Dean Clough

November 8, 2021

Portico Darwin: Why So Angry?

It's great to be back home in SF.  But it will be a while before we forget about Santa Fe and the special time we had there.  Big thanks again go to Arthur and Mrs. Crup, and to Elizabeth "Polly" Michaels and Primo Harvey, PhD., for joining us.

I will now take the cold plunge back in to reality. 

As I watch Trump supporters but also a lot of other, non-insane, mostly Republican folks, one question that keeps popping to mind is:

Why are these people so angry?

Or put another way, what are they afraid people like me want to take from them?  Can anyone reading this cite one single example where the big, bad commie democrats and liberals and coastal elites actually took something from these folks?

Here are a few random things I like:

  • The Affordable Care Act
  • Marriage Equality
  • Justice Equality
  • Opportunity Equality
  • Clean energy
  • Rational gun safety
  • $15 national minimum wage
  • A national "13th grade"
  • Freedom of Religion/Separation of Church and State
  • The Equal Rights Amendment
  • Voting reform:  election day is a holiday and voting is easier in general
  • Reasonable taxation such that everyone pays their fair share
We have some of these items, and others are only a dream.  Yet, I was not clear on why these "liberal" things make so many people - especially white people - very, very angry and very, very frightened. 

But after reading Isabel Wilkerson's "Caste" it is easier to understand:  it is precisely the increase in equality of certain, previously subordinated castes that have left the heretofore superior caste feeling diminished and thus threatened.  And they perceive that "liberal" policies do the same - elevate others at their own expense.   

So it's clear now that while many white people (me certainly included) saw the election of Barack Obama as a great thing in our nation's history, others saw it as lessening their own status in society and they lashed out.  The end result of this agitation was the election and the mindless adoration of Trump.

Because it would appear Donald Trump and his misguided acolytes simply don't want Blacks, Jews, Latinos, homosexuals, Asians or atheists to rise in stature to the point where they perceive their own as being reduced.  Instead, they long for the "good old days", when everyone knew their place - which was below their own.  Josh Hawley and others are now whining about this very thing - the diminishment of the American White Male.  My God - I am one of those and I can assure everyone no one in society has it easier than a white American man that was born into the middle class.  But even poor white men used to be above middle- and upper-class Black people in Caste America, and they don't like that the tables have turned.

No doubt many will push back on this concept, but it's hard to objectively see any other explanation.  In a different time, Trump would rightly never have been taken seriously in the first place.  A man of his demeanor, with 5 children from 3 different marriages would never have been considered, least of whom by Christian evangelicals.   I mean really:  I remember a time when a whole lot of Republicans wanted Clinton gone because of his Oval Office (and consensual) affair with Monica Lewinsky.   


Also, when I grew up, the concept of a mob storming our Capitol and attempting a coup was beyond unthinkable, especially if predicated on a lie (that the election was stolen).  But it happened and we now have supposedly serious individuals that have been elected to office denying it even occurred.  What makes someone push The Big Lie and be so angry that you're OK with an insurrection?

So I'll ask again:  What do they think I and people like me want to take away from them?   What has been taken from them to date?  What is your typical Republican so angry at?  Haven't we had the 40 years of Reaganism you wanted?  

I hope we can do better than "I don't want the liberals telling me what to think and say."  If that's the best you've got, please read this:

Nuance.  Complexity.  Dimensions.  Two things can be true at once:

  • Hyper-woke social justice warriors and cancel culture in general are not helpful, and conceivably dangerous at times to society
  • It's good that Blacks, Asians, Latinos, homosexuals, and transgender people aren't often beaten and tortured any longer, and that women of all types have almost reached the equality with men that they deserve

I will publish without comment any reader's reply to today's topic. 

I better counter that picture of Trump with something a touch more palatable.  Done. 

This is my former colleague Kevin Monza (who, along with the data center pioneer Miguel Shannon, I partied with yesterday in Oakland) and his friend Brutus.  So handsome!  And yes, Kevin's not bad, either.


I got a nice list of additional events from the avid sportsman Hunter Deuce.  He confusingly also included events already on my own list, but I don't want to nit-pick.  And the rugby-centric nature of the list is troubling, although expected.

"Six Nations
International rugby tournament between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy that dates back to 1883.  Any of those locations would be fine.

French Open
Dunno why, but it's always intrigued me - the clay courts, Paris in springtime - what's not to love?

Bledisloe Cup
International rugby tournament between New Zealand and Australia.  I'll take Sydney or Auckland, please.

World Heavyweight Bout
Maybe not as compelling these days, but I'd love to do a huge title fight, Las Vegas-style.

Premiership Football
Chelsea-Arsenal with great seats and a posh London hotel.  Yes, please.

The Iditarod
OK, I've always wanted to visit Alaska.

Japanese Baseball
Came close to doing this when I was there in 2019.  Watching our Giants with a bowl full of ramen isn't the same, I suspect.

The U.S. Open
I'm not knocking The Masters, but I've always loved the "anyone can qualify" aura of the U.S. Open. Any location.

Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race
Tasmania?  Hey, why not.

Final Four
Jet in anywhere, and the atmosphere has to be off the charts.

Maui Invitational
I think this one probably flies under most people's radar.  Some of the top basketball schools competing in a weekend tourney.  In Maui."

And my oh-so-fragile ego got a nice boost from Dr. Doreen Downs - I am flattered, but I also think Caltrain has tackled or is currently fixing some of the same problems that plague the New Mexico Rail Runner.

"Hi Portico,

Since you are doing a great job of rebuilding the railroads in New Mexico, consider working on Caltrain when you get back to San Francisco. 😁"

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

While this is a bit melancholy in places, it sure is a fantastic album and also spot-on for today.  Here are Doves and the emotive and tuneful "Lost Souls". 

Fun Fact:  I discovered this album during the earliest days of streaming audio over the Internet; it was probably late 2000.  I was listening to a long-gone Virgin Radio channel from London, and they played the raucous and soaring "Catch The Sun".  I was hooked, on streaming, and Doves.  I also remember shocking Professor Howard Blum, Esq. with the volume at which I cranked that song at one of our earliest dinner parties together, at around the same time.  I remember he and my wife looking at each other as I was jumping off of furniture in our apartment to "Catch the Sun" and saying to themselves, "Why does he have to play the music so LOUD?"


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.