Should we empathize with Trump voters?

In a word, no.

People who vote for Trump care about racism, and to a lesser extent, misogyny over *any other issue*.

There’s a movement among some liberal white folks (even our beloved wandsci) to empathize with these jerks.  They’re poor.  They’re seeing privileges stripped away.  They’re not used to being so close to the bottom.  They’re uneducated.  They’re scared and don’t know any better.  We should try to understand their point of view.  That’s the argument.

First, although the media narrative is an economic one, it’s not actually true.  White Trump voters are better off than the average American.  It is true that they’re generally not college educated.  But that’s on them.  They’re making plenty of money without the fancy degree that they could still get if they wanted.

Second, even if the media narrative were true, which it isn’t, that’s still no excuse to be racist.

Racism is deplorable.  As the ladies on the Here to make friends bachelor podcast note, plenty of people have bad things happen to them and don’t become assholes.  Your reaction to hardship or tragedy doesn’t have to be voting against your economic interests so that you can feel superior to someone with a different skin color.

There’s no point in trying to empathize with racists anymore than there’s a point in trying to empathize with dangerously misogynistic Chad on the Bachelor franchise.  Empathy will not change their behavior.  Shaming might.  More likely these hardcore racists are just lost to humanity and will either someday see the light or they will die bitter horrible people.  And that’s ok.  The importance of shaming is not to change their beliefs.  Shaming does two things.  First, it changes the behavior of the bulk of these horrible people because it forces them to watch what they say and how they act, so it is harder to hurt minorities.  Second, it shows that bulk of easily-led people that casual racism is not cool and tilts them for good over evil, which means they too are less likely to commit acts of overt racism.

Empathy has no place.  These people are racist.  Their behavior is deplorable.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  We should shame them.  This behavior has no place in mainstream society and if it can’t be removed entirely, it should be treated as the abomination that it is.  Let them dress up in their costumes and play their stupid games by themselves where we can laugh at them as losers who can’t get past 1865.  But when their behavior starts affecting normal people, and when it starts having a negative effect on people who are already discriminated against, that’s when any residual caring about their racist fee-fees should disappear.  They are bad people with bad beliefs and hopefully one day their children will escape and see how much better the world can be without their hate.

A play for 3 actors

Player 1:  Whose woods are these

I think I know

They belong to

Bick Pentameter

Player 2:  Who is Bick Pentameter

Player 3 (emerging from leafy shadows):  I am

Bick Pentameter

*Fin*

[Players bow]

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Thanks to DH who suggested, “Bick Pentameter” for the first line, “I am” when DC1 came home with a “personal poem” that forced hir to fill in the blanks after partial sentences.  Sometimes I really wonder if I married an engineer.  In his defense, he notes it doesn’t have quite the same ring as “I am Batman.”

Money, Love, and Food

This is a repost from 2010 back when we had great blog posts but few readers to appreciate them!  Feel free to comment as if it’s new since there weren’t many comments to begin with.

Thought provoking post at GRS, for anyone with children or who grew up with parents.

To sum, a woman grew up with a father who told her they were wealthy but would not spend or let her spend on things.  Now she feels guilty whenever she does spend, despite having a healthy (100K) emergency fund in place.

The comments contain a lot of conflicting arguments about how we’re destroying our kids.  It seems like parents can’t win.

The things her father said to her sounded a lot like the things my father said to me.  I had many of the same experiences growing up.   Yet I did not take away the same lessons and overall I am very happy with my relationship with money.  Sure I felt guilty spending on luxuries when we had no money and we were trying to pay off DH’s college debt, but once we got into a comfortable place, I got comfortable with spending on things I could afford.  Take care of myself and my family first, then spend on luxuries without unhappiness.

Over the past couple of days my mind has been grappling with the question about what’s the difference between my situation and hers.  At first I thought it might be the autonomy I was allowed with my own small allowance (nobody made me save it– though I did learn to save on my own for larger items).  But I don’t think that was it.   It also isn’t talking about money as a family or not talking about it.  Or knowing the parent’s financial situation or not knowing the parent’s financial situation.  It definitely isn’t being denied an ice cream cone out or getting every wish granted.

The real problem is when we associate tools with love. The poster and most of the commenters are taking for granted that how money is spent is a sign of where love lies.  That isn’t the case.  Money is just a tool.  After basic needs are met, you can spend nothing or spend a ton aligned with your family values about what is important, but that is not love.  The child in the post perceived the soda or ice cream as lack of love.  As a child I perceived it as not wanting to spend money on an item that my father did not value.  A commenter talked about how he felt guilty when told that they couldn’t go on a vacation because they were saving for his college.  As a child I saw that as information that my family valued education over trips to Disney World (not that we didn’t travel– we went on countless road trips, but generally on the cheap and often to visit family) and that my future was important enough to delay gratification for (and corporations are really good at getting people to spend money).

There’s a reason I’ve never understood the women who want their husbands to buy them expensive jewelry to prove their love or to apologize for an argument, especially at the expense of quality time as a family or true financial security.

In my family, we were also encouraged to ask questions and test limits.  I think my father was proud when we made a counter-argument about how we were willing to pay the additional money to get a cold drink *now* or that the ice cream in the small pint is better quality than the ice cream in the large tub and we don’t need a large tub’s worth anyway.   It was most important to him that we understand why and how we were spending our money– not to be skin-flints but to truly understand frugality and value.   For my own parenting, I think we don’t have to worry about the money messages we’re sending if we talk them out, encourage communication and even disagreement, and let our children know if we’re worried they’re taking the wrong message. It’s like teaching undergrads, if you encourage students to ask questions in a safe environment, teacher mistakes can become valuable teaching moments rather than a disaster. They can lead to more rather than less learning.

How does this juxtapose with Donna Freedman’s wonderfully sweet column on material gifts from her mother?  It’s the gesture, not the item.  But the gesture need not be a thing at all, and it need not involve money at all.  It really is the thought that counts.  Maybe it’s ok to think of buying a soda as an act of love (though it’s an odd thing for most Americans where soda flows more freely than water), but it is never ok to think of the lack of buying it as a withdrawal of love.  There are many ways to show love, and a homemade toaster cozy or a timer that brought order to a mother’s life are examples of things where the thought is much more important than the money spent.

For me this connection is more obvious with food– emotional eating.  Culturally this is a big problem for us… chocolate chip cookies do cheer someone up when they’re down.  I love it when my husband bakes me a batch.  It reminds me of vacations with my late grandmother or brownies from my mom.  But it is important to separate the thoughtfulness of making the cookie from the cookie itself.    And maybe the few extra pounds is worth it for immediate comfort.  It’s when that emotional food connection becomes a problem, or that emotional money connection becomes a problem that we really need to remember that love is love and money is a tool and food is something to eat.

Do you intertwine love with money or with food?  Do you have healthy or unhealthy associations with money and/or food?

Link love

This week I have a deadline so I said “no twitter except docrocktx26 this week” partly because it’s a distraction and partly because the coverage (even from so-called liberal men) about HRC daring to not tell people she had pneumonia the minute she was diagnosed last Friday and waiting OMG until Monday was driving me nuts.  Oh, and all the mansplaining about how “basket of deplorables” was a gaffe, when I’m pretty sure it was not at all.  I hate the patriarchy so much.  (btw, there were some twitter lookings last saturday before I decided to stop– this guy does real investigative reporting.)

Still, we do have some political links.

Here’s an excellent take-down of why it doesn’t @#$234ing matter if HRC has health problems.  Well worth watching the video– you find some stuff about script writing with the West Wing too.  Here’s Historiann’s contribution on the subject.  Here is docrocktex‘s.

How Trump’s business ties could upend national security.

This article does a really good job explaining how companies contributed to the Trump foundation as a way for Trump to dodge income tax.

Truly sickening.  Brazen and stupid (and I don’t even have a link for his holocaust jokes this week).

We are numb.

I endorse this article as a professional economist.

I hope this guy wins his court case.  F the police.

This is the best kind of political post.  Also we are going to totally try it out.  It sounds easy and delicious.

gorgeous

Smash the patriarchy!

Treat high income when you’re young as a windfall (that you save and don’t blow).

Save money by not switching your taxable stocks to betterment!

I had forgotten this post.

giggle

New teeny kittens.

Ask the grumpies: PF blogs?

Rosa asks:

Are there any PF blogs, not on your blogroll, that you recommend?

As you note, we read the ones on our blogroll.  From miser-mom, one of us reads Planting Our Pennies.  From Donna Freedman I’ll often click on Ipickuppennies.

Feral homemaking doesn’t update anymore, but her blogroll is pretty active, so sometimes it’s worth clicking on that.  Most of the stuff on her blogroll is about living on a lot less, which really isn’t our thing these days.  Standouts include Non-consumer advocate and the frugal girl, which is kind of the opposite of non-consumer advocate in that it often has sponsored posts.  I find I really can’t read a lot of the other blogs like I used to because I feel guilty for having so much when some people have so little.

I used to read a bunch of stuff off of femme frugality‘s blogroll, but she got rid of the blogroll so I only rarely catch up on savespendsplurge or budgetandthebeach and similar well-heeled formerly 20-something bloggers.  If she still had the blogroll I would probably read more of their posts when the titles were interesting.

Other regular reads include:

A Gai Shan Life, but she’s not solely PF.

nzmuse, similar to a gai shan life in terms of not being solely pf

Occasional reads include:

Afford Anything – she posts about once a month and her posts are really interesting– usually she’s only talking about real estate investing which I have less than zero interest in (like, you would have to pay me a ton to get me to do real estate investing), but despite that, I still find it fascinating.

Leighpf – every post that Leigh does is a gem, but unfortunately for us she’s been posting *less* than once a month.  We are grateful that she still comments on other people’s blogs!  I’d say she’s the one PF blogger that I still learn things from.  I would be interested in knowing what PF blogs *she* finds useful.  (Note:  sometimes she points out good posts on her twitter feed.)

a windy city gal sometimes posts about finances

solitary diner sometimes posts about finances

stacking pennies updates once or twice a month

retirebyforty  doesn’t really have anything for me, but I’m vaguely interested in Joe’s financial life

club thrifty  Their posts are mostly PF 101 or travel hacks, so I only stop by occasionally these days.

evolving pf  Only posts about once a month now and mostly only life updates.

Financial Sam –  I suspect that many of his posts are just trolling, but occasionally I’ll stop by out of morbid curiosity.

yuppiemillennial —  She posts somewhat sporadically or I’d read her more regularly instead of waiting for her to comment here.  I did read her engineering PF blog regularly but she took it down.

I would read more middleclassrevolution.me formerly oilandgarlic, formerly etc.   But either she’s on a hiatus or she’s moved to another blog that I haven’t figure out yet!

Blogs I don’t read often but (I think) are still around:

There are a bunch of bloggers who used to comment on our blog but no longer do.  Whenever I stop by out of curiosity, I notice that their posts tend to be PF 101 stuff, so there’s not much incentive to stop by regularly.  People who are just starting (probably not Rosa) would probably find them more useful.  These include folks like squirrelers, budgeting the fun stuff, step away from the mall, retire by 40, little house, etc.  (For all I know some of these may have been sold.)

From time to time I’ll look at frugalwoods, but I dunno, before they moved I started to find the blog to be pretty repetitive and after they moved it became less interesting.  When the headline on Mr. Money Moustache is interesting, I’ll read that off Miser mom’s blog roll.

So I really don’t have anything new for you!  I bet there’s not a single name up there that you don’t recognize.

But maybe our readers have suggestions?

Stickers I deserve

Hello, I deserve stickers for doing good things!   (#IAdultedToday)

I wrote 1.5 pages on the L&K paper and edited more.

I have >2 papers under review right now.  (not sure where one is?)

I Left Work At Work (at least twice).  I am working on doing this more and not bringing annoyedness home with me.  Reward me!

I cooked food and cleaned some of the bathroom.  Sent my brother a birthday card in plenty of time!

Tried to be patient with my boss.  Failed to catch up on journal service.

I went to bed at a reasonable hour, DESPITE reading a fun book.

Took care of oil change, smog check, car registration well before the deadline.

Put a socially-responsible book on my library hold list.

here are some more example stickers.

What grownup stickers do you deserve, Grumpeteers?

Random life updates

Do any of you follow the story threads of our lives and then wonder what happened since we forgot to update?  Here’s some updates:

Little Kitty’s IBS and health:

  • She had idiopathic elevated calcium levels (meaning they don’t know why).  This was the best possible outcome since the other outcomes where they know were all bad.  First she got steroids for two weeks.  Then she got taken off the hydrolized diet and put on a low calcium diet and now her tummy seems to be all better.  No more IBS even when she steals her favorite people food (chicken).  It is mysterious.
  • Once her calcium levels got balanced, she got to have her teeth cleaned.  Unfortunately 7 teeth also had to be pulled.  Also it is insane how even though these costs are expensive, they are waaay less expensive than costs of the same thing in paradise.

DH’s relatives:

  • The one with the abusive baby daddy has moved back home.  She’s not getting along with her dad because he says she frequently does dangerous things when taking care of her son and he tells her not to.  Her step-mom is doing well with chemo and is really enjoying taking care of the baby while her step-daughter works at the Walmart a few towns over.  I have no idea how the menu planning stuff went down or if now that the oldest girl is back she’s taken over some of the responsibilities.
  • The other one who was a teen mom is still living with her two kids with her husband near her biological mom across the country.  She seems to be doing fine.

Kitty saga:

  • I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my sister ended up taking a second kitten from our back-yard cat saga since we were only allowed to take two cats with us to Paradise.  Her two still love each other and my sister seems to have bonded with them.  Problem:  her new roommate brought a bully cat and boy kitty started peeing on things in protest.  So now her two cats stay in her bedroom suite during the day, mostly sleeping while the bully cat roams the rest of the house.  :(

DC1 at public school:

  • In the end, DC1 transitioned well to public school for 5th grade in Paradise.  I think it was good that it was still an elementary school.
  • Zie seems to be doing fine at middle school for 6th grade so far this year.  Zie has to do some testing to get admitted to the GT pull-out program.   One of hir friends from private school is in orchestra with hir, which helps.  They should both transition from 5th grade orchestra to 6th grade orchestra at the semester.  (DC1 decided against another year of trumpet, which means zie has to have weekly violin lessons to ease the transition since zie is a year behind.  Zie is surprisingly not that awful– much better than my memories of that first year of my sister practicing.)
  • Zie tested into 7th grade advanced math, which is really nice.  This and orchestra are two big advantages over private school.  I do miss having a foreign language though.  DC1 had Spanish as an after school program last year (they also had French, but only for native speakers(!), so we dropped that), but it doesn’t appear that anything like that is available here.
  • The after school program is cheap ($115/mo and goes until 6:30pm) and the bus stop is literally at the corner of our house.  For now we’re doing after school instead of having hir take the bus home so we don’t have to worry about hir being latch-key when DH is out of town for work.  The law in our state is vague… it basically says, you’re ok so long as something bad doesn’t happen, but if something bad happens you made the wrong decision.  If we still had a home phone I’d feel a bit better about a latch-key situation.  If we do go latch-key DC1 will need a cell-phone.

DC2:

  • Returning to the Montessori here has been great.  So great we decided not to start K this year and to leave hir in Montessori another year.  Then we may skip K next year if zie doesn’t get into the dual-language program.  We’re playing it by ear a year at a time.
  • Zie really does miss hir friends, but many of them were heading off to public school anyway (either K or Pre-K), so…  And we’re happy zie is back to more academics and less of the creepy religious stuff.  (Nothing against non-creepy religious stuff, but even though DC1 and DC2 both attended a year of preschool from the same Lutheran branch, DC1’s was not at all creepy and DC2’s was full of not preschool appropriate stories.  Just comparing the children’s bibles they each got was pretty crazy.  Like, it wasn’t our imagination.)  Hir reading and math abilities have skyrocketed since we got back.

I think those are the big things in my online blog persona life.  If anybody cares.