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Sleeping With The Enemy

Thomas Frank (writing in the Wall Street Journal, of all places) has been paying attention to what's actually been happening in "small town America":

Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.

And eventually you will ask yourself, how did this happen? Did Hollywood do this? Was it those "reporters and commentators" with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, U.S.A.?

No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies.

It's so much like an abusive relationship, I could scream: You want to tell the spouse, the child, the significant other, America that this person is just gaslighting them, conning them -- that what we're looking at is a not a leader but a kapo, leading you to the slaughter. Worse, really, because she's bought into some kind the bizarre religion of Free-Marketism, which allows her to convince herself that she's actually doing something good for the heartland she's helping to systematically screw over.

After 2000 and 2004, I'm starting to think that if we as a nation insist on paying attention to images and conjured narratives and other bullshit instead of paying attention to what's actually been happening, then maybe the goons and con-artists are right -- maybe we do deserve to get taken.

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