Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”

This is one of the times I am grateful for a backlog of worthy Comments of the Day. I have several posts pending requiring a lot of thought, research and writing, and I’m exhausted as well as swamped. It’s nice to have some excellent ethics commentary from the regulars here to keep new content flowing. I am very grateful to all of the authors.

This time it’s Still Spartan, a mother, a lawyer, a self-described liberal (though on today’s spectrum I’d call her a left of center moderate) with an interesting back-story. In fairness, I should note that she protested later that if she knew this would be a COTD she would have been more circumspect regarding her choice of words. With the exception of “sucks,” which I believe now is an acceptable rhetorical device for emphasis (though my father would still object if I used it), I made some minor edits to address those concerns. I hope she approves.

As is often the case here, this Comment of the Day came out of a thread inspired by the post but pretty much irrelevant to it. Although the post concerned the gratuitous vulgarity of an anti-NRA House candidate, much of the discussion was about illegal immigration, or as it’s known around the Marshall house, The Amazing Controversy For Which  There Is No Logical Or Defensible Justification For The Pro- Position, But That Roils Politics Anyway (TACFWTINLODJFTPPBTRPA, for short). Another prolific commenter, Slickwilly, had written in part this response to a comment defending illegal immigrants and discarding claims that they are a burden on citizens,

I have been poor… I worked my way up just a bit, but still sit in the lower middle class, if not the upper poor….I STILL pay taxes, and the illegals suck that money down. While the legal poor may sometimes use those tactics, it is NOT the norm, as THEY HAVE ROOTS HERE. You know, like family, friends, jobs, or at a minimum welfare payments. All of those make it harder to just up and leave, especially in this day and age of computer tracking. Illegal Aliens have none of those ties. I have lived with them my entire life, and know more on a bad day than you ever will. Most are good people, if you ignore that they are criminals. They run up bills and change addresses, change names, change jobs, as a matter of course. They do not pay any type of insurance. They cause car wrecks and abandon the scene, running to Mexico until the heat is off. They clog emergency rooms with minor, minor ailments, BECAUSE IT IS FREE. They steal identities causing citizens hundreds of miles away tax problems, when they bother to pay taxes at all (and those that hire them should be in jail).

Here is Still Spartan’s response to that comment, and her Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”:

Actually, I think Slick’s comment is indicative of many people’s thinking right now (and I am not writing this with any snark at all). We have a large population of white, rural, poor people in this country. And it sucks. I was one of those people. Good jobs have become scarce, especially with blue collar jobs virtually disappearing overseas. And the jobs that are left don’t pay the bills. These people also don’t have the money to move elsewhere — or tend to not have the education needed to get a good paying job in the information age anyway.

Now, we have poor black populations and poor Latino populations as well of course, but what makes the white rural poor unique is that they tend to be isolated in the country and do not have the freedom of movement that predominantly urban poor have. The white rural poor do still have some advantages: 1) they are white (so they don’t face discrimination); 2) food scarcity isn’t as big of a problem. Many supplement with gardens, hunting, and even farms if they have the space; 3) because people are spread out, crime isn’t as big of a problem. But these people still want jobs. And they see, for the most part, that they are struggling even more than their parents did. It is scary. Liberals are not doing enough to appeal to them.

Now, I personally do think that liberal policies protect the poor more than Republican ones do, but we do a terrible job of communicating it. And, while I do believe in the liberal message when it comes to rights for minorities, women, better health coverage for all, etc., this is not what the poor want to talk about — or at least they are ranked lower on their priority list. They want jobs. Trump — even though he is a ethics-free con man — made that his message. Why are the jobs gone? Why can’t they send their kids to college? Why are their communities being destroyed by the opioid epidemic? (By the way, this is no different than the crack epidemic that hit the black poor, but this is the first time that it has hit white communities hard.) And then for some, he also played into the fear that they are paying more because of illegals. Of course, we as a society are paying  (although not as much as Republicans claim) for illegals, but the truth is that it isn’t the rural poor who are shouldering this burden, because their taxes overall are pretty low. It is the upper middle class and the wealthy who are paying more because of them. (Although proportionately it hits the upper middle class the hardest.) But this message resonates with the rural poor the most, because they live in predominately white communities and they are suffering economically.

I did not have a lot of options when I graduated high school. My family had no money and I had to work. Luckily I was smart, white (and arguably pretty), so I was able to elevate myself with the benefit of a ton of school loans. Now, I can completely pass as a member of the upper middle class, and few of my friends know that I used to raise pigs and was a livestock judging champion in my state. Ninety percent of the kids from my hometown were not as lucky, and now that the blue collar jobs are gone, they are scraping by to pay their bills. Liberals need to do a better job reaching out to them. First, it is the right thing to do. Second, on a more practical level, they vote. Unless we scrap the electoral college (and I don’t see that happening), every national election is going to be a nail-biter.

20 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Finance, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace

20 responses to “Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: New Mexico Congressional Candidate Pat Davis (Guess What Party!)”

  1. Chris

    Fantastic comment.

  2. Other Bill

    Thanks Sparty. There’s is NOTHING more essential to personal and familial well-being than a decent job. Nothing.

    • Other Bill

      By the way, all my cousins who grew up on a farm were in 4-H. Is it really something to be ashamed of? A lawyer buddy grew up on a pig farm in Iowa. If that isn’t good motivation for getting a decent education and a good job, I don’t know what is. And sure as heck is something to be proud of. And besides, pork cutlets don’t show up in grocery stores or restaurants from Silicon Valley or Manhattan or Georgetown.

      • Still Spartan

        I’m not ashamed of having been in 4-H at all, but I suspect most people in my social and professional circles would assume that I grew up in the burbs and had gone to fancy schools unless I had told them my backstory. My father (deceased) was referred to recently as a “dirt farmer” by a Michigan family acquaintenance. I think that’s harsh and inaccurate, but it is that person’s perception. Even by rural standards, we were considered poor. But, we had a nice (albeit small) house that my dad built himself, a pretty piece of land, and we certainly ate better than I do now that I have to buy my meat from a grocery store.

        • Other Bill

          My paternal grandfather was a dirt farmer and also a school teacher. As you know, it’s hard to farm without dirt. Just because people don’t know what 4-H is isn’t your problem, it’s theirs.

          And don’t forget, you also won the genetic brain power lottery. My lefty cousin and I were talking about how many in our family had done pretty darned well. He said, “Well, we also got brains from our parents.” I said, “You’re darn right we did. And what government program is going to replicate that?”

          Query: Why don’t more of your contemporaries from home “drive truck?” It has some downsides (but so does practicing law) but it can be pretty well paid, certainly when you’re young.

          • Both my grandfathers were dirt farmers, during the depression and thereafter.

            Both were ‘sharecroppers’ or land renters who could not make the farm work during the drastic draught of the 1950s. One became a factory worker, the other used the GI Bill to become educated as a surveyor. He worked for the Texas DOT, and surveyed for the Interstate Highways in North Texas when they were being created.

            Their houses in town (which they stayed in for 30 plus years after the farms failed) were very small (like less than 1000 square feet, much of it kitchen) and had a single bathroom, like many such houses at that time. They grew gardens, foraged (Mustang Grape jelly! Wild persimmons! Bradford Pear preserves!), and preserved food (canned) as a routine, for when times got hard.

            My mom and dad lived a block away from each other, and were high school sweethearts. 4-H and FFA were integral parts of my youth, with fond (and not so fond) memories.

            Saying so in an urban environment can get you ‘looked down upon’ even in Texas. I suspect this is many times worse on the coasts, which explains Spartan’s (assumed) reluctance to let it be known.

          • Still Spartan

            I think that’s very important. I did win the genetic lottery and, quite frankly, it annoys me when people brag about how smart their kids are. I’m proud that my kids work hard, not that they were born smart. Similarly, it annoys me when people assume that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I have known plenty of people who work harder than me but just could not cut it at school or in their employment. Unless you are born with family wealth, you need both brains and drive if you really want to elevate yourself out of your current socio-economic class. And, although people aren’t talking about it here, race matters too.

            • “I have known plenty of people who work harder than me but just could not cut it … in their employment.”

              This creature does not exist. They may not get employment that will put them in a 3000 SF house with a pool and a country club membership, but being a truly hard worker beats out probably 75% of the rest of the population, and THAT will gain job security in a job that will allow anyone to live comfortably enough.

              I would concede that if your friend’s standard of living prices him or her out of the employment they can’t cut it in, they may need to reevaluate their outlook on life and what being content actually means.

              • Still Spartan

                Of course they exist. Hard working and smart do not always come as a package bundle. There are many people who work 2-3 jobs who can’t escape poverty.

        • Laura Ingalls Wilder! It’s you, isn’t it???

        • ”I’m not ashamed of having been in 4-H at all”

          How’d you have liked to judge this fine young America’s Dairyland gal?

          https://www.circa.com/story/2018/02/24/whoa/wisconsin-is-home-to-award-winning-perfect-cow

          “Perfection is not a human attribute” still holds.

          • I learned such in my youth. The model of ‘perfection’ is constantly changing, and this cow would NOT have been perfect 30 years ago.

            For instance, 80 years ago pigs were judged for their fat content, with more being better. Society changed, lard became somewhat obsolete in the average American home (with demand dropping) and leaner pigs began to win the prizes.

          • Still Spartan

            I actually don’t know much about dairy. I did well at meats judging (cattle, sheep, and swine) both on and off the hoof.

  3. Well done, can’t wait to watch the side bar discussions.

  4. mrsmilleratl

    An interesting read on the subject below.  Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis  | | | | | |

    |

    | | | | Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF “6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP’S WIN” AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD “You will not read a more important book about America this year.”—The Economist “A rivet | |

    |

    |

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    • Aleksei

      Great book! Although, he wasn’t quite a farmer, but a hillbilly transplant from the Kentuckian Appalachia growing up in rust belt Ohio among other transplants similar to him. But it was interesting to see how some people really have it hard.

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