Saturday, November 14, 2015

Probably quite a few racists, but they won't be offending anyone at Yale

...[A] plague gripping the isolated, fading towns dotting this part of Appalachia. Frontier communities steeped in the myth of self-reliance are now blighted by addiction to opioids – “hillbilly heroin” to those who use them. It’s a dependency bound up with economic despair and financed in part by the same welfare system that is staving off economic collapse across much of eastern Kentucky. It’s a crisis that crosses generations...

 ...Steve Mays, Lee County’s de facto mayor, is a Republican. He has a picture of McConnell on the shelf behind his desk. “I like Mitch. He’s very supportive of me when I need grants or something. He always tries to come through for me,” said Mays.

But just a few months earlier, McConnell had claimed “massive numbers” of people were receiving food stamps “who probably shouldn’t” and described the programme as “making it excessively easy to be non-productive”.

This put Mays in a bind. His party routinely demonises people who receive welfare – but many of his voters rely on it. Mays said he regarded welfare as “a trap”, but acknowledged that without it the town would die.

...[H]e acknowledged the seeming contradiction of people voting for a party that was so scornful of the government assistance their town survived on.
“You’re right, Republicans are against that. But that’s not why people around here are registered Republican. It’s because of local candidates or family history. My dad was Republican. I’m raised a Republican and voting Republican. That’s just the way it is,” he said.
This is routinely, and sometimes sneeringly, characterised by Democrats in other parts of America as poor white people voting against their own interests. It’s a view that exasperates Davis.
“They say, why aren’t these people voting their self-interest? People always vote their self-interest if they can see it. If they believe the government doesn’t work, if they believe that the Democrats don’t really give a shit about people like them, don’t want to be in the same room with them, they want their vote but don’t want to hang out with them, then as they see it they’re voting their self-interest,” he said.

 Emphasis mine.