Sunday, August 12, 2007

Deer Hunting With Jesus

by Joe Bageant

Bageant hits the nail on the head with this look at his hometown―Winchester, Virginia―and how it reflects general trends in the United States in which many lower-class folks vote against their own interests so consistently (often based on ignorance and bias whipped up by the political machine) as well as the manner in which the progressive movement continues to be blind to their needs. Subtitled “Dispatches from America's Class War,” Bageant examines the present lives of Winchester's continually down-trodden (through they may not realize their status as such), while taking a historical look at how the current situation has developed, the role of culture (particularly that of the Scots-Irish) and how it lives today, and the slim opportunities for change. His is a perspective that no prep school-educated policy wonk will ever have: This world is completely outside the frame of reference of the people who drive politics in this country. A world where people don't have careers, they have jobs, usually in the same factory or processing plant where their parents worked; where a slot in a low-income apartment complex in a step up in terms of housing; where the local paper might include three stories pulled from the AP wire but features on its front page feel-good pieces about the cronies of the editor, and worse yet, most people don't read it anyway, except for perhaps local high school sports scores. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in how the invisible people of this country live and what they face. --Inanna

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