America This is Quite Serious: The American Conservative on Hillbilly Elegy

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That’s right. The American Conservative. And not because I think liberals (like me) benefit from well-reasoned counter arguments in this algorithm filtered, echo-chamber, partisan media world — though I do think that. It’s because we need to see each other. And this article — “Trump: Tribune Of Poor White People” — is far less of a political counterpoint than it is an appeal to see real people.

The Trump headline is mostly there to get the attention of the internet. The piece is a wide-ranging interview with J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis, a book that the interviewer claims “does for poor white people what Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book did for poor black people: give them voice and presence in the public square.” (You should also read Coates.)

Bottom line: It’s not about why Trump matters; it’s about why the people who feel inclined to vote for him matter. There is plenty to agree with and disagree with here. But that’s what we should be hearing when we’re talking about the future of a big and diverse nation.

America this is quite serious, and “Trump: Tribune of Poor White People” is really something you should read. (Be sure to read to the end to find out what’s going on with that picture of the lady in Trump hat.)

You should also read more good stuff from J.D. Vance.

And of course, check out the other pieces in our election year series “America This is Quite Serious.”

One comment

  1. On the subject of understanding Trump’s appeal, I found this article on Jean-Jacques Rousseau to be… wait for it… enlightening.

    “In Rousseau’s view, the newly emergent intellectual and technocratic class did little more than provide literary and moral cover for the powerful and the unjust.”

    “Rousseau seems to have grasped, and embodied, better than anyone the incendiary appeal of victimhood in societies built around the pursuit of wealth and power.”

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