I wish Hillary hadn’t said it. Calling a person “deplorable” doesn’t invite discussion. True, deplorable people exist, but that’s the point. They exist. The question is how to deal with them. Making them feel like pariahs exacerbates the problem because they feel like pariahs already. What’s more, as numbers of people have been left behind in a global world, they’ve formed tribes to reinforce their world view that the system is “rigged” and that includes Tea Party members, Occupy Wall Streeter folks and everyone in between.
Mostly, they are people attempting to apply old values to an environment that has radically altered. We’ve seen this fever break out before when Barry Goldwater, George Wallace and Ross Perot were populist champions for many. They are the outliers, right and left, from Appalachia to Silicon valley where home may be on the street. Some live in fear. Others take solace in anger
Oddly enough, though they hold in their midst the entire, divergent spectrum of political thought, what they share is a fierce hunger for justice and opportunity. What they share is a belief in their country, a belief in their family and a love of their flag. What they share is the view that their country has let them down. They have been betrayed by Wall Street, Main Street, educational institutions, health care systems and their elected leaders. In response, they riot, practice intolerance or descend into self destructive addictions like alcohol and drugs. (Blog 5/20/16)
If they have become deplorable, we have helped to make them so. Rather than acknowledge their economic needs, we think of them as trash and punch holes in the welfare system. Rather than hear their cries, we make cartoons of them, call them ignorant, backward, and deplorable. By making them seem less like one of us, we don’t have to care. True, they may rage against foreigners, minorities or women and it shouldn’t be tolerated, but it is understandable. Made to feel the lowest of the low, we have let them believe they are nothing. What a way to treat our fellow Americans, some of them veterans.
America needs leaders who can heal the divides in this country. But each citizen has a role to play. Let us begin with our own prejudices. Let us acknowledge there are no deplorables among us. Only the forgotten.