“Our lives don’t matter” ~ agonizing comments by mostly white, mostly poor citizens of McDowell County W. Virgina who have been left behind by both political parties

by faithgibson on December 3, 2016

  • Why 82% of the mostly white, mostly poor citizens of McDowell County W. Virgina either voted for Trump or voted against HRC in the primary,  or were so disheartened and discouraged they didn’t vote in the presidential election of 2016

  • Why all Americans should care very much about other Americans who are in the kind of desperate circumstance exemplifed by the depressing experience of people living in McDowell County.

A heart-wrenching but an extremely insightful video on the dire poverty and hopelessness of people living in rural West Virgina. This tragic reality is in stark contrast to Republican bragging over their winning, or Democratic anger over losing the 2016 presidential election.

CNN news report: “Feeling helpless in WV: ‘We are the forgotten tribe'”

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Before watching this video on the extreme problems of rural West Virginia, I read two informative interviews  of political science professor Kathy Cramer of the University of Wisconsin published in the Washington Post (11/08 and 11/21 2016) . Professor Cramer’s area of study is long-term research on the electoral politics of rural Wisconsin. Her 9-year research project started in 2008. Professor Cramer talked several times and at great length to the same small-town residents of farming communities (often populations under 300) and then analyzing their views over time.

The Washington Post articles described a  new theory that actually makes sense for why Trump voters are so angry.  Cramer’s most recent book, “The Politics of Resentment,” explains that the perspective of rural voters of Wisconsin is based on their experience that state and federal governments, and city-dwelling “elites” disrespect and disregard the lives of rural populations and deprive them of their “fair share” of government benefits.

Cramer explains that the personal values of people are shaped by their worldview, in particular, the racial and economic anxieties. As Cramer writes in her book:

This is how the politics of resentment operates — it works through seemingly simple divisions of us versus them, but it has power because in these divisions are a multitude of fundamental understandings: who has power, who has what values and which of those values are right, who gets what, and perceptions of the basic fairness of all of this.


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