Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Martin Longman sees the same thing I do.
In truth, the Booman has been riding the same hobby horse for a while. He had an absolutely brill exegesis on the subject a few months ago, and I had every intention of posting it among us here, but did not.
Another thing I like to repeat is my notion that the collapse of the GOP is reflective of a wider and ongoing culture collapse, which is hard to see because it is happening everywhere. Not to be snide: but exactly how much of the avalanche does one notice when rolling around inside it?
Difficult to see until recently, however, when a large actuarial review found a climbing death rate among white Americans, one steep enough in the middle age cohort--the one where you will find me--driven by bumper issues of suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related pathologies.
There has been a lot of to-and-fro about the data and methodology of the initial finding (see also Kevin Drum's reply to Josh Marshall's recent attempt at wading into the electoral/cultural meaning of it all), but the numbers are pretty plain. White folks are offing themselves at pronounced rates for mainly existential causes.
Marshall makes some good points about healthcare access, poverty, and unemployment. He tends to soft sell the subject of anomie, which is where I'd like to plant my flag for a bit.
There are consequences to junk culture: bad food, violent and/or shallow entertainment, a blond and muscular Christianity, an under-education in history, science, the broader world of complex and subtle ideas; all of which contribute--or are maybe molded by--the politics of resentment and rage we are presented with daily on TV and the intertubes.
I'm not saying everyone has to be their own philosopher, only that attitudes of curiosity, compassion, and judgement are sorely missing from a lot of the content of our zesty media culture, mainly because such attitudes complicate the selling of stuff. This lack of nourishment on nearly every level has clearly taken its toll.
This is why gerrymandered districts (and I live in one of the nation's worst, the Illinois 4th, protectorate of Luis Gutierrez, D.IL), while disgraceful, do not bother me greatly. People move away. People die. And the people who matter the most to the imploding GOP are dying in remarkably big numbers.