Chris Arande: The Other America

I respect Chris Arande’s journalism:

“Anthony Rice’s house in Youngstown, Ohio is a mile away from a river valley once filled with factories offering jobs. Many of those left in the 1980s, and with them, many residents.

His home is one of the few occupied on the street. Empty lots or boarded-up homes make up most of the block. He points to those remaining, listing his neighbors and their age. They are all over 70. “This neighborhood is okie-dokie, although not much goes down here”, he says. “Stores used to be all around here, but they mostly gone. The people left are either too old to move or waiting for someone to buy them out.”

The road itself is a patchwork of potholes. “This street hasn’t been paved in like forever. They just don’t care about us. But we used to that.”

Youngstown is the largest city in Mahoning County, Ohio, where Donald Trump narrowly lost a county Barack Obama won twice easily. That was partly because turnout in Youngstown – which is lower income, younger, and close to half African American – dropped by roughly 15% …

A lot of the US is like that. I have seen it all over, when I put 100,000 miles on my car before the election. I have heard and seen the frustrations of countless people – of all races and faiths – in wildly different places, from Nebraska to Louisiana.

To get out beyond successful neighborhoods in DC, New York City and the elite college campuses – beyond where prevailing socio-political opinions are made – is to see another America. …”

Here in the Alabama Black Belt, which is one of the poorest places in the entire country, I live in the very epicenter of that America. This is the place I call home!

In a hundred mile radius of my front yard, I can see everything that has gone right and wrong in America. To the west, Selma which produced the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is now a blighted wasteland and powerhouse of civil rights tourism. To the southeast, Tuskegee which produced George Washington Carver and the Tuskegee Airmen, which is now also a blighted wasteland. To the east, Auburn which is a thriving little college town, and which unlike Tuskegee and Selma remains overwhelmingly White. To the north, we have Birmingham, which is a deindustrialized blighted wasteland, and which is surrounded by the prosperous Over the Mountain suburbs like Mountain Brook and Hoover.

The public school system is a joke. Integration was a failure. A half century has passed and racial gaps in test scores have yet to disappear. The black crime rate is significantly higher than the White crime. Every year it seems like Birmingham moves south and Montgomery moves north in order to avoid the clusterfuck in housing and education that was created as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. How much does it cost keep rebuilding entire cities in different counties?

We are living through a disaster on so many levels: among other things, the collapse of the family, the rise in drug abuse, the mechanization of agriculture and deindustrialization have combined to produce this blighted and demoralized landscape. If you drive through large swathes of the South, you will find people left behind in towns that have ceased to have any economic purpose.

Where I am from, we have inherited a population that was brought here as slaves to pick cotton on 19th century plantations. There are no more plantations though. No one picks cotton. Slavery has been dead for over 150 years now. There was some industry here, but now much of that has been shipped off overseas. We have your usual low-wage service jobs in the local Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.

What about all the progress we have made as a country? I think of the tattooed single White woman who dropped out of high school with three kids by three different daddies who is living in a trailer and is on meth or prescription drugs. She doesn’t have a husband. She doesn’t have a positive sense of ethnic or cultural identity. She is in poor health, mentally and physically. She is a burden to her family.

What does this hypothetical tattooed White woman living in a flyover country small town have? She has more freedom and equality than any of her predecessors. She has a smartphone. And yet, look at where that has gotten her. In many ways, she is worse off than her great-grandmother.

18 Comments

  1. I really liked Jim Traficant. He really cared about his constituents. He stood up to the Jews to the extent of going to Israel and proving they had the wrong guy when one of his voters was said to have been a death camp guard. It’s not entirely possible that he was killed just for standing up to the Jews. His death was highly suspicious. I mean who runs their tractor and then gets out in front of the tractor in between it and a building while the tractor is in gear and moving????? I have a tractor and it’s hard to get off the thing much less get in front of it while it’s moving.

  2. Dear Sam,
    Thank you for your reply. And how right you are : for not only has The South NOT been running this country for a very long time, it has not even been our country, for about that length of time, neither.

    We are vassals of The New England Government.

    As to the country being sunk, I agree with you : it is; and the sooner folks realize it, the sooner we can start again and make it right.

    The New England Government is way past reform. Reform is impossible, as Michael Tubbs of The Florida League of The South is fond to say.

    As to Southerners starving without Northerners, I think that’s not your best angle on that particular argument to make.

    Have a good evening!

  3. Yes, Mr. Kleinfeld, but, we have to repress it, as it is difficult to get by without two incomes, today.

    But, yes, in the heart, you are dead on.

    Be well!

  4. The hate us out west just as much if not a little more. Look how they adore an open border while staying as far away from it as possible…..

  5. It was a radio talk show in Texas. I don’t remember the channel, I was channel surfing and heard those remarks. I listened for about fifteen minutes getting more torqued by the minute and then I had to shut if off. Wouldn’t be too cool to blow my top and threaten to blow up the station.

    All I know is two smug know-it-all “libertarians” who have absolutely no common sense or empathy. Open borders because no one has a right to a job. The NFL should have a right to dictate to states to let men into the little girls room. Why can’t the states put principle over what’s in vogue and tell the NFL that they don’t have to come? If every state told the NFL to go pound sand, they’d quit that nonsense.

    I never heard before such sneering at nationalism. If these guys get arrested with some drugs in Cancun, do they really think they are going to get help from the Mexican consulate or are they going to call the American embassy. And they have the same mindless hostility to Russia that you’d expect from some one of low intellect. Keeping the jobs American is welfare that we can’t afford, but we can afford WWIII with Russia. Dumbasses.

  6. Did you see the news about the three officials wanting to remove the clause in the North Carolina state constitution that would at least allow you to talk about secession? Which I think is a marvelous thing. There is hope. Pray and act.

  7. Just as in personal culpability, national and regional culpability is a reality. If you say you have no sin then the sin remains in you. And you are no better off than an unregenerate Jew…or the state of Israel. Take your pick.

  8. Funny how they always advocate for this insanity….Until it effects them, right, then it has “gone too far”.

    They are sneering at something they do not understand nor value yet has given them the means for their existence. Those who remove a pillar in their culture/nation they soon understand why it existed to begin with.

    They are useless idiots, jews can not get over the Tsar had just cause for doing what he did as did Putin who kicked out the internationalists from Russia, they are never happy nor are the useful idiots who want us to go to war because “they are “mean to gays””.

  9. No, Father, I did not. Yet, if it’s any consolation to you, I regularly work for the secession of the state, not the least of which I talk about it with many of my fellow countrymen, in this part of the state.

    I’ll look for those 3 officials and see what support I can get them.

    Thank you!

  10. And, yes, I will pray, just as I have done for years – that my fellow Tarheels reach down and rediscover their balls.

    A man, to be a truly good man, must have The Holy Ghost in him, but, that said, he cannot be a man, lest he knows where to find his balls.

  11. ‘We don’t need every gadget and toy in the universe, if we lose our souls thereby.’

    Father, Satan moves more through technology than anything else, these days.

    People are so obssesst by distractionalism, that, maybe 15 years ago, I came to refer to the central goals and unwritten dogma of this time in history as ‘The Religion of Elsewhere’.

    We need to get back to the process orientation of honest labour and talking to each other – as this great Southern Comedian will tell you…

  12. Those American 4 cylinder cars were crap that broke after 5 years. The Japanese built cars for consumers in poor countries that expected to invest in something that would last for 20 years. Noticed a whole bunch of rust spots on one of those new Dodge Challengers the other day following it through the car wash, see a lot of other cars much older that don’t have this issue yet so still doesn’t look like the US makers have got their acts together. Had lots of little electrical issues with a 2004 Ford product, sold it and got an Ohio made Honda.

  13. That concept is basically what Michael Bunker, author of the excellent book “Surviving Off Off-Grid” advocates for. While he does not make a big deal of it, Bunker appears to be a mild Kinist.

Comments are closed.