A recent article in The New York Times looked at an Ohio farmer with three opioid-addicted children, two of whom are dead.
The third is trying to straighten out his life in the hopes of working and inheriting the family farm. The father, understandably, isn’t sure this will work.
I’m not going to go into the drug aspect, which bores the hell out of me, or how or why these people became addicted. There but for the grace of God….
Rather I’d like to comment on these telling paragraphs toward the end of the story:
“He and his father talked about motorbikes, weather and politics. The elder Mr. Winemiller, who was among the 68 percent of voters in the county who supported Donald J. Trump for president, was rankled by scenes of political protest on the news. He saw only disorder and lawlessness.
“There are too many people who are too wrapped up in their lives. All they want to do is go out, bitch and complain,” he said. “My view on Donald Trump, he’s what this country needed years ago – someone that’s hard-core.”
“He likes the toughness. After his son and daughter died, he began meeting with sheriffs and politicians at forums dedicated to the opioid crisis, urging harsher penalties, such as manslaughter charges for people who sell fatal hits of opioids.”
Let’s leave aside that drugs are a three-way dance with the devil. No demand, no supply. No supply, no demand. And let’s not discuss how drug users contribute to disorder.
What I’m particularly rankled about is the portrayal of protesters and Trump opponents as selfish whiners. I’m sure some are. But many are not in Winemiller’s shoes. They are well-off and are grateful for it. Nonetheless, they are fighting for people like him and his son to have health care. They are fighting to prevent tariffs and the deportation of immigrants, which will hurt farmers and our economy. The are fighting for a more just, civil and honest society without such outrages as accusing the honorable former president of the United States of wiretapping and being a sick guy. They are fighting for an America that is the leader of and a beacon to the free world – still.
It seems to me the real selfish whiners are these “help me, help me” people who threw in their lot – and, by extension, ours – with Trump because they are still waiting for the 1950s, with its particular jobs and economy, to come back.
When they move into the 21st century – embrace education, retraining, technology, globalization and the reinvention of themselves – they can talk to me about whining.