No, “Lonely in West Virginia” is not my Tinder profile name. Rather, that’s how I feel about being a minority here — not in language, culture or skin color, but by my political label.
I’m admittedly a Blue citizen in a Red state, county and country. Republicans have near-total control of the three branches of the federal government, plus most of the states. But from the tone of the editorial pages, political cartoons, the comments and the online comments to the comments, they sound like sore losers.
Why so cranky? They won this fight. This is a time when they should be celebrating their momentum, not complaining that there are still people in this country who disagree with them. When is total control sufficiently total to make them satisfied? Is it when there is no dissent, no opposition party, no commentary, no investigations and no news sources other than Fox?
Here in West Virginia, there are no inner-city ghettos to “slum-shame,” no immigrant communities to repel, no Muslim cells to fear. It’s the world some say could prove the superiority of a native-born Christian, Caucasian population. But rather than being surrounded by their joy, I only see their daily ribald ridicule of “leftist socialist” politicians, writers, speakers, policymakers and academics who care about the environment, health care, national security, the inequality of income and the challenge of educating children.
And when a fault or a failure is highlighted in places like Baltimore, Chicago or the entire state of California, it seems a joyous holiday for Republicans. Perhaps, given the high rates of divorce, drug abuse and unemployment in West Virginia, it’s nice to have someone else to “kick around,” as Richard Nixon would say.
And “socialism” seems to be the new buzzword for “enemy of the state.” But which state?
A lot has been written about the anger, resentment and sense of abandonment of the “flyover” country; rural areas outside the big cities where the “elites” rule, purloining the taxes of the working poor, siphoning money off to their public transit systems and their exclusive institutions. But it is just the opposite that is true: The taxes from the wealthier big-city blue states contribute to the welfare of West Virginia, literally. That’s the definition of a socialistic policy.
Rather than see socialism as a generic word that represents the sharing of resources to solve shared problems, Republicans are misdirecting their scorn. Surely they meant instead to malign the “socialists” of the National Socialist Movement, named in solidarity with the bygone 19th Century National Socialist German Workers Party. The American version is the largest of nearly 30 neo-Nazi organizations in the United States, an Aryan Brotherhood that represents the sharing of hate — something that unfortunately is also a shared problem.
Instead of a caricature of a loopy adolescent activist being force-fed socialism through a funnel to her head with ideas that, to many, represent life-saving actions, a more apt image would be of a gun-toting Brownshirted white-supremacist being brainwashed through a funnel to his head by “national socialist” ideas that, to most, represent life-ending actions.
Surely, the latter is the socialism that is the enemy of any state — not the socialism of Bernie Sanders or progressive Democrats. But I can understand how easy it is to get the two mixed up: American socialists are consistently condemned by the Republican Party, but the “National Socialists Movement” includes some “very fine people.”
The Republican Party, now known as Trump’s Base, has won this country, and that’s not going to change, no matter who is in power. It’s a lot harder to be in charge, especially if that means being less resentful and less angry than they were before 2016. In the meantime, I’d love to see a logical, respectful rebuttal to the proposals being ridiculed as “insane.” I’m thankful some of those ideas proposed by several of the Democratic candidates are unlikely to become law. But then, no one here has ever asked me about that. They just assume that I’m a liberal, whatever that is.
It’s a desolate place being adrift on the “left” side of the paper, as some have reported my whereabouts to be. I’d pick up and go somewhere else, but, so far, no one else will have me. Even with our differences, I’d hoped we were all in this together, but, as it turns out, I’m just lonely in West Virginia.
So, log in, and let the mocking begin.