Deer Hunting with Jesus. Dispatches from America’s Class War

Deer Hunting with Jesus

From a review by Gordon Coale

Deer Hunting with Jesus looks at the now and trembles for the future. I first ran across Joe Bageant on the internet. Aside from being a hell of a writer, a veritable silver tongued devil, what he was writing about struck a chord. Joe writes about the working class poor, the redneck class. He does it not as an outsider. These are his people. He grew up with them, escaped, went to college, and became a pinko atheist. Then he went back home to Winchester, Virginia. He has a liberal perspective but his heart is with these people. And they are getting screwed. If they only realized it.

The media would like us to think it’s Red State vs. Blue State. It’s a magic trick, folks. An illusion. It’s a false dichotomy. The class war, and don’t delude yourself that it isn’t a war, is not between liberal white collar workers and conservative blue collar workers. It’s not between those that drink Red Hook ESB and those that drink Bud Light. We are both in the same leaky boat that is sinking fast while the wealthy and powerful steam off in the luxury yacht having cast us adrift. The sooner we realize we are in the same boat the better off we will be.

The Left and liberals need to understand that a mobilized redneck class would be a huge and powerful political force and that many rednecks (Hello Steve Earle) already do tilt sharply leftward. Many more might do so, were the Left not at times dismissive, or worse, insulting to them. Or pontificating about gun control.

Like the title of the book says, it’s a class thing. Poor whites get shafted plenty hard too. Only to sometimes then be called “trash” by those who wouldn’t think of referring to a person of color that way.

In class war, one needs to join together with their class allies.

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  • DJ

    It may be that the elites have set these two against each other, but the conflict is much more about urban/rural than red/blue.

    Most people in the rural areas see leftists as city folk who don’t understand the ways of country life. For example, if y’all want to make headway in rural America, don’t push gun control as a national issue: it’s a deal killer, the main reason Utah won’t vote for Democrats.

    There are religious issues, too, but for most people around where I live, the first thing they say about a Dem is, “He (or she) is going to take away our guns.”

    Could a liberal or leftist who opposed gun control win in a red state like Utah? Yes. Richardson may have a chance of doing eactly that, not only in Utah but in most of the Western states. Leftists, take note.

  • The author of the book agrees with you completely about guns. So do I.

  • Linda Piera-Avila

    I was in Willits recently. It’s a small town in northern California whose population includes of a mix of “hippie” types and “rednecks.” They seem to co-exist quite well. I even saw one bumper sticker: “Reddies – redneck hippies – peace, love or fuck off!”

  • Yeah I think Democrats would be better served to avoid the gun control issue as much as possible because the entire south and people in rural areas are not going to like what they have to say.

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