Why Many News People Hate Trump While Carpenters & Welders Support Him?

"There is a club and you ain’t in it."
George Carlin

Many a young child of the working class has had a parent say, “I want you to grow up and have more than your parents had.” We all want a better life for our offspring; part of the American dream is that our offspring will have more than us, live better and enjoy more leisure time.  Yet in recent years people have become frustrated that everything from “globalization” to “automation” may make that dream far harder to achieve.  And this is the reality that underlies the growing division between the haves and have-nots, or the red states v. the blue ones, or even certain professions feeling superior to others not in their position.

Class division has existed since humans started building cities and having a division of labor. In my science fiction novel "The Destiny of Our Past" set in the era of Noah (Amazon link:  http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng ) the underlying premise of the plot is the distain the upper elite has for the commoner class.  Was it a factor back then? Probably, but in more recent civilizations such as Sumer, Egypt and (fast forward) the various Asian and European monarchies lasting up to recent history there was a clear distinction between those in the elite and those not so fortunate. We hope that this is not the case today, and we strive to climb that social ladder, but overall the difference between the elite and 90%+ of the population is as great as it ever has been.

Today we are seeing a class war, so to speak, but it is not so easy to say it is a battle between the rich and poor. It is also a war of perception. What does that mean? Well, it is easy to see those who are super-rich (i.e. banking and corporate heads) and the really rich (media personalities, upper-level celebrities) but these make up less than 1% of the population. How do their interests over-ride the other 99% plus? It depends on our perception of who we identify with.

Economically speaking, the pay scale of one of the 1% and, let’s say an associate professor is astronomically different. However, the economic standing of that associate professor and a guy who owns his own plumbing operation is not that different. We find variations of course depending on a variety of factors but overall most lawyers, artists, teachers, professors, plumbers, welders, police and construction workers make between 50 and 100 thousand dollars.  So while educational backgrounds may vary, and conditions of work, there is quite a bit of economic equality between these groups. However, how they see their place in life will often determine their politics and whether they falsely identify themselves also as elite or not.

The 2016 election saw a big divide between the more wealthy and less wealthy, the higher educated and less-educated, but not the way we might expect.  The people with more money tended to support Clinton, and, as many in the media like to remind us, those with more years of education. We are reminded by the media almost daily of this divide in the way they arrogantly make it sound as if those who voted for Trump live in trailer courts and lack any sort of intelligence.  Celebrities mock Trump voters wearing MAGA hats in comedy sketches or speaking of them as if they were a bunch of racists. The media often uses terms that presents Trump voters as something different than the ideal American.  It is quite apparent that to be “cool” in Hollywood, a college campus or country club you better avoid any positive interaction with these “untouchables.”

What we see is what we might expect to see in this “reality” that is being presented to us.  Those who are more blue collar or run small businesses tend to have voted for Trump while those who are in academia and artistic professions voted for Hillary. Is it because the latter are smarter than the former? Absolutely not.  Getting a PhD in sociology might take a lot longer to acquire than the training to be a policeman but is that sociology degree a real indication of how smart you are or if your insights into group dynamics are any better than a man or woman who lives in the real world each and every day? Being able to quote Durkheim or Mead might not help you interpret why crime statistics are different between one neighborhood you patrol and one just a mile further down the road. Years spent in school are not good indicators of overall wisdom.

One of the more interesting aspects of the divide we see today is that those with years of education, but working as baristas at coffee houses, or, if lucky, newspaper editors or professors is that they actually identify with the elite and their interests. That’s right, their world view is often determined by the elite.  In fact, those most obsessed with the opinions of some actor or actress, who makes more money in one movie than they would make in three lifetimes, are generally from those backgrounds.  Those most obsessed with “correct” ways of thinking, or what is trendy from the fashion elite, are also from these groups.  The explanation is simple, they perceive that all those years of education may not make them any more money than those they look down upon but their self-perceived greater intellect connects them to those who run society. Since they follow these people, be it in books that are being described as “must reads” or interviews on the TV entertainment (I mean news) shows they feel they are part of that special class.  They see their shared insights with them as proof they too are part of the people bringing change to society. So when the  elite presents their insights on issues ranging from environment to education, childbearing to political correctness, they grab onto these like a fashionista might rush in to grab the new purse that all the big actresses are sporting. 

Of course when many of these people see those who are economically equal to them but rejecting any sort of conformity to the opinions of the elite they get, pardon the term, triggered big time. Rather than engage in debate they mock their perceived opponents. Their subconscious begins to create a framework to attempt to explain how people could possibly reject the “enlightened” point of view. So what is the easiest way to create a line? Well, you can label those who don’t conform as (oh wait, you know all the insults). Each time they sit together sipping on over-priced coffee they reinforce their “superiority” with each put-down they share about all those deplorable people they are forced to share the country with.

Overall this is evolving into a division in society that shows no sign of being erased. The people who the hypothetical coffee-sippers deride are also beginning to see those on the other side of the divide in less-than-complimentary terms. This too will facilitate arrogance towards those they see as hostile to their way of life.  Sadly, once we reach a stage where people just automatically categorize those they feel are different as the enemy then we cease to be a functioning society. What might follow?  Who can say? 

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If you like fiction that is encourages one to think about where we are at today, and where we are heading, then check out my recent novel:



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