Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild


I finished Strangers In Their Own Land and never, ever have I been so glad to finish a book. It has been like a millstone around my neck the entire time I was reading it. It irritated, upset, annoyed me so much that I could only read 5-6 pages at a time before I would have to put it down for a while.  Why, you ask. First of all, I must state that I am and have always been from childhood, an environmentalist. This book is the result of the author's attempt to understand and develop empathy for people who are Tea Party sympathizers.  She attempts to understand why they vote against their own interest for a clean environment. They may lose their house in a stinking sink hole, they may lose their health, they may see their beautiful environment turned into a lifeless cesspool of toxic waste and still vote for and elect politicians who promise to lower their taxes and get rid of government interference such as the EPA. She learns that behind their Tea Party inclinations are three bulwarks: faith, family, and honor. She follows several families and demonstrates how these bulwarks influence their choices and decisions. She bends over backwards to make these choices sound rational and reasonable. But the fact is, they are neither rational nor reasonable.  The same pillars of faith, family, and honor are more applicable to a faith that leads one to cherish and care for God's creation, protecting one's family from dying of cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals, and taking pride in causing no harm to the natural world and the life that inhabits it. It is a well written, well researched book but it is still incomprehensible to me that people will knowingly poison themselves, their families and the environment around them. 

4 comments:

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I can't read these books anymore. Bad for my mental health. Tea Party types truly are deplorable.

Hattie said...

There is that subset of deplorables who will put up with just about anything as long as they don't have to live around people of color.

Rambling Woods said...

Oh.... the Tea Party..sigh

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You are way more patient than I am these days. Back in (I think) 2008 I read "What's the Matter With Kansas" which was along the same line -- maybe not so much centered on the environment, but, at least as I remember, about how people voted against all reason because of conservative religious beliefs and unwillingness to accept change -- -- it was incomprehensible to me then and even more so now based on what is going on with the so-called 'conservative' wing. But of course I am a West Coast elite knee-jerk liberal Democrat (who lives in a trailer in Florida half the year -- that'll screw up the data ;>).