Pay Attention While It Still Matters

Today’s posting is somewhat unusual in that it is primarily an open letter to white, rural voters. Statistically you vote overwhelmingly Republican. You actually believe they are working for your interests. You are deceiving yourself!

Of late I’ve used the term “temporarily useful idiots” to describe many Republican voters. Let me dissect that a bit. The word “idiots” refers mainly to how the Republicans view much of their base. They actually think they are easily misled idiots who as long as they are kept from gaining critical thinking skills – hence the war on education, especially public education – and continue to be indoctrinated with right wing mythology, they will remain Republican voters. If I have to define “useful” then stop reading because you simply don’t belong in a place as sophisticated as here. I use the word “temporarily” because the MAGA Republicans’ long term goal is to make American elections a sham (as they are in Belarus, Hungary, Russia, etc.) at which point they no long will need your vote. This is all part of their war on democracy. Students of history will recognize this as part of the fascist playbook.

Recently much has been written (after too long of a delay in my opinion) about the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The thumbnail is that a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed and caused a problem. (I’m being mild in my choice of language because I have another point to make today.)
As we discover everything that contributed to the derailment which is endangering the lives and destroying the property value of the denizens of the area – Would you buy a house in East Palestine today? – we will find that there are several factors, such is generally the case with disasters. Which party has been the party of deregulation in America? Clearly it is the Republican party. Which party has been the advocate of letting business self-regulate? Again, clearly the Republican party. I could go on but you get the idea. The Republicans have done basically nothing to protect their voters and a lot to protect the profits of their financiers.

East Palestine, Ohio is basically a rural community with a population of 4,671 as of the 2010 census. It is in Columbiana County, Ohio whose population declined to 101,877 in that same census. Columbiana is over 95% white. It is a small white rural county. You would guess that it is Trump and Republican country and you would be correct. It went 71.5% for Trump in 2020 and 68.1% in 2016. It hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1996.

Last week a community meeting was held in a high school gym (typical small town) to address the legitimate fears of the residents. Norfolk Southern declined to attend. Their stated reason was out of fear for the safety of their people. The people of East Palestine had many things to say about safety fears.

President Biden long ago offered federal help but Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine waited days to ask for it going so far as to publicly say he didn’t think Ohio needed it. Late last week he finally faced reality and the federal government is rushing resources to the area.

This is far from comprehensive coverage of the derailment, the events that led up to it or the aftermath. It is merely a comment on the “return on investment” many Americans are getting on their votes. To the white, rural voters of America I say please start paying attention while you vote still matters!  Oh, and while you at at it turn off Fox News!

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