Not long ago, The Blaze posted an article detailing former host of Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe, weighed in on the election and offered a bit of sanity in the mire of news and opinion that followed. The Facebook post in which Rowe spoke on the subject went viral, as everyone seemed to appreciate the wisdom Rowe had to impart, one writer at the Daily Dot did not.
Gillian Branstetter wrote a response article to Rowe’s post that essentially accused Rowe of using economic concerns as a cover up for the racism espoused by Trump. Branstetter also accused Rowe of exploiting his fanbase with “bootstrap mythology” for personal gain.
Rowe wasn’t going to take that lying down, and in returning to Facebook, the former host decided to give the Daily Dot writer a little education on reality.
I believe a solid work ethic and a measure of ambition are essential ingredients to success, and readily available to anyone. Obviously, the desire to succeed and the willingness to work hard are not enough to guarantee success, but success without either is impossible. I also believe that any able bodied person can metaphorically pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. You call this belief a “myth,” and that puts us at odds over the importance of individual self-reliance. That’s fine, but to suggest that I have used this “mythology” to “exploit my fan base for my own gain” is a “doozy” of an accusation. I’ve exploited no one, Gillian. I run a scholarship program that rewards individual work ethic. I do so, because I believe work ethic is no longer encouraged to the degree it should be. We’ve trained about 500 people for a long list of good jobs, and I’m pretty sure none of them feel exploited.
Finally, “economic frustration and demographic resentment” are not mutually exclusive. I understand that racism, sexism, or all the other ism’s currently dominating the headlines are alive and well in this country, and I suspect they always will be. But I don’t believe our country is fundamentally racist. Millions of white people who voted for Barack Obama, just voted for Donald Trump. It makes little sense to accuse them of “demographic resentment.”
Branstetter went on to accuse Trump voters of only caring about blue-collar infrastructure work when it came down to Trump’s wall along the Mexican border. Rowe once again injected a little reality, and explained that people can support immigration laws, and be wary of cities that refuse to enforce them, and still not be racist or xenophobic.
Really Gillian? ALL supporters? Do you really believe all 62 million voters based their vote on a wall? Isn’t it possible that a reasonable person might have a legitimate concern about illegal immigration, support the building of a wall, look with suspicion upon “sanctuary cities,” and NOT be anti-immigrant? Isn’t it possible a reasonable person might want to see the existing immigration laws enforced and not be a xenophobe? If so, what would such a person do, when given the choice between a crude businessman who speaks offensively, and a career politician who promises to dramatically increase the flow of refugees from countries that foment terrorism? Isn’t it also possible that an immigration policy that’s actually enforced might have a positive effect on overall economic anxiety?
Rowe continues to take apart Branstetter’s arguments bit by bit, and finishes by responding to her idea that that people have a right to anxious because Trump “used racism as the cure” to the job problem, and that it “is a disservice to the kind of workers Rowe promotes.”
“Deserve to be anxious?” You really do have an interesting way of putting things, Gillian. Anxiety is not a thing anyone “deserves.” It’s just a feeling, and like all feelings, it’s ultimately a choice. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it isn’t. But it has less to do with the facts in evidence, and more to do with what scares us as individuals.
You and I for instance, are both anxious about President Trump. I’m anxious because the man has never held office, he’s never worn a uniform, and he’s frightened millions of people with irresponsible rhetoric and bad behavior completely inconsistent with the leader of the free world. That makes me uneasy, no doubt about it.
You on the other hand, are anxious because you have taken everything he’s said at face value. Moreover, you seem to believe that everyone who voted for him did so because they agree with everything he’s said and done. Surely, you have to know how absurd that is. Do 60 million votes for Hillary Clinton means 60 million Americans approve of lying under oath, mishandling classified emails, and blatant “pay for play” shenanigans with her foundation? Of course not. I know many Hillary supporters who were disgusted by her behavior, and voted for her anyway. I know many Trump supporters who followed suit. You should take comfort in that. I’m not ignoring Trump or the things he said. But you – and many others – would have us believe the character of the country is no better than the character of the candidates.
And that’s enough to make anybody anxious.
If you’d like to read Rowe’s entire response to the Daily Dot article — and it’s recommended you do — follow the link below.