Cynthia Dill forgot to talk about my “fringe” resentments

It’s a bit of a delayed reaction, but I wanted to give a shout out to Chris Busby who writes a blog for the BDN.  In a post last week, he called out Cynthia Dill for being elitist in a column she wrote about the “fringey elements” on both sides of the aisle.

Writing about voters holding views on the extreme left and right, she used words like “idiots … bum … loons … bozos.” Busby was correct in noting that the column is a glaring example of how the Democratic Party has lost touch with the commoner — those of us who have what Dill refers to as a “lifetime’s heap” of losses. That disconnect to which Busby refers is one of the many reasons why I left the Democratic Party several years ago.

I was hurt that Dill left out a big chunk of the fringe, though — the chunk that includes me. I am not affiliated with either party, so I’d like to add a third group to her “leftists” and “rightists” that she holds in such contempt. Middlists.

Here in the middle, I am free to resent both parties for their insistence on polarization over progress. Dill spends a big chunk of her column analyzing her perceptions of the resentments of others, but she misses the mark. She perceives “leftists” as resenting the successes of others and “rightists” as unable to process their own failure. One section reads:

Deserving to be richer is a common denominator of those who resent the success of others and those who resent others for their failure.

I can’t speak for “leftists, rightists” or even all middlists, but this particular middlist doesn’t think I deserve to be richer, nor do I resent the successes of others. Further, I could write a book about my shortcomings and have even written a couple posts about embracing them. However I do think I deserve to be able to cover basic living expenses and have some amount of quality time with my children.

Incomes have been stagnating for years, though, so that basic level of achievement is getting harder and harder to achieve for more and more of us. Too many parents are being forced to choose between working around the clock to the detriment of their relationships with their children or trying to balance parental responsibilities with earning just barely or not quite enough to make ends meet.

While I don’t resent the successes of others or my own failures, I do resent both parties for enabling this state of affairs for the last few decades.

I’d like to be fair and say that this resentment is spread equally over both parties, as each as had their turn in power on the state and federal levels in my lifetime, and both have been equally bad at uplifting our most vulnerable citizens. Sometimes, though, I think I resent the Democrats more because they profess to be for the poor and vulnerable, yet do so little. Or worse, in the case of the Clinton administration, their policies can play out quite poorly for the poor.

Then there’s Utah. Under a series of Republican governors, Utah has virtually eradicated homelessness in just over 10 years. 

From what I can tell from the little research I did, Utah did so using compassionate, best-practices. It seems to follow that Utah’s process could be replicated with minor tweaks to meet various regions’ unique needs. Eradicating homelessness means that politicians from either party would have to be serious about actually wanting to eradicate homelessness instead of using the subject as a talking point.

It’s hard to imagine. Especially with Democrats like Dill busy analyzing perceived resentments rather than offering empathy for economic circumstances over which the “fringey elements” have no control. I’d like to think a Democrat would know better. And care more.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.