|by DAVID BROOKS|
If Balzac were alive today, he would plant himself in the Rust Belt. Why? I'm guessing, because his name is easily turned into "Ballsack" and this region is lousy with South Park fans.
Here Balzac would definitely feel at home. Like the beautiful corroding tentacles of some giant iron octopus, its rotting, rust-stained tendrils spreading from majestic Pittsburgh to gleaming Ohio to Damp Wisconsin and Moist Arkansas, this area remains wonderfully Talibanesque in its fear of change, fear of the future, fear of education, fear of progress. (And who was Balzac anyway? An Algerian, most likely.)
In this, the angry, fearful, bitter, post-working-class, post-industrial, de-employed, dis-informed region, we find "the beating center of American life". By which I mean there but for the Grace of God Himself, go I. (Alas The Fates have destined me to exile--New York City.)
It would take a Balzac to understand the perplexities and contradictions one finds in these neighborhoods. Certainly I can't. But I can pander to their fear of African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Asian-Americans, people who major in the humanities, the very small number of Americas who are tenured college professors, scientists, the Asian-Jewish meritocracy, elitist smartie-pants giving them the high hat (such as Lincoln with his high hat) and any other other type of verbal sticky shitty hate and fear I can dream up. In the name of "moderation", of course. (Hey, don't blame me, I'm just a Republican. It's what we do.)
In some places, as many as a 2% majority of these voters switched parties in the last election. Although since at least these same idiots switch in every election, one might really seriously question as to whether these people would just do this no matter what. But this isn't the time for me to question my rhetoric: It's the time for me to state that I Was Right All Along And That's Why The Democrats Lost. Not that I've ever been wrong about anything. Besides, we're talking about the people who bothered to fucking show up on Election Day--and as we all know, the elderly are the smartest and wisest amongst us. I mean, have you ever tried to play bingo? Not as easy as it looks.
In other words, these seemingly utterly irrational, vote-jumping, band-wagon-hopping, Social-Security-&-Medicare-Loving, Government-&-Tax-Hating, apparent-morons are in fact the wisest folk in our nation. And, they must be listened to.
Because no matter what: They're going to show up on the next Election Day and vote for the other guy. And if that isn't wisdom, I don't know what is.David Brooks