imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

America's Bar-B-Que Vote

by Becky Tinsley Friday, May. 07, 2004 at 11:03 AM

While the angry white man (AWM) understands that John Kerry is a decorated Vietnan Vet who enjoys extreme sports, the AWM is ultimately dissatisfied because Kerry isn't the kind of guy he can talk to around the barbecue.

The New Statesman (Australia)

May 2004

They work longer hours than Dad did, regret not having wives who stay at home, and hate seeing those minorities getting uppity. Meet the angry white men Bush can rely on. By Becky Tinsley

By any rational measure the average white American male enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. The United States is consistently near the top of the UN's Human Development Index measuring quality of life in 175 countries. Yet white men across America are mad as hell, and George W Bush's campaign strategists are counting on their anger to keep their candidate in the White House in November.

In 2000, the Democrats attracted the support of the majority (54 per cent) of women, while only 42 per cent of men voted for Al Gore. At its most extreme, in the race in Delaware, there was a 20 per cent gap between the sexes, with 64 per cent of women voting Democrat compared with 44 per cent of men. Just as Gore failed to carry the majority of white American males who bothered to vote at the last election, so John Kerry is unlikely to get their support this year.


Why are they so angry? They don't live in a war zone, or face the mass unemployment and hunger of the Depression. Their homes keep appreciating in value. Most of them were too young to be drafted to Vietnam. But white men feel angry and cheated because this isn't what they were expecting when they were growing up in Eisenhower's America. "Only my dad needed to go out to work," is the common refrain. It isn't simply that it now takes two incomes rather than one to keep the average American household afloat. The working hours and security are different, too. "My dad didn't work half as hard as I do and he was always back by six o'clock," says Terry, 49, an estate agent from New Jersey. "He spent his evenings watching TV or bowling with his pals. His job was to cut the lawn on the weekends, but otherwise he was the king of his castle. My parents did fine on one income, and my dad was secure in the knowledge he had his job for life."

Dave, 54, an architect from San Bernardino, California, is so angry, he has already had a stress-related heart attack. "I work long hours. The house is a mess when I get home because my wife goes out to work, too. I can't sit in front of the TV all evening, like my dad did, because I'm back at my computer screen after supper. My dad never brought work home."

What's more, Dave is from the "honey, I'm home" generation: "I want my wife to be there already when I get in from work, but the house is empty," he complains.

Even on two incomes, the middle-class American experience is no longer that holy suburban trinity of barbecues, baseball and Tupperware parties. In its place is career angst, not enough money for the goods they believe are essential, and scarce leisure time. In Kevin Phillips's recent study of George Bush's America, he notes that at no time since the Wall Street Crash has income distribution been so polarized. During the past two decades the richest 1 per cent has become astonishingly rich, owning 38 per cent of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 60 per cent have only 5 per cent. The angry white man (AWM) has been squeezed.


Given the sense of rage and betrayal among AWMs it is not surprising that advertisers reach out to them with expressions such as "comfort", "safety" and "making sense of your world". In a country where people learn their history from the movies, the Fifties and early Sixties have attained mythical status. Several successful cable channels are devoted to 24/7 retro reruns of Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy, all perpetuating positive, decent and innocent images of times gone by. Equally, comfort food is enjoying a huge comeback (with predictable results). And 46 per cent of Americans are taking some form of prescription drug at any given time: "just taking the edge off the 21st century", as they say.

The Eisenhower generation emerged from the New Frontier with high expectations. In the golden age of Chryslers as big as whales, Betty Crocker cake mix and Perry Como, you knew tap water was safe to drink, your station wagon was made in America, the ethnic minorities were out of sight and in their place, and your wife talked about your needs, not hers. These days Tabasco outsells ketchup: that tells you everything you need to know about the chaos out there.

Ask a newcomer, such as a Mexican, and she will likely claim one reason the Americans are angry is that "they don't know how lucky they are". "They're lazy," adds Marie Rodriguez, 25, currently working four cleaning jobs a day in southern California: "They're so pampered with their drive-up postboxes and Lazy Boy recliners. Go to the mall and you see kids waiting five minutes to take the elevator down one floor."

The AWMs' abiding self-image, fostered by sentimental movies and TV shows, is of genuine stand-up guys, worthy inheritors of the rugged pioneer spirit of their ancestors. Despite this, they soften life with euphemisms: you don't dial, punch or push a button - you touch it. And they aspire to live in gated communities, they drive sports utility vehicles with the doors always locked, feel threatened by unseen enemies, and are ready to wallop you with a lawsuit.

A recent National Science Foundation/National Institutes of Health study found that conservatism in America can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity". The AWMs want a "return to an idealized past", they "condone inequality", and cling to "premature conclusions", "simplistic clichés and stereotypes".


At heart AWMs are convinced their adult life sucks, and they seem unaware that people in Africa or Asia face greater difficulties. Most Americans get their news from television, and the majority tune in to local channels or cable, rather than ABC, NBC or CBS. Local TV news barely touches foreign stories unless there are sensational images or quirky aspects ("my, aren't those Finns weird?"). Americans have a galaxy of information at their fingertips thanks to the internet, but that does not make them more worldly than their fathers.

Paradoxically, because they no longer get their news from Walter Cronkite or his modern network equivalents, many live in a bubble in which they hear and read only the narrow views of the prophets of doom with whom they already agree. Their bewilderment and disconnection from the gritty reality of elsewhere has only been increased by 9/11.

However, this only goes some way to explaining why AWMs will be willingly herded into the George W Bush camp come election time. If they believe they are much less well-off than their fathers, then logically they should vote for the party that best represents their economic interest against the ruthless, downsizing corporations and the greedy medical insurance companies screwing them out of healthcare.

But, defying all Marxist analysis, AWMs are crazy about the sedated frat-boy from New Haven, Connecticut; the under-achieving, privileged scion of those Washington insiders, the Bush dynasty. The AWMs obligingly rally behind this petulant former drink-driver who describes individuals in his cabinet as "fabulous" - not a word an AWM would ever use.

Karl Rove, the brain behind the Dobby brand, perfectly understands the anxieties of the AWMs. He knows they feel patronized by the bicoastal metrosexuals who describe Middle Americans as "the people we fly over". He also knows they want their president to be "the kind of guy you can talk to while you're standing around the barbecue", as Dave, the furious architect, puts it. They don't want to feel threatened by some sophisticated, egghead, liberal "jerk" from Georgetown, Boston or San Francisco.


For AWMs inarticulate equals sincere, and AWMs feel "comfortable" with the tongue-tied Bush and his black-and-white world-view. During the Iowa caucuses a conservative group, the Club for Growth, spent 0,000 on an ad campaign that perfectly captured the essence of the America so distrusted by AWMs. It described Democrats as a "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show". By contrast, the Middle American AWM is an uncomplicated retrosexual, freed from Nineties exhortations to find his feminine side, comfortable with his hairy chest and sagging jeans.

AWMs are further nudged into the Republican fold by the unsubtle use of wedge issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun control and patriotism. (This is where the gender gap comes into play: in opinion polling, American women cite defending abortion laws and the need for gun control as important reasons for supporting the Democrats.)

The Dobby brand is carefully aligned to the Church, and particularly the born-again evangelicals, of whom there are 70 million. These wedge issues are raised repeatedly in the broadcasts that give AWMs their daily reinforcement: on Fox News, and by the talk-radio hosts Rush Limbaugh (who has an audience of 20 million), Michael Savage and former Watergate felon G Gordon Liddy. A glance at their websites illustrates how the AWMs' indignation is stoked with tales of "the liberals' increasingly destructive influence on America's cherished institutions . . . seeping into America's churches, schools, even its families", as Savage puts it.

The Republicans are confident of raising 0m for the election, and since 4 March they have been spending their war chest on commercials in 17 battleground states. The AWMs are already being bombarded with Rove's finely tuned message: our fearful nation needs "steady leadership in times of change". The initial advert featured flags, firefighters and images of the World Trade Center atrocity - including film of the victims' coffins. It was quickly dropped when this was judged to have gone too far.

This wobble aside, the Republicans are richer and better organized than ever, and confident that the ponderous, if worthy, John Kerry will be too liberal, aloof and dull to convince AWMs to join him. The Democratic candidate may be a war hero and may enjoy manly, extreme sports, but is he the kind of guy you can talk to around the barbecue?
Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy