By Eric Garland
To whom it may concern regarding the United States federal elections of 2014, 2016 and beyond:
Allow me to introduce myself to you, the existing (or aspiring!) strategist for the Republican Party. My name is Eric Arnold Garland and I am a White Man. Boy, am I ever – you need sunglasses just to look at my photo!
If I read the news correctly, I fit a profile that is of extreme importance to the GOP, as I embody the archetype that fits your narrative of Real Americans. Just how much should my profile interest you? Are you sitting down?
- My family lineage goes back to the MAYFLOWER, BOAT ONE!!! (Garland family of New England-> John Adams -> Howard Alden -> Plymouth colony ->KINGS OF MUTHAF***IN’ ENGLAND)
- I am a heterosexual, married to the super Caucasian mother of my two beautiful children who are, inexplicably, EVEN WHITER THAN I AM.
- I am college educated (Master’s degree!) and affluent.
- I am a job creator and small businessman.
- We pay a lot of taxes! Every year!
- I grew up in a rural area and despise laziness!
- Having started my own business, I have complained at length about the insanity of federal, state and local bureaucracy – and its deleterious impact on the innovative small businessman.
- I currently live in the suburbs in a historically Red state.
HOLY WHITE PEOPLE, BATMAN!!! Wow, you’re thinking – this is not some Mexirican in the Sun Belt we need to attract via harsh anti-Castro policies or appeals to “valores de familia” – this is the BREAD AND BUTTER OF THE GRAND OLD PARTY, a Mayflower-descended small business owner, burdened by taxation, looking out for his beautiful White family in the suburbs of a city (St Louis) surrounded by racial tension and urban blight!
How can I put this gently? My wife and I are not sensitive to your messaging, nor did we vote for the candidates you proposed for us this past Tuesday.
B-b-but, what? Aren’t we investors, hard-workin’ white folk surrounded by same in a manicured cul-de-sac, scared by a vision of economic collapse amidst the takers in a land of fewer givers? Didn’t Mitt Romney’s strong family, wealth, leadership history and chiseled chin give us the uncontrollable urge to high-five him into the White House?
May I explain why not, purely for your education, such that you might be interested in winning an election on the national level at some point in the future? It bears pointing out that I should be your Low Hanging Fruit, the easy vote to get as opposed to, say, African-Americans, Latinos, or Asians – and you’re not even speaking well to me. The reasons why ought to concern you deeply.
As a Card-Carrying White Male I love expressing my opinion irrespective of whether people care to hear it, so let’s get started.
Science – One of the reasons my family is affluent is that my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us. I have a Masters degree in Science and Technology Policy, and my wife is a physician who holds degrees in medicine as well as cell and molecular biology. We are really quite unimpressed with Congressional representatives such as Todd Akin and Paul Broun who actually serve on the House science committee and who believe, respectively, that rape does not cause pregnancy and that evolution and astrophysics are lies straight from Satan’s butt cheeks. These are, sadly, only two of innumerable assaults that the Republican Party has made against hard science – with nothing to say of logic in general. Please understand the unbearable tension this might create between us and your candidates.
Climate – Within just the past 18 months the following events have come to our attention: a record-breaking drought that sent temperatures over 100 degrees for weeks, killing half the corn in the Midwest and half the TREES on our suburban property – AND – a hurricane that drowned not New Orleans or Tampa or North Carolina but my native state of VERMONT. As an encore, a second hurricane drowned lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Long Island. The shouted views of decrepit mental fossil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma that this is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by evil, conspiring climate scientists is belied by such events and is looking irresponsible to even the most skeptical.
Healthcare – My wife and I are quite familiar with America’s healthcare system due to our professions, and having lived abroad extensively, also very aware of comparable systems. Your party’s insistence on declaring the private U.S. healthcare system “the best in the world” fails nearly every factual measure available to any curious mind. We watch our country piss away 60% more expenditures than the next most expensive system (Switzerland) for health outcomes that rival former Soviet bloc nations. On a personal scale, my wife watches poor WORKING people show up in emergency rooms with fourth-stage cancer because they were unable to afford primary care visits. I have watched countless small businesses unable to attract talented workers because of the outrageous and climbing cost of private insurance. And I watch European and Asian businesses outpace American companies because they can attract that talent without asking people to risk bankruptcy and death. That you think this state of affairs is somehow preferable to “Obamacare,” which you compared ludicrously to Trotskyite Russian communism, is a sign of deficient minds unfit to guide health policy in America.
War – Nations do have to go to war sometimes, but that Iraq thing was pretty bad, to put it mildly. Somebody should have been, I dunno – FIRED for bad performance. Aren’t you the party of good corporate managers or something? This topic could get 10,000 words on its own. Let’s just leave it at: You guys suck at running wars.
Deficits and debt – Whenever the GOP is out of power, it immediately appeals to the imagination of voters who remember the Lyndon Baines Johnson (!) administration and claim that the Republican alternative is the party of “cutting spending” and “reducing the deficit.” The only problem with your claim is that Republican governments throughout my entire 38 year life (Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43) have failed to cut spending and deficit and debt EVEN ONCE. I hope you understand that your credibility suffers every time you promise one thing for three decades and do the EXACT OPPOSITE. Egads – if you actually were the party of fiscal responsibility – you might win our votes despite your 13th century view of science!
Gay marriage – As the child of Baby Boomers who got divorced (as was the fashion!) in the 80s and 90s, and for whom 50% of my friends had their homes broken by divorce in the critical years before age 18, I sure am unsympathetic to your caterwauling bullshit that “gays will destroy the sanctity of marriage.” Perhaps if everyone in your generation didn’t take the period of 1978 – 1995 to start surreptitiously banging their neighbors and coworkers, only to abandon their kids because “they just weren’t happy,” I would take your defense of marriage more seriously. The institution of Middle Class suburban marriage was broken by the generation of aging white Baby Boomers who populate what is left of the Republican Party, so your defense is wrongheaded and disingenuous. And moreover, as someone who got called “faggot” about 127 times a day from the years 1985 through 1991 – guess what – I grew up to be pretty good friends with actual homosexuals, whose sexual orientation is usually the least significant thing about them. The Republican perseveration on homosexuals as any sort of threat consigns them to history’s trough of intellectual pig dung.
That’s quite enough for one essay, wouldn’t you say? Now, given my initial description as a wealthy, hard-working, job creating, heterosexual, married suburban White Male – doesn’t your current platform look woefully insufficient to the task of gaining my vote? This doesn’t even get into the demographic tensions that show that people of my exact profile are going away permanently in America. You can’t even win on what you perceive to be “home field advantage.”
Uh oh, wait, I can already hear you through the web browser, dismissing all of my above points because THAT GUY WAS NEVER GONNA BE A REPUBLICAN ANYHOW, CUZ HE’S A LIBRUL WHO HATES AMERICA AND…
All right, let’s do one last point:
Meanness– Your party is really mean, mocking and demonizing everyone who does not follow you into the pits of hell. You constantly imply – as Mitt Romney did in his “47% speech” – that anybody who disagrees with you does so not by logic or moral conviction, but because they are shiftless, lazy parasites who want “free stuff” from “traditional Americans.” Wow, you guys managed to follow up a stunning electoral defeat with insulting the very people you wish to attract for a majority in the political system! Brilliant! You are losing elections because being angry and defensive and just-plain-mean is more important than being smart and winning elections – and thus you deserve everything happening to you.
If you want to know exactly where you failed in 2012, and will continue to fail, here it is. Look you assholes, I’m as traditional an American as it gets, and I do not “want free stuff.” I am a taxpayer, and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. I got my first job – dragging bags of cow manure, horse feed and fertilizer around a farm store – when I was 12. I started my first company when I was 28. I have followed the vast majority of the rules set out for middle class white males (for good and for ill.) And if it weren’t bad enough that your policy positions are a complete clusterfuck for the reasons I lay out in great detail, you manage to follow up the whole exercise with insulting me, my wife, and my friends of every stripe who didn’t vote for your political party – all of whom are hard-working, taxpaying, job creating, law abiding, great AMERICANS of EVERY COLOR AND CREED.
From this white, Mayflower-descended strategic analyst, allow me to offer you the three strategic options you have before you:
1. You drastically moderate your platform to harmonize with the policy positions I present above
2. You disband the party and reorganize it to reflect current realities
3. You kick and scream and stamp your feet and call me and my friends names – and submit to several decades of one party rule
While I do not want a one-party system, I also don’t particularly care which of these options you choose. If you look carefully at the numbers on Tuesday, nobody else cares, either.
Just a word to the wise from one White Man to (presumably) another.
Reposted from Eric Garland blog
Eric Garland is a writer who focuses on the future trends that are changing life for everybody. He is the author of two books on how leaders think about the future, a regular public speaker, and a professional bassist.
Thank you for that! Finally, everything I feel and cannot verbaliZe. Share this!
I am impressed with what Eric has to say but I discovered during this last awful & bitter election that the white Christian Right cannot be appealed to by way of reason because they just don’t want to listen. I got in to it with one such person – my 1st encounter – & , I must say, I am appalled at the ignorant closed-mindedness of these people who live in their insular little white bread world. Eric’s voice is crying in the wilderness, I fear. I am not hopeful that they will be dissuaded from their convictions.
John Carter says
I have had the same response to any opposing views by the North Carolina Republicans. They seem to have a lost Mind Set and feel that they have knowledge beyond reason. Somehow, they feel they are right about something but do not understand the word paradox. In our area, misquoted scriptures, fantom facts, and the distorted traditions that Mr. Garland explains prevail. And, they get very rude and naughty if you question their ignorance.
This is the essay every politician should read.
Jeff Clyons says
I love you. If you weren’t married we could be. ;) I’m a WHITE WOMAN with a MASTERS degree and all in with this.
Registered just to say I hate you. To be as accomplished as you are in, I presume, a non-writerly field and then blithely knock out an opinion piece so charming, thoughtful and well-written … well, for us who try to earn a living with words, it’s just not fair. So fuck you.
I pity you and your falsehoods. I finished school in four years. I guess 15 would have made me as big a jerk as you.
Go back and re-read: ” my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us.” Collective = put together. He has a Master’s Degree, so that would be a min. of 5-6 years. His wife is a Doctor…add College (8 – 10 years) plus internships and residency… Makes it actually a lot longer than 15 years, unless both just piled on the course work. Glad you got your Associates in 4 years, but you are showing that all you learned was how to be a jerk.
Obviously you need to go back to school. “my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us.”
LEARN TO READ. and open your mind.
K- I’m glad you finished school in 4 years. Here is a pat on the back.
But he said “my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us.” soooo
His masters degree- 5-6 years
Wife: BA- 4 years, med school- 4 years, residency-3-6 years.
15 years sounds about right. I guess in those 4 years of schooling, you never learned reading comprehension huh?
Great writing! Thank you for this letter.
I more or less agree on all points. The one not spoken was the most important, though: while the Republicans fail, the alternative (and we only have two choices, sadly) also does not offer any real solutions to important matters like national debt, foreign adventures or healthcare. And, perhaps even worse, they also say really mean things. So, where’s a taxpaying white boy to turn?
Very nicely put, and so very true. I too am well educated well traveled and cannot refute any of the comments above. The comment on Healthcare, America is running about 60th in the world with the quality of care but number 1 in the developed world on cost. There is no room for shareholders profit in health as the present system believes. With profit you loose actual care.
The 47% comment. How dumb do you really have to be to make a comment like that in a political race. No matter it was a wealthy closed door luncheon. That was flat out dumb.
When it is necessary to insult everyone including the potential electorate you will reap what you sow. A loss.
Lacking in intelegent ideas, understanding of global events and issues, and a flat out failure to understand America lead to this loss. the world is not flat, even the Myans and Ancient Greeks knew that!
I believe there are 3 good peices of advice at the end of this. Pick the right one or get off the Public Purse.
Would you please itemize the “falsehoods?” Pitying and calling people names will not move our country forward, explaining rational positions and where error in judgement lies, will.