To start, my version of a joke I remember reading in the late seventies (The story made more universal is posted here, as this was written specifically in service to the point made in this posting):
There was a Soviet Era farmer who lived on one of the Soviet farms, and he was farming on his personal plot of land (this was the time when the Soviet Union decided to allow their farmers a plot of land for their own use) when his plow uprooted an Old Persian Oil Lamp, so he picked it up, brought it to his Soviet era cement block and got a cloth to wipe it down. After a few rubs with the cloth he loooked up and saw that there was a stranger eminating from the lamp where the fire would have been lit.
“I am the Genie Of The Lamp. You have freed me, so I shall give you three wishes. What is your first wish?”
“My first wish is that I get a better, newer hut. This hut is sturdy but old, and I wish for something sturdier and newer.” The Soviet farmer said.
“Your wish is my command.” The genie said.
And the Soviet farmer found himself in a familiar looking hut, only with an extra bedroom and better construction complete with wood used where the wood would be more useful, or as a beautifier. The Soviet farmer looked over his new hut and deemed it good – better, even, than he would have wished for.
“What is your second wish?” the Genie asked.
After a second’s thought, the Soviet farmer replied “I wish for me a wife to help out with the chores and make this house a home.”
“Your wish is my command.” The genie said.
And before his eyes the Soviet farmer saw a woman standing before him. She was nice to look at, stocky enough for the chores she would have to do, a ready helpmeet for the day’s work – and, with a pleasure that surprised even him, he surmised that she was as eager to comfort him during the nights as she was ready to help during the day. The Soviet farmer looked over his new wife and deemed her good – better, even, than he would have wished for.
“And what is your third wish?” The genie asked.
The Soviet farmer paused for a bit, thinking over what he might want. His eyes then went over to his neighbor’s plot of land, and how, instead of one cow and one bull, he had three cows and one bull – enough to actually create a surplus of milk and calves for the neighbor to sell. And a smile came to the Soviet farmer’s eyes.
“You have your third wish?” The genie asked.
“Yes. Remove two of the neighbor’s three cows. Leave him one cow and one bull, but the other two must disappear.” The Soviet farmer said.
The idea, of course, that that the normal person would want for other people to benefit from their labors and (good, productive) plans and that it took a destructive political system to make people wish instead for the impoverishment and destruction of others. Thus, we laugh at the system that would cause the farmer to wish ill on the neighbor instead of at the farmer (Although there’s some laughter aimed at the farmer, as well – why not laugh AT him, since he chose to damn his neighbor instead of raise himself up?).
Yeah, I know – to explain the joke is to ruin it. Stick with me on this.
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Now focus on the election of Donald Trump for the Presidential office, and while Hillary Clinton received 2.5 million plus more votes Donald Trump won the Electoral college by turning the once-prosperous and once Democratic rust belt into a newly-reddened Republican outpost. A trend that started in West Virginia in 2000 (where a state that was once an island of Blue in 1988 (Yes, Bentson was a Democrat) turned into a Red Spear aimed at Pennsylvania, DC, and New England) spread into Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and affected Michigan enough to turn the state Red, and while one could say that more people wanted Hillary than were willing to pick Trump (Nearly 1 in 5 Trump voters felt he was unqualified to become President but voted for him anyway, hence “were willing to pick” instead of “wanted”) enough people voted for Trump in enough states that Trump was able to pull off the victory.
The result? Not enough activity along the lines of the Tea Party in 2008 yet (organizing, preparing to take over from the ground up. Yes, Corporations United helped, but if you’re going to be the party for the poor you need to activate the poor as a replacement for money. The Democrats used to understand that, when the Republicans have always paid their workers the Democrats used to rely on volunteers.), although many see it as necessary (thank God). So far I’ve read oodles of posts stating that everyone who voted for Trump was Racist or – WORSE YET – willing to accept racism, that robots and AI automation would make Trump’s promises IMPOSSIBLE for him to deliver on (never mind outsourcing to Mexico or “Moving headquarters to Europe”, stuff that Trump seems to have had an immediate effect on even before making it to office), that Trump played the working class for fools, and that the left was getting ready to LAUGH at the white (yes, let me put THAT word out there) working class for abandoning the party that had, in the past, protected them and made their dreams possible. In short, they mocked those workers and former workers instead of considered how to win them back (heck, they even have plans of turning to Arizona and Texas to replace Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania for future wins).
Well, here’s the thing: When you run on the idea of “It was my turn eight years ago, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for finally realizing it,” go out of your way to dismiss the serious challenges to you that rise up from your base, and run on the idea that you’re owed the votes from 69% of the population (everyone EXCEPT non-hispanic white males – and that’s not including gay men or the transgendered posing as male out of a wish to survive through the hell that is non-urban life), don’t be surprised if your wish gets frustrated.
But enough on that. This post is focusing on the nearly one in five Trump voters who, deeming Trump unqualified, still voted for him. People who, having watched their neighborhoods, cities and services gutted for the sake of WalMart, China, Manhattan, San Francisco, the DC area and their state Capitols (although many of the State Capitols look ragged once you walk a few blocks from their Capitol Domes or their professional suburbs), having seen trade treaties trump their efforts to improve their towns, having seen the party many of them once turned to diss on them and seek out the favor of those who wished them harm, having observed the concentration of medical services into the larger cities to the point of knowing that “emergency service” for their town has been redefined as taking them to the hospital to put an official time to their death by something that would have been a minor occurrence in the big city, having seen education go from something which could help to something used to hold you down (through the incessant testing requirements and the loans what will tag you as unemployable even as they drain you without remorse or recourse), with even the decent sized cities (with jobs that pay enough to help you live) being made too costly for you to move to, had decided (while putting it in their own words) that Lenin was right – that any cook should be able to run the country, and that while Trump would probably make only peppery dishes (note that Lenin originally warned the others about Stalin, saying that “Stalin will make only peppery dishes.” You know how that turned out….) that they would rather see a patently unqualified Mr. Trump take office over the supposedly overqualified Mme. Clinton.
And, having seen all the above, they aren’t necessarily looking for benefits to themselves and their way of life – they only wish for what may harm those who seem to wish to harm you. A person who no longer cares most highly for improvements in your own life will instead wish for the debasement of the lives of people whom they feel has hurt them, whether harmed directly, indirectly or not at all.
Imagine the following issues, with the specific desires attached to them:
- What if, instead of merely stopping the planned expansion of the South Shore Line down towards Dyer (with plans for going further south) they decided that the South Shore Line itself should be shut down (can’t expand what doesn’t exist)? Expand this nationwide, and the piecemeal expansion of transit this nation has emparked on since the mid-seventies can be permanently reversed and made into the finalized destruction that would have happened had the energy crisis of the early seventies delayed itself by a decade or two.
- What if people in non-coastal-urban Florida didn’t care about Global Warming because they knew that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area are dealing with extreme tidal flooding IN their cities…and they’re happy about it, as that meant the Democratic voters living there had to eventually move elsewhere? Doesn’t matter where they move to, whether it be elsewhere in the state, out-of-state or out of the nation (lots of people in the Miami-Palm Beach multiplex with multiple citizenships), their inevitable evacuation will lead to a more Republicanized state.
- What if upkeep on the New York Subway system was viewed as unnecessary because eventually a Level 5 Hurricane was going to reflood the system with Gloriously Corrosive Salt Water – and flood much of the city in the process (and, let’s add, free the Long Islanders from the Stockholm Syndrome they suffer – way else would they vote Democratic?)? And what if this could be applied, by extension, to every city on the Eastern Seaboard, from Portland in Maine to the Hampton Roads area in Virginia?
- Why fix the pipes in Flint when the city’s dying anyway – and, to be honest, what better way to sequester the excess lead but in poor people’s bodies? Just make sure they’re buried in a sanitary landfill (maybe Berlin and Farro) so they don’t accidentally poison Soros or the Koch Brothers.
- What if they could force Chicago into fixing its problems – but won’t, because at present the city is in a death spiral and all those corporations who left their former hometowns because it was easier to export their production to China and other foreign lands from within the towers of Chicago would have to find another place to move (thereby accelerating the death of that once great city)?
- Why warn Seattle and Portland about coming tsunamis when eventaully a megaearthquake will turn the I-5 Corridor into a disaster area, killing many Democratic voters and making many others homeless, voteless wanderers?
- Why care about California Wildfires? The people putting their homes in the woods should EXPECT them to burn down during dry periods, and since those lead pipings were placed all over the country the rest of the nation NEEDS a source of water to bottle and sell to those in need. Why else is Nestle pumping out the water, except to sell the water where it’s needed?
In short, it’s a wishlist of things NOT meant to benefit those who voted for Trump but a wishlist of harm to be done to those who wouldn’t have voted for Trump this election.
And these folks who voted for Trump against their own better judgement, who voted to get back at their “liberal,” citified folks and their minority-self-identifying allies (again, let’s call it what it is – I can’t and won’t say Racism had absolutely no part in this, just that I don’t believe it is the only thing that matters), they’ve already had their votes validated by the unremitting panic of the left. All the effort towards turning Republican Electors into betrayers (never mind being made “unfaithful”) was to laugh, and if one knew how to cut through the news one finds out that Clinton could NEVER have made 270 even with the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania if the electors in quite a few States had had the Freedom of Conscience intended by the Founding Fathers.
Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if Mme. Clinton had a record of supporting the Working Class against the Rich and Scheming – indeed, her election would have properly been seen as an inevitability. However, as has been well and often written, Hillary was a partner (and NOT just by being married) of Bill during his time as President, and many of the bills that Bill passed that have harmed the poor and working class – NAFTA, GATT, China’s “Most Favored Nation” Status, Three Strikes, Mid-nineties Welfare Reform, The Telecommunications act of 1996, the ending of Glass-Steagall – all were done with her working behind the scenes, helping and guiding her husband with the stuff. So, in short, the woman has a record (along with her Husband) and it’s not good (yes, hindsight is 20-20. Hindsight is ALSO the form of judgement that lasts, as it has the advantage of allowing people to see the results of the choices).
Harm someone enough and you may find that person wanting your harm, even if they are more deeply harmed by the harm you receive. They will gain their consolations from the harm you receive and your empuzzlement at your schadenfreude.
Hence 2016. Hence Trump and the nearly 1,000 elected seats – both in the states and nationwide – that have shifted from Democratic to Republican hands.
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Of course, the story of the (Soviet) farmer usually ends at the point of the third wish, as if all we needed to know was that he had learned to hate his neighbor farmer for having more than he. However, I had always wondered how the story ended, and here’s what I ended up writing:
“As you wish.” The genie said.
And suddenly the Soviet farmer’s hut was back to the way it was before he had the wishes, and slightly more worn to boot. The wife was also gone. So was the Old Persian Oil Lamp which had housed the Genie.
The farmer looked over to his neighbor’s yard and found that the neighbor had but one cow and one bull – and was weeping for the loss of the two other cows.
And the Soviet farmer was glad, as he had gotten what he had truly wanted with the third wish even as the memory of what he had had after the first two wishes was fading into the realm of unattainable fantasy – no longer even something to wish for, which it had been before he had found the Old Persian Oil Lamp.
And at that point I end the story. The point has been made.