Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Red White and Purple

As the 4th of July approaches we are to celebrate all things America.  I am going to an infrared sauna treatment and a movie as it is the best I will do to care about this day when we gather to honor the day independence was declared.

I want to point out that again I live in Nashville where Forrest Gump would be the Valedictorian of the local high school and here stupid is as stupid does and there is a lot of stupid here.   I doubt they even know the significance of the date.

Instead like the thermometer here, crime is escalating, largely by teenagers who are stealing cars, shooting at people and Cops (this has to be the first time in reverse here but unlike Cops the kid missed but did escape)  and basically doing what they do the other 364 days of the year here.  Every day the news is just that some racist dog whistle that enables everyone to live in fear.  I am afraid and exhausted dealing with it, hence the sauna.

The lack of community engagement is largely due to education or lack thereof.  The manta here is suspect everyone and everyone is suspect, for what? Irrelevant.  Just know that everyone is a crook, a thief or a heathen.  I often start conversations with: "Let's get this out of the way to eliminate the trash talking part when I walk away or in mid convo, yes I am a bitch, a heathen, a carpetbagger or whatever moniker you use to describe those who are others."  The look of incredulous shock is hilarious, when you can't laugh with them, laugh at them.

I tried to explain that to a young Barista who is clearly struggling with sexual identity and the confusion that religion adds to that confusion and I feel for him. His colleagues laughed when I suggested that he was having a hard time as I suspect he may be Gay and that to be kind to someone.  They laughed, so that will give you the idea of their beliefs and they are self described "Christians." And later when discussing the endless petty theft of my front porch, this weekend it was a large Chinese Ceramic pot with an Evergreen I had planted as a sort of inside joke that this girl from the land of the Evergreens would transplant herself to the land of Oaks and it was a symbol that if it lived I would stay, die and it was time to go.   I guess this again is a sign that I am not dead yet but I need to go - 18 months and counting.   But when I was talking about this, two men responded:  "Well maybe they needed it."  And mine: "Yes I need a car as I don't own one, where is yours parked?" They were of course speechless.   As have I been these last two years finding endless theft of plants, small yard art and plants on my porch throughout my residency here.   This is the only place I have ever heard excuse making, justification or explanation for what ostensibly is theft.  Compassion is a dish served with sweet tea and biscuits here.  Again these are church born and raised. 

Religion in the South is complex and again by affiliation and in turn the actual denomination and church in which you belong. Only race is that divided and in turn complex as that is why few truly understand the South.

This editorial was in The New York Times describing what defines religion and the role it plays in family dynamics.  I cannot stress that enough that money rules, faith dominates and gender rules the home while race and education fall way below the must list of Southern characteristics.  Irony that is why children often fall between the two as many families rely on the kindness of the church and its offshoots for childcare and education as they have few other outlets in which to provide and God always provides is the motto here.

I think this explains much of the philosophy and belief system that enables Trump to take advantage of those who cannot find advantages in the larger community in which they live.  

Trump’s ‘Purple’ Family Values

By Matthew Schmitz
        Mr. Schmitz is a senior editor at First Things.
The New York Times| Opinion
July 1, 2018

In the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election, I noticed a divide in how my acquaintances spoke about his family values — or lack thereof.

People I knew from college or had met in New York expressed distaste for Mr. Trump’s behavior. If they were religiously conservative, they stressed his infidelity while also objecting to his insults of women. If they were liberal, they objected to his treatment of women and viewed his infidelity as a sign that his religious supporters were hypocrites. Not a single peer of mine in New York — no matter how conservative or religious — publicly supported Mr. Trump.

In contrast, almost all of the people I know in my hometown in Nebraska proudly supported him. They glossed over his infidelities and stressed that he seemed to be a good father. They were impressed by his “respectful” sons and admired the success of his daughters.

The people I know in Nebraska have the same moral views as my religious acquaintances in New York, yet they had a totally different view of Mr. Trump as a standard-bearer for family values. What made the difference? In a word, class.

In their book “Red Families v. Blue Families,” Naomi Cahn and June Carbone popularized the idea of “blue” and “red” family models. Blue families prize equality and companionship between spouses while putting a low value on childbearing. Red families tend to be inegalitarian or complementarian, viewing the man as the primary breadwinner and the mother as the primary caregiver. Early marriage and multiple children are typical.

Red families tend toward conservatism, and blue tend toward progressivism, but the models share an upper-class stress on respectability and a strong taboo against out-of-wedlock birth.

A third model can be found among working-class whites, blacks and Hispanics — let’s call it purple. In these families, bonds between mothers and children are prized above those between couples. Unstable relationships are the norm, and fathers quickly end up out of the picture.

The difference among these three family models explains three different reactions to Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Liberal professionals decried his sexism, which violated the prime value of the blue family model: equality. Elite evangelicals decried his infidelity, which ran counter to the red family model’s stress on fidelity.

Pentecostal and prosperity gospel preachers, whose denominations have the lowest average income and educational attainment in the country, were more likely to support Mr. Trump. Just as a Catholic priest at a wealthy parish would be accustomed to overlooking his parishioners’ discreet reliance on contraception (a respectable practice his Church condemns as immoral), these religious leaders were used to saying that people with messy lives now could make good.

Compare members of Mr. Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board to attendees at a recent conference of Trump skeptics at Wheaton College, the elite Evangelical institution. Mr. Trump’s board is overwhelmingly drawn from the Southern Baptist Convention and various Pentecostal and prosperity gospel churches. Figures at the Wheaton conference were more likely to be from Presbyterian churches, or conservative offshoots of the Episcopal Church.

These denominational differences reflect a class divide. About 35 percent of Episcopalians and 25 percent of Presbyterians have a family income above $100,000. Only 16 percent of Southern Baptists and 10 percent of the pentecostal Assemblies of God can say the same. An Episcopalian is more likely to have an advanced degree than a Southern Baptist is to have a college diploma.

Baffling as it may be to elites, Mr. Trump embodies a real if imperfect model of family values. People familiar with the purple family model tend to view his alienation from his children’s mother as normal and his closeness to his children as exceptional and admirable. I saw this among my acquaintances in Nebraska. Even those from red families were more likely than my acquaintances in New York to know someone who has had a child out of wedlock or is subject to a restraining order.

Mr. Trump’s purple family values may even explain some of his populist appeal. Global leaders like Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker appear to have stable and loving marriages. But their childlessness makes them worse exemplars of family values in the eyes of some non-elites than divorcees who have multiple children — a category that includes Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, and Marine Le Pen, of France’s National Rally party, as well as Donald Trump. Contempt for elite respectability is reflected not only in the respective party platforms, but in the personal lives of these populist leaders.

In her speech to the 1992 Republican Convention, Barbara Bush said, “However you define family, that’s what we mean by family values.” Debates over Mr. Trump show that different ideas of family are not so easily reconciled.

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