In great crime movies, we get to watch the hero catch the crook by “following the money.” I think that, today, we can all be heroes by doing the same thing. For instance, historians have been showing us lately that the reason poor white people hate black people is because of a campaign of “propaganda” by the small landed elite who didn’t want poor whites and slaves rising up together and breaking their economic superiority… hundreds of years ago. They controlled the white people by convincing them to hate the black people. They have been “capitalizing” on that belief system ever since. Just barely over 1% of southerners were ever slave holders. Think about slavery and what that did for jobs for white people like you and me in the deep south? Who would hire a poor white guy for a job when they can get the same thing done (almost) free by a slave? No one. Right?
Follow the money.
What we should think about now is: who has been convincing us to hate liberals? After all, liberals are basically nice people. There are a handful of them living quietly here in Salmon. Some of them are quite whacky, but many liberals have gone to college and are educated in things like history, economics, and social science. Educated means that they are actually smart and understand stuff. So why hate them?
Who has been convincing us that climate change is not real? Who benefits from us not creating clean technology? Who benefits the most from privatizing public lands? These lands belong to us, the regular people. How have they convinced us that the rich people should own them? Who benefits from all us poor people going broke over medical bills when a loved one gets sick? Who gets the best deal when we remove protections for clean air and water? Who benefits the most from institutions that keep good Americans uneducated?
It’s a good thing to answer those important questions as we formulate our morals and beliefs. I remember a book that taught me to always care for poor people; to care for myself by working hard, by being educated and informed; to not blame others for my own failings; to examine my personal prejudices with the suspicion that they may be the voice of the dark side speaking to me over my shoulder.
I remember when being a good American meant feeling love and appreciation for the institutions of checks and balances which make up our federal system. I remember when we believed that our federal government was something that protected us and kept us safe and prosperous. I remember when our leaders spoke eloquently for unity. I remember a time when I believed that my fellow Americans were allies in creating a safe and prosperous future.