Posted Friday, August 19, 2016.
This morning I took what I regard as my first real walk since the operation three weeks ago now.
They had me up and moving about the day after the surgery and I did laps around the hospital floor every day I was there. Since I’ve been home I’ve taken regular strolls up the street to the corner and back and I’ve arranged an obstacle course in the house that I navigate a couple of times a day. But it’s not a real walk unless you actually walk somewhere, and today I walked along the riverfront in Newburgh. After dropping Mrs M off at the ferry and making a coffee run to the nearest McDonald’s (Because, Chris, it really is the best coffee in the world!) I returned to the riverfront and made my way up to a picnic area near the pleasure cruiser River Rose’s dock. Not exactly a long hike but farther than I’d ventured yet. I was feeling it by the time I reached the picnic tables, so I sat down to rest and take in the view.
The view there includes a marina where dozens of speedboats, launches, cabin cruisers, and other assorted expensive water toys are docked.
You may remember a few weeks back I wrote a post called Donald Trump is nothing like “Donald Trump” scoffing at the idea that Trump voters are motivated by “economic anxiety.” That has been a major theme of pundit conventional wisdom, on the left and the right, from the day Trump descended from the heavens on that escalator, that Trump’s base is made up of hard-pressed working stiffs fed up with the way the political and economic elites of both parties have left them to suffer and struggle and fail and grow broke while their local factories close, their hometowns die, and all the jobs travel overseas and all the money flows into the pockets of the bankers, hedge fund managers, and the politicians on their payrolls.
No wonder, then, said the pundits, all those hard-pressed working stiffs are drawn to the candidate who’s promising to claw back all “our” money, bring home all “our” jobs, and kick out all the freeloaders stealing “our” jobs and living high off the hog on “our” tax dollars. Of course, Trump doesn’t use the word “freeloaders.” He says immigrants, but the pundits have had a hard time hearing the word or reacting as if kicking out all the immigrants is a bad and cruel idea and as if most immigrants aren’t hard-pressed working stiffs themselves and as if they aren't in fact “stealing” jobs---you know, the way my Irish immigrant great-great-grandfather didn't steal the job in the sandpit that eventually killed him but by which he set up generations of Mannions to live here as productive, patriotic, "real" Americans.
The evidence was there from the first and has been accumulating since that this bit of conventional wisdom, like most bits of conventional wisdom, is, in the immortal words of Joe Biden, a bunch of malarkey.
Yes, many Trump voters are hard-pressed working stiffs (white working stiffs) beset by economic anxieties of various kinds. Which makes them just like the millions and millions of the rest of Americans who aren’t drawn to Trump, who are in fact repelled by him. But many Trump voters are doing just fine economically, thank you. And many of them aren’t working stiffs, let alone hard-pressed working stiffs. The factor that identifies and unites Trump voters isn’t what they do to earn their daily bread or their economic anxieties. It’s a general sense of aggrievement at the idea that THEY aren’t taking it hard enough it the chin. THEY being, well, everybody who isn’t angry, white, straight, Christian, and Right Wing conservative. In short, Trump voters are racist, xenophobic, bigoted, authoritarian, and reactionary and they don’t care who knows it, and how much money they have in the bank has only incidentally to do with their attraction to Trump, except in their expectation that somehow by electing Trump a lot more money will magically appear in their bank accounts.
At any rate, in my post I wrote that while some Trump voters are worried about things like how to pay for groceries this week and whether they’ll have enough left over to buy the kids new shoes, the main source of economic anxiety for a great many Trump voters is that they’ve had to put off buying a boat.
Here I am, down at the riverfront, taking in the view, and included in the view, among the many high-priced toys docked at the marina, is a cabin cruiser flying a large---large but not YUGE---red, white, and blue TRUMP flag waving proudly in the breeze.
So much for that economic anxiety. But times are tough all over and I’m sure the owner of that boat is feeling some other form of economic anxiety.
He’s probably had to put off building that addition to the summer house on the shore.