening doors so that everybody has a chance to enjoy those unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a principle. And maybe if you had shut off the Angry Red channels for a week or two you would have heard a few interesting facts about where we stand and a few workable ideas about where we could go from here.
But no. You let them convince you that our government, itself, is at worst evil and at best incompetent. You swallowed their blame story about The President or The Party We Don’t Like. How could you not see how insane that is? Didn’t you study civics? Didn’t you learn about the balance of powers? Didn’t you understand that the balance of powers only works when there’s an effort to actually balance the powers? And didn’t you learn where the ultimate responsibility for all of this really lies? Didn’t you learn that WE ARE THE FREAKING GOVERNMENT??? Oh…you didn’t? Well that explains a lot.
So you let them make you angry. You let them take that cold little trickle of fear that everybody feels from time to time in our ever-changing world and convert it into a gleeful little flame of self-righteous anger. You let them take all the things that make you nervous—your discomfort with people of color, your discomfort with immigrants, your discomfort with different religions, your discomfort with LGBTQ people, your discomfort with women in positions of leadership, you discomfort with freakin’ CHANGE which is simply a fact of life—all your myriad little discomforts—you let them play on all those anxieties like a fiddle until they had you dancing down their lane right into the voting booth. And there you voted your fears instead of your hopes.
Don’t you ever ask yourself who wants you to believe what and why? Don’t you ever stop to think about the crap you’re hearing through your radio and TV and social media and ask who those pundits are working for and what’s their agenda? I’ve got news…your well-being is not their top priority.
But you followed them. Boy did you follow them. And this time they were led by the greatest showman since P.T. Barnum. Remember him? He’s the guy who said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American People.” Yep. Last night you elected a showman. And face it, when all is said an done, that is all Donald Trump actually is. He sure isn’t a successful businessman, although he plays one on TV. He sure isn’t a family man, unless your idea of a good family man is a guy who blows through wives like candy and makes salacious comments about his own daughter. He sure isn’t a paragon of moral virtue. Do I even have to cite examples of how much he is NOT that? And for all his buddying up to the Fundagelical Religious Right, he sure as hell doesn’t look or smell much like a Christian to me. Yeah, I know. Judge not. I’m just saying, if I was his pastor, we’d have some words about the Word.
No, when all is said and done, Donald Trump is nothing more than a showman. He is P.T. Barnum writ larger than Barnum ever dared to portray himself and that’s saying something. Last night all y’all elected a huckster. A showman. I hope you like the show. The previews give me nightmares. May God forgive us all for electing entertainment over substance.
6 thoughts on “Dear White People”
All I have enough energy to say at the moment, after the most depressing day of my life (and I’m 74) is: BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! And keep up the good words.
Dear Pastor Steve,
The article below makes some good points.
Yesterday, like most Californians, I voted for Mrs. Clinton. I was NOT happy with either of the major party’s candidates. If he would have had a chance, I would have written in Barry Sanders’ name.
For many decades, I’ve felt that both political parties look out for themselves (the professional politicians) over the us, the country’s citizens.
In my view, either side can make a valid case for how bad the other side is. As this article rightfully points out the “President Elect” is the worst choice we had.
May the Good Lord help us – despite ourselves.
Thanks for listening,
Leland (Lee) Howard
Dear Pastor Steve, Thank you for expressing your thoughts on this horrific outcome in our presidential election. I have felt numb all day- just not even able to wrap my mind around how this could have happened.
Our world needs a major dose of love, healing and Holy Spirit intervention!
Sent from my iPhone
My America is great, because God is the center of my life — He has so richly blessed me with His abundance, and I’m free to live and worship as I please.
A new President has been elected and confirmed, and tomorrow will come, and I’ll still have my freedoms, my blessings and the church as the center of my life.
I’m so grateful and thank God for always being our True Leader!!
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. – Irish proverb
Bravo, Arne ….. You do us proud. ‘Only thing is, you’re singing to the choir. And there are many people who won’t bother to read what you have so passionately expressed. Present this as a Letter to the Editor, or make the cover of Newsweek Magazine….. A sad note: a friend of mine slept through the entire election day and didn’t vote. What to do??? Rod
Wow. Jesus is the one true King. This is the core of Christianity. What we have in this world now is not the way it will be forever, or even for much longer. My advice pastor, is to preach the Gospel like the one true King is coming back tomorrow, because He might. Neither candidate was anything close to perfect. For me, a single issue voter, Clinton is the abortion queen therefore can never get my vote. The Democratic platform very closely aligns, plank by plank with the Communist Party’s platform. This is also a problem for me since I too am a boomer who grew up learning to hide my head under the desk so the communists couldn’t hurt me when they attacked. Communism, with it’s elitist leaders does not leave room for God, and
socialism is not much better for that. I’ll vote for as much freedom as I can in the mean time. By the way, I was a big Ben Carson supporter. He understood God’s role in his life. I believe he was the lone candidate this cycle that had a prayer of leading our country towards unity. Lately our leaders, especially the progressive ones like Obama and Clintons have been exaggerating our differences by race, income and ethnicity. Not good my pastor friend. Peace in the blessed name of Jesus Christ