Behold, a Tip Jar!
The fundraiser continues...
As you all know, these days I spend part of every morning sitting on my porch in my Toby Keith t-shirt, whittling, sipping corn liquor and trying my damnedest to look like a Rust Belt Working Class American Male, waiting for the New York Times Zeitgeist Action News Van to pull up and ask me my opinions about stuff.
Well last week, I thought my patience had finally paid off when I spied with my little eye -- off in the distance, barreling down the road in my direction -- both the full New York Times entourage and the Washington Post Cultural Milieu Caravan.
Well, I won't lie. My heart leaped. My sniff hound woke up and began baying wildly. I put down the whittling and the corn liquor and switched to the good peach schnapps we break out for such occasions. I called Marge at the switchboard (which is how we all communicate with each other here in the middle of Middle America) to get the word out to the whole town.
Schools were closed. The brass plate at the Lincoln Tomb was quickly melted down so that a properly august key to the city might be struck. Local theater groups spontaneously organized an All!Singing!All!Dancing! welcoming committee.
We turned out in force, filling both sides of the unpaved goat trail that bisects our town...
...only to watch the entire Big City Op-Ed cavalacade thunder past, on its way to who knows where.
We dispersed slowly, somewhat dispirited but consoled by the belief that, wherever the NYT and the WaPo were headed in such an all-fired hurry, there obviously must be one helluva world-breaking story to be reported there.
Yeah, turns out, not so much.
Turns out the Times and the Post (whose global headquarters are about 200 miles down the Acela Corridor from each other) both decamped from their Elite Media Bubble to set up temporary field reporting operations about 200 miles from each other in Oklahoma to report on exactly the same "story": the 1000th column (by my count) devoted to the invincible ignorance of the Republican base voter.
From The New York Times:
In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts, but Still LoyaltyTULSA, Okla. -- Rhonda McCracken is a kindergarten teacher and a Republican who voted for President Trump. Now she’s wrestling with the consequences.McCracken’s deep-rooted conservatism is matched by a passion to support Tulsa Domestic Violence Intervention Services, a nonprofit that helped her flee an ex- who she says beat and choked her, once until unconsciousness. She became teary as she described how staff members at the organization helped her and her son escape that relationship.“They saved my life, and my son’s,” she said, her eyes liquid.So she is aghast that one of Trump’s first proposals is to cut federal funds that sustain the organization. “My prayer is that Congress will step in” to protect domestic violence programs, she said.Here in Oklahoma, I’ve been interviewing many people like McCracken — fervent Trump supporters who now find that the White House is trying to ax programs they have depended on, to pay for Trump’s border wall and for increases in military spending. And they’re upset...
And from The Washington Post, reporting from 200 miles away in Durant, Oklahoma...
Trump’s budget would hit rural towns especially hard — but they’re willing to trust himDURANT, Okla. -- At the Boys and Girls Club in this rural city in southern Oklahoma, the director is unsure how he will stay open if President Trump’s proposed budget goes through, eliminating money for several staff positions.Similar conversations are happening at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival’s after-school arts program, which relies on National Endowment for the Arts grants that Trump wants to eliminate. And at the county senior center, which already lost its state funding and could lose all or most of its federal funding, too. And at the Farm Service Center, which supports 1,200 local producers and is staffed with employees whose positions were targeted in the budget.In this town of 16,000 — located near the Texas border in Oklahoma’s Bryan County, where Trump won 76 percent of the vote — excitement about Trump’s presidency has been dulled by confusion over an agenda that seems aimed at hurting their community more than helping it.The president’s proposed budget would disproportionately harm the rural areas and small towns that were key to his unexpected win. Many red states like Oklahoma — where every single county went for Trump — are more reliant on the federal funds that Trump wants to cut than states that voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.Durant has already undergone years of state budget cuts, as Oklahoma has been unable to balance its increasing costs with declines in the oil industry, tax cuts and generous corporate tax credits. That has made federal funds even more vital to the city, especially for programs that serve the poor and working class.“It’s very easy to look at a laundry list of things that exist and say, ‘Cut, cut, cut, cut,’ and say, ‘Well, this is wasteful spending’ without really understanding the true impact,” said Durant City Manager Tim Rundel, who grew up in poverty in northwest Arkansas. “The bottom line is a lot of our citizens depend on those programs.”...
So back to the porch I go, I go.
Back to the porch I go.