While America’s military continues to march across the world, destroying nation after nation and the U.S. State Department funds color revolutions in others, the CIA also continues it’s own campaign of control and manipulation in virtually all the rest. But, moral questions aside, Americans back home aren’t even reaping the benefits of empire abroad. With an economy continuing to mire in depression, crumbling infrastructure, more difficult access to healthcare, tainted food supplies, and a police state that is deepening by the day, the American people are becoming accustomed to lower living standards and all the hurdles associated with it. Indeed, there are parts of the United States – Detroit, Flint, and much of the rural south, for instance, – that resemble a third world country more than anything one might expect to see in “the greatest country in the world.”
Nowhere are the crumbling standards of America more evident than in Appalachia, an area that is often forgotten whenever any political discussion is held. That is, until politicians breeze through the region and attempt to soak up some disgruntled white, formerly working class votes. After election time, however, the candidates put Appalachia and its residents out of their minds and continue business as usual. Economic depression, drug addiction, crime, poverty, and environmental degradation are all part of Appalachia now. They are not the only part, of course, but they have unfortunately become the main backdrop to a region that has suffered the setbacks of every bad decision coming out of Washington and its respective state governments.
Not having the benefit of being made up of mostly protected or chosen minorities, Appalachia is merely forgotten by most Americans or used as a backdrop of mockery and derision by Hollywood producers and academics. When it is remembered, the residents are painted as dirt poor rednecks, racist, misogynistic, dumb hillbillies. One need only listen to a recent broadcast on NPR where Appalachia was being discussed as if it were a foreign country to see how distant certain demographics are from other elements of society.
Indeed, those elements who identify as egalitarians and constantly harp about “equality” in “social justice” and economics can only discuss Appalachia with academics and “brave” writers who dared live amongst the savages of the region to bring back the stories of poverty, racism, and violence to the more civilized public radio audiences. Appalachia is not discussed with Appalachians, it is discussed with anthropologists masquerading as journalists and authors. Such stereotypes and insults are thrown around in the mics of NPR hosts and guests with the complete confidence that no one in Appalachia is intelligent enough to be listening and, if they are, they are the special people behind enemy lines, drinking from their NPR mugs in secret lest the barbarians beat down their door, stick a gun in their faces, and force them to claim the earth is 5,000 years old.
For instance, in an interview with Elizabeth Catte, a Virginia based historian who recently wrote a book entitled, “What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia,” a short response to J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis,” which tends to blame “hillbilly culture” for the poverty and “social rot” in Appalachia, the NPR host found herself asking about the most important issue facing NPR listeners today – Donald Trump.
During the course of the interview Catte stated,
There’s an idea that Appalachia is not fundamentally part of the United States, that it’s a place within a place, and it’s not a place but a problem. I would like people to understand that Appalachia is very much part of the wider United States. There’s no mysterious culture here that explains the – you know, the realities. And our stories – the story of Appalachia cannot be separated from the story of the United States and the historical forces that have shaped us.
But why would Catte have to say this? Who actually thinks Appalachia is separate from the rest of the United States, particularly rural America except for the white liberals listening to NPR or the thoroughly indoctrinated college class who have convinced themselves they are intellectuals? No one living in Appalachia thinks they are separate and no one in the rural south thinks Appalachia is separate either. For that matter, rural areas in the South, Midwest, West, and even Northern states do not view Appalachia as a problem instead of a place. Ask most residents in the aforementioned locations and they will find plenty of common ground with Appalachians. There is no question that Appalachia is not some “other America.” Only in the minds of academics, “intellectuals,” NPR types, and social manipulators is that the idea.
But back to Trump. NPR, like its audience, is literally obsessed with Trump and, when it comes to Appalachia, the question is not how to eliminate poverty, bring healthcare, jobs, or higher living standards to the region, it is “Why do these people support Donald Trump?”
In fact, the question in the NPR interview mentioned above, like most NPR interviews dealing with Appalachia, centered around “the forgotten white people who were left behind by a global economy and the rise of Donald Trump.”
Volumes could be written around that question alone. For instance, one could point out that Appalachia is not homogeneous and, simply because NPR types have a negative view of Appalachia and thus label it as white, doesn’t make it so. In fact, there are plenty of other races living in Appalachia and perhaps they are even more forgotten than whites in the area since NPR and other academics don’t seem to believe in them. After all, our “intellectual” class may find white Appalachians abhorrent but at least they exist. Still, it is important to point out that Appalachia is not only white, as anyone who ever been to the region can attest to; it is white, black, Hispanic, and other.
It is also important to point out that Appalachians were not “left behind by a global economy.” They were systematically robbed of their livelihoods and their living standards by a trade policy that shipped their jobs overseas for the benefit of international corporations. It wasn’t a failure to innovate and they weren’t “left behind,” they were robbed blind by their government, banks, corporations, media, and the “academics” who supported and promoted that very trade policy.