Moe et al, take note: The New York Times has parachutes on the ground in Defiance, Ohio. I always wanted to see this, maybe in a movie: A gathering on the village green…the sound of a low-flying aircraft, all eyes look up and see THREE SKYDIVERS descending, and soon they land — a WRITER, a PHOTOGRAPHER and a MULTI-PLATFORM NEW MEDIA GRAPHIC ARTIST. As the trio gather their PARACHUTES, the townspeople approach. The WRITER steps forward and extends a hand.
Good morning. We’re from the New York Times,
and we’re here to take your temperature.
Anyway, the Times is, was, in my husband’s hometown. I read him the headline, Democratic Ohio Town Loosens Its Party Ties and we both sort of scratched our heads. Defiance is Democratic? Maybe in the ’60s. Maybe when the UAW still had something to swing. But as far as I can tell, the little D is the textbook example of the Reagan-era strategy of the GOP — get working- and middle-class blue-collar types to vote against their own economic interests through strategic dog-whistle “values” issues. Despite a move toward blue in 2008, it’s still in no danger of holding a gay pride parade anytime soon. However, don’t let that get in the way of the temperature-taking:
Will Parker, 24, finished college in 2009 with a degree in marketing and communications. In six months of looking, he found no work here in his hometown and had to take a Web-page job in Columbus, 115 miles to the southeast, that he feels is a dead end. Mr. Parker voted for Mr. Obama and said he now felt “voter’s remorse” because “it feels like we’re creating a welfare state.”
OK, first: Will? If you’re looking for work in marketing and communication, you’re looking in the wrong place. Generally speaking, towns of fewer than 20,000 souls don’t support much work in that field, even less so in recent years. Even Fort Wayne saw the loss of small ad shops and related jobs in the post-internet crash, as business consolidated in places like Chicago. If you desire that small-city lifestyle, Will, you should have picked a different major, and if you feel you’re in a dead end at 24, you lack imagination. Among many other things.
The rest of the story has that cognitive dissonance I hear so often these days, people who think that stimulus-funded bridge being built down the street is a great idea, but OMG health care! “Rammed down our throats,” was the phrase employed by, get this, an insurance agent. Yes, a woman who sells insurance frets about a bill that requires Americans to buy insurance. She’s probably worried about the death panels. They also dislike the bank bailout, but that of General Motors, which provides the highest-paying jobs in town? Mumble, mumble.
Local suspicion of government has also been fueled, (Mayor) Armstrong said, by a costly federal mandate to build a sewage system to protect the Great Lakes, requiring huge increases in local water rates.
Good lord, they were talking about that in Fort Wayne — upriver on the same waterway that flows through Defiance — when the first George Bush was president. This is the separation of storm and sanitary sewer lines, an expensive but necessary process brought to a crisis in many Midwestern cities by booming housing development through the ’80s and ’90s, all these new subdivisions flushing their toilets into inadequate, outdated systems that sent excrement into the rivers every time it rained. Let my husband offer an eyewitness report:
“We used to fish for carp off the bridge by my mom’s house and watch turds, rubbers and tampons float by.” This is when he was a boy. Damn President Obama for making us stop doing that!
Anyway, as this liberal-media report clearly indicates, the people of our nation’s heartland have turned against our president:
Karl Kissner, the restaurant’s owner, may represent a more vocal and influential attitude in Defiance. He calls himself a Democrat but says he did not vote for Mr. Obama, and his opposition to the administration has deepened.
A Democrat who didn’t vote Democratic in 2008? ‘Round these parts, we call those folks Republicans. But then, I don’t work for the New York Times.
Discuss. There’s a pretty good Metafilter thread about the same story, here.
Bloggage? Sure. Jim Griffioen at Sweet Juniper, along with his wife, have a knack for making the cutest Halloween costumes for their kids. But this one is extra-cute in situ: Ladies and gentlemen, Robocop.
And let’s leave it at that. I’ve reached the point of mega-saturation with politics at the moment, and would rather think of cute kids in Halloween costumes. Have a great day — I’m off to Wayne State.