The young man who grew up across the street moved back in a few years ago. Those kids grew up without a lot of supervision or discipline, but I don’t know that they got into much trouble. Their teeth were bad, their clothes not well-repaired. One of the four went to college, though I don’t know if she finished. This youngest one, now 39, is fixing the place up some, but it’s still rather an eyesore. He has a wife, one of them has children that visit on weekends. He leaves early for work as his father always did, gets back late. I like him, but we never had much in common with any of them, so even now we only chat a bit in the street when our schedules cross.
A woman I work with does a fair bit of overtime at one of our worse-paying jobs. Her husband works, but he has some sort of hip problem – he limps in with a cane sometimes – and is in some pain so doesn’t work overtime himself. They look to be in their early 50’s. She is cheerful, and likes to post humorous things about coffee, weight loss, and nostalgic “Do You Remember?” things on Facebook. She posts occasional humorous conservative things as well, sometimes a bit mean in their insultingness about liberals, but always humor, never rageful declarations. She is very kind with the patients.
Another woman on the job learned a decade ago that I am a Christian, and so has pulled me aside to tell me about her church, and teaching videos she watches, and how sad it is where this country is going. She keeps it secret, fearing criticism from the largely-liberal, largely nonreligious workforce here. I tend to think she overrates the danger, but a stray comment by a friend suggests she is easily hurt by criticism, so she turtles down. She loved Sarah Palin, BTW. She also works hard at a low-paying job, and is notably kind to patients on the geriatric unit.
I know a young woman who formerly used drugs, but has been sober for about seven years now. She has a little boy – no help from the father, who is long gone. She works two part-time jobs, which is sometimes a schedule juggle. Her felony record (one, drug offense) renders her ineligible for Section 8 and makes it harder to get jobs, I expect, though her appearance is against her there as well. She does not speak well – instantly obvious lower-class upbringing. Her mother helps out watching the boy some of the time.
None of these four are stupid, but I estimate they would score a little below average on cognitive tests. We used to call them working-class, salt-of-the-earth. They plug away at life, doing their bit. They don’t have much influence, no one much listens to them outside their own homes, I suspect. Their lives are not terrible, but when we talk about The Marginalised, I think they fit.
There is a set of Christians who like to talk about the marginalized, that Jesus cared about the marginalized, and we should care about them too. The implication being, of course, that they care about them just fine, but I should pay more attention to them. This gets trotted out at Christmas, and as commentary on many of the currently fashionable crises. Some folks - not all - seem quite willing to excuse a lot of bad behavior in the marginalized. It’s pretty easy to recognize the type of earnest Christian who keeps pointing us back to the M’s. You can tell from the headline, or even the little photo in the box. They often learned to see the world this way at school, especially denominational colleges and seminaries. I know exactly which people on my FB feed are going to go there, and the folks they link to are much like them. They seem to be talking about a different marginalized group, but if one tries to describe the difference it quickly gets messy.
That set of Christians isn’t talking about the marginalized at present. I haven’t seen The M’s mentioned since December 25th, actually. They are writing, posting, and linking to stories about Trump. Not even so much Trump, but Trump supporters, and how worried they are that there are so many of these dangerous people around. And yes, some of these nice Christians aren’t afraid to make the Hitler comparison.
My four examples above are the Trump supporters I know personally*. I haven’t asked any of them why they support Trump. The Rand survey reveals that the biggest indicator of Trump support is “people like me don’t have any say.” I can believe that. I also think I understand their defensive posture as well. “Every bad thing you say about us is true of other groups as well, but you don’t mention that.” Which is entirely true.
*I know one other who is young and not much like this group. Then a whole separate subgroup I may mention if needed.