An Angry Nation

An Angry Nation, by R.R. Reno.

My object was to visit some friends and linger for a few days in the Midwestern states that tipped the outcome of the 2016 election. What’s the mood, I wondered?

After a few stops and conversations, the answer became clear. Nearly everyone I spoke with expressed frustration, anxiety, disquiet, despair. And anger, especially anger.

People are angry about the lockdowns. Religious folks are angry about the church closures. Some are angry about Black Lives Matter protests and toppled monuments. Still others are angry about the conservative movement, which they see as increasingly ineffective. Everybody is angry at the mainstream media, which they consider hopelessly biased. …

When I asked about the election mood in their communities, they reported that political realities are increasingly hidden from view. One said, “Right now journalists seem ignorant of what most people are thinking, perhaps willfully so.” When I pressed him about why that’s the case, he replied, “In all fairness, most people won’t say what they’re thinking. It’s too dangerous.

A few told stories that suggest the Obama-to-Trump voters in Ohio and other Midwestern states are more supportive of the president, not less so. One spoke of a working-class neighbor with tattoo sleeves and four kids who struggles to stay ahead of his bills. He voted for Obama two times, but switched to Trump in 2016. His vote was reluctant. He regarded Trump as a mean-spirited man, which he does not like. But BLM has enraged him. He interprets the rhetoric of the past two months as accusing him of being a racist. My friend reports that this neighbor is now an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

I don’t believe anecdotes predict elections. In any event, an election forecast was not the object of my travels. I wanted to get a sense of our national mood. I anticipated encountering heightened emotions. Most commentators have observed that our country is increasingly polarized. But I was taken aback by the intensity.

My sample of opinion was from the right side of the spectrum of American politics and culture. But people on the left side are clearly angry as well.

Obama’s fundamental transformation, that really started in 1965 with much enlarged third word immigration, is reaching a critical mass.

The coming presidential election is shaping up as more important than most, because the losers will be fundamentally unhappy. When society goes tribal, the winner takes all and the losers are shut out, perhaps forever.

hat-tip Stephen Neil