When I last left off, I was talking about what’s behind the near explosion of racially motivated hatred in our country. As I’ve said before, America has a long history of committing racially justified atrocities—most notably the systematic extermination of Native Americans and over 200 years African American slavery—but let’s not ignore the present-day causes of racism. I’m talking about the undeniable impact that globalization, automation and technology has had on our society. Companies involved in technology or other specializations favorably suited to competition in world markets are globalization’s winners, while many manufacturing firms that must compete with lower foreign labor costs are its losers. Accordingly, specialized, high-skilled workers generally benefit from globalization, while the less skilled, many of whom have experienced layoffs and plant closings, are clearly its victims. Some vent their frustration by hating the “other,” while some express it through self-hatred; wouldn’t you agree that victims of the “new economy” have fueled a good deal the opiod epidemic ravaging the heartland of blue- collar America?
The situation is increasingly more complicated than just haves and have nots, the “top 10%’ and such. Through no fault of their own, globalization’s losers are falling further and further behind, with no hope of ever catching up. I worry that “no hope” is the key. The resulting anger is justifiable, but the target of the anger, the “other,” is most assuredly not. The misdirection of anger and resentment at racial and religious minorities is the oldest strategy in the book, the ruling elite’s playbook that is. There is no better example of this approach than the Republican Party’s “Southern strategy” used to help elect Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But now, under the banner of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign, it’s way out of control—and how Trump and his allies love to fuel that fire to their own advantage!