An American Tale From Smalltown, U.S.A.

Around 1900 a young man from Poland with an unpronounceable name emigrated to the United States. As he passed through Ellis Island a semi-literate clerk shortened and anglicized his name to Joseph Donutski. We’ll just call him “Joe”.

Joe arrived with nothing but the clothes on his back and a few personal possessions in a cheap grip bag. America was a strange and wonderful place and he didn’t know any English, but with the help of some other Poles and with the directions in a letter from his cousin he found his way to Smalltown.

Smalltown is a community located somewhere in the region that begins in New York and traverses to the west through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, ending in northern Illinois and eastern Wisconsin. It used to be know as the industrial heartland of America.

Smalltown was just a dot on the map until Robert Barron decided to build a factory there in the later 19th Century. He chose Smalltown because land and labor was cheap, raw materials were locally available and there was a railroad line passing nearby. In addition to the railroad there was a highway and a navigable river.

Barron could have started most any kind of business. All through that region were coal mines, iron mines, steel mills, and factories. Barron decided to manufacture tools. His factory took in raw steel and turned out hammers and wrenches and screwdrivers, along with many other hand tools.

Joe’s cousin was hired when the factory first opened. He wrote home and urged Joe to join him there. He told Joe that in America the streets were paved with gold. He may have exaggerated a bit.

Work at the factory was hard and dirty, and the hours were long. But the pay was better than anything back in Poland, and Joe was able to get married and start a family. Soon after he arrived in America Joe had married a local Polish girl and she began producing kids, starting with Joe Jr.

Joe Jr. grew up in Smalltown. He went to school with kids whose parents were from Poland, Hungary and Italy, as well as some American kids. They all spoke English at school, but some of them spoke other languages at home. They went to different churches – there were two Catholic churches (one Polish and one Italian), one Eastern Orthodox and one Baptist. Their parents talked about “back home” but all these kids knew was America.

Joe Jr. was too young for World War I, but soon after the war ended he was working at the factory with his dad. Just as his dad had done he got married and started having kids. The Roaring Twenties were good times for Smalltown, but the Great Depression was hard on some people. The factory stayed open, but there were some layoffs.

Things began to pick up at the end of the Thirties, and the factory became unionized. Joe Sr. started talking about something called “retirement”. Several members of the family were working at the factory, and others were working at related businesses that serviced the factory, like trucking companies and suppliers.

Joe III didn’t go to work at the factory right out of high school because he enlisted in the Army and went to fight World War II. The war years were profitable for old Robert Barron because he shifted over to war production and got a fat government contract.

Wages went up due to the labor shortage and the factory even began hiring women. When the war ended the town prospered because American industry wasn’t devastated by the war.

Joe III was one of many returning veterans who came home and resumed their lives. They got married and began having kids. They went to work at the factory. (The factory no longer needed women of course.)

The times were really good. America was a prosperous nation. Every family had two cars and a television and a 3-bedroom house full of labor-saving appliances. The kids played baseball and football and went to movies and they listened to rock and roll music. They all ate pizza and hamburgers and fried chicken.

Joe IV was too young for Vietnam, but he grew up watching the turmoil of the Sixties on television. He graduated from high school a couple months before Nixon resigned. Old Joe Sr. died when Joe IV was little, Joe Jr. was retired, but Joe III was still working at the factory.

Joe IV managed to get a job at the factory when he was 20, but the whole region was beginning to dry up. A combination of automation, environmental regulations, increased competition and high labor costs began to take its toll.

Joe IV survived the first couple rounds of layoffs, but in 1990 the factory closed. Joe IV was lucky enough to get a job dismantling and shipping out all the saleable assets and fixtures. By 1992 the factory was a skeleton and the only people working there were the security guards who kept trespassers out.

When the factory closed so did all those businesses that depended directly on the factory, like the local trucking company. The loss of wages hurt the whole town, and soon the government became the largest employer. The second largest employer was the Walmart out by the interstate. The car dealership and the lumber yard closed.

Joe IV was unemployed for a while, then got hired working the night stocking crew at the Walmart. They lost their house and had to move in with his wife’s family. The community has been ravaged by meth and Oxy. On the upside they now have cable and internet.

The tools they used to make at the factory now get made in China.

Joe IV has heard for years that free trade is good for everybody, but it hasn’t been good for the people of Smalltown. He has also been told that many of his anxieties and concerns are racist. He keeps hearing how he needs to give others a bigger share of the pie.

He has watched the GOP and the Democrats take turns running the country, but things aren’t getting any better. In many ways they are getting worse. He is scared to even think about retirement. If Social Security goes broke he’ll have nothing.

Then one day Joe IV reads this crap:

It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t. The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

And the sneering coastal elites wonder why he is angry.


About Myiq2xu™

I lost everything in a Fonzie scheme.
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140 Responses to An American Tale From Smalltown, U.S.A.

  1. Myiq2xu says:

    I was gonna post this in the morning but if I didn’t post it now it would be twice as long. Like Topsy it just growed.

    • Anthony says:

      they do that… Trouble is that like making art, you’re never finished because the concept keeps evolving

  2. Jadzia says:

    Can you imagine the pitchforks and tumbrels that would roll out if he had said this kind of crap about any other identifiable socioeconomic group in America?

  3. nerdle says:

    That snippet of the article from David French reads like a SJW rant from Tumblr. There is so much hate in those paragraphs

    • votermom says:

      I think it’s by Kevin Williamson

      • leslie says:

        I hated it more the second time I read it. There are some well deserved, acerbic responses at the NRO site.
        I’ve withstood being called both the “N” word as well as “N lover” when I was much younger (high school and college) and I’ve withstood being called “racist” since 2008.
        (I guess there’s just no pleasing people.)
        However this is time the NRO has gone too far. They’ve shown the world just how corrupt and “bought and paid for” they are.

      • nerdle says:

        You’re right, my bad

  4. 1539days says:

    Think about this. Joe moved to America because Poland didn’t have a future like America. He didn’t stay in Poland hoping they would enact labor laws in 50 years with strong unions. What Kevin Williamson is writing is that people in the rust belt might want to consider getting the hell out of the northeast where Democrats have sway and go south where economies are better, jobs are easier to find and hard work and family values are common.

    Williamson’s tone is horrible. Then again, he’s a guy who threw a woman’s cell phone across a theater once ( I can’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment. If Donald Trump is promising a protectionist paradise, he’s either lying or he’s Bernie Sanders.

    • leslie says:

      Williamson’s tone is so elitist that I wouldn’t give anything he says any credibility. My guess – and it comes from someone whose family did pull up stakes a few times when I was a kid – is Williamson knows little about being much. And I don’t care where he went to school or what he majored in. He’s an entitled, arrogant, rude, narcissistic jerk.

  5. Somebody says:

    Anybody listening to Marco’s speech? He didn’t talk about a lot of this during his campaign, WTF? He sounds like he’s auditioning for Trump’s VP

    • DeniseVB says:

      Last I heard Rubio speak, it was about refunding pollster money because he was really winning Florida.

      Did Marco just suspend his campaign? Sorry late to the game …..

    • leslie says:

      That is exactly what I was thinking! Vice President Rubio. Hah!
      And in the end, when he suspended his campaign, I thought I wish hen ad spoken like this throughout the campaign.

      • Somebody says:

        OK Leslie, thanks for confirming what I was hearing. I thought maybe I shouldn’t have had that second margarita at dinner, LOL!

        It is no secret that I don’t like Rubio, it’s personal, he’s my senator. He gave a really good speech tonight though……..I still harbor resentment toward him, obviously so do most Floridians.

        • leslie says:

          It’s funny, I actually texted my dd that Rubio sounded like he was auditioning for VP when he dropped out.
          BTW, I wish I’d had that margarita. It was my day with Calamity, my son’s 40th birthday, and my youngest daughter’s first day in an apartment that isn’t supervised housing. between my 2 girls, I’ve had over 40 texts in less than an hour. I just told everyone that unless their place is on fire, to let me have the rest of the night to recuperate from today. I’m having some wine and going to bed soon after. *sigh*

  6. Ann says:

    I could tell another Polish tale… how all my great grandparents came over on the boat in the late 1890s-1900s from Poland (well, one great grandfather actually had an Austrian birth certificate due to changing borders). They all ended up in the coal mines in Ohio – at least for a time.

    My paternal grandparent’s families are the story I am most familiar with (my grandmother’s parents died after I was born… my great grandmother when I was 25!)

    Ever hear that song “15 tons”? My grandfather told me the story of how they (relatives) got to together to kidnap a cousin who had wandered over to the Kentucky coal mines because he “heard there was more work”. Why kidnap him? Well, he owed the company store a ton of $$. My family was a family of coal miners at least on my father’s side (my great grandfather got one of the black lung awards so they did ok in retirement… no he did not die of black lung).

    As time went on, some of the family moved out of Ohio, and some still live there. Some of those people were Republican. Some Democrats. Some union, some non-union (you should have heard my pro-union father and anti-union uncle go at it). Some were worker bees, some business owners, some CEOs of some pretty big companies (the kind that if I stated the company name, you all would know them).

    So what’s my point? I’m not sure I have one except to say that not all the blue collar workers in the rust belt areas stayed blue collar, became worse off then their parents, or didn’t prosper (even today). The crowd of people in this country pissed at TPTB are larger than a subset of people who aren’t doing as well as their forefathers due to the closing of a plant. Some, went on to bigger and better things and are still pissed at the powers that be due to mismanagement, and outright theft. They’d like their country back. Or at least the opportunity to get their country back. Because right now, a lot of people – rich or poor, black or white, highly educated or not – just don’t see a happy ending for their family and this country. And they would like one.

    • Anthony says:

      Preach! I have about 30 clients in Poland who ask “What the hell is going on around there?” Many of them have relatives who live here, and they say “This is what our parents/grandparents moved here to get away from.”

    • Anthony says:

      Good to hear. Now they’ll prop Kasich up like some kind of demi god and pin their hopes on him

  7. westcoaster says:

    Rubio suspends his campaign!

    • Somebody says:

      He lashed out at the establishment during his speech. Setting himself up as an outsider for a Governor run? Hit lots of evangelical points too, peppered in with his usual stuff

  8. Myiq2xu says:

    And Marco is out.

  9. votermom says:

    Looks like Kasicko might win Ohio.
    Woohoo, all aboard the Kasicko mail truck!

    Kasicko / Jeb! The dream lives!!!!

    • elliesmom says:

      Trump should probably ask for a hand count in Ohio. 😉

    • Somebody says:

      I understand Kasich is popular in Ohio, but he would have to win 112% of the remaining delegates for the nomination. Why vote for someone with no chance? If you’re anti Trump then just vote for Cruz.

    • DandyTIger says:

      I think Kasich will win it by around 10 points. So though there was tons of cheating to be sure, not close enough for any counts. But Trump doesn’t need OH. Of course you won’t hear that from MSM.

      • Somebody says:

        The MSM is saying without Ohio it will be a contested convention. Trump will need well over 50% of the remaining delegates. They don’t mention the winner take all states coming up. Apparently the strategy going forward is to pick off congressional districts some for Kasich and some for Cruz to keep Trump from tipping the proportional states into winner take all or most.

        • lyn says:

          • Somebody says:

            Well seeing as how he’s from Ohio where precincts routinely vote over 100% AND he’s a common core supporter, he probably believes those states will yield him 112% of the remaining delegates, smh!

      • Anthony says:

        I agree, but I’m not so generous. I think Kasich takes it with high single digits, which the GOPe will use to promote him as the winner of the whole kit and caboodle (and Trump killer lol.)

        Trump leading in Missouri, which I think he’ll keep. Slaying in Illinois (for now), which surprises me, and I think North Carolina is going to give Trump a slim lead.

        Kasich giving his “aw shucks” BS right now, and stomach is tuning…

        Just my 2 cents, but who knows?

    • blowme0bama says:

      @#$% Wanted T to wrap it up clean.

  10. Myiq2xu says:

    I tried watching the returns but all the channels are unwatchable. Tweeter is a cesspool too.

    • Somebody says:

      Yea, my husband got all this stuff on his twitter feed from anonymous. He’s never watched any of their stuff, but he is a computer geek and so follows a lot of computer stuff.

      There is a dueling anonymous thing going on, Anonymous claims the Anonymous saying they are going after Trump are a fake Anonymous group funded by Soros and other billionaires, so now it’s on like donkey kong.

      The supposed real anonymous just released a video where they say they will soon reveal secrets about Ted Cruz to the world. Something about candy wrappers and prostitutes and having an ulterior motive involving his wife???

      They all wear those stupid masks so who knows??? Maybe they’re split in this election too, LMAO!

    • DeniseVB says:

      I gave up…sigh…doing TBBT binge on TBS now.

  11. DandyTIger says:

    OH called for Kasich. With 19% in, just as Trump was closing the gap. Tin Foil time.

    • Somebody says:

      My husband said he saw some exit polls that showed Trump winning Ohio??? I don’t know??? I don’t know enough about Ohio.

    • Anthony says:

      It would be so cool if they had to re-call it when about 60% comes in, but the MSM will play with the margin of error and try to sell some obtuse bullshit

    • Mt.Laurel says:

      The cats were playing with the remote and some news station came on right after I got home from work around 9:30 pm EST and the talking heads were saying that Ohio was a very close race. Guess not everyone saw it that way.

  12. Myiq2xu says:

    Good night for Hillary, but once she claims the nom what is she gonna do to stay in the news?

  13. WMCB says:

    Twitter is full of Rubio fanboys crying “YOU PEOPLE DON’T DESERVE HIM! *sob*”

  14. Myiq2xu says:

    I have my tv muted until she stops yapping.

  15. Myiq2xu says:

  16. Myiq2xu says:

    They need the band to start playing “wrap it up” music to get Kasich offstage.

  17. Anthony says:

    Trump just won North Carolina. Just sayin’…

  18. WMCB says:

    Calling Illinois for Trump now as well.

    • Anthony says:

      Wow – we just missed each other on this one lol.

      “And there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…”

  19. Anthony says:

    And Trump wins Illinois! OMG, the pundits are going to shit themselves. This is EPIC! LOL!!! A giant middle finger to everyone

    • leslie says:

      Watching FBN and one of the commentators is really losing it. Cavuto, Dobbs, and the 2 women are arguing that Trump has it all but wrapped up. PANDEMONIUM !

  20. DeniseVB says:

    Trump kicks ass tonight, and he’s the biggest loser? Have to sign off. Have a great night kids ❤

  21. CNN just called Illinois for Trump.

  22. 90% of the likes on this Tweet are Bernouts. I’m DYING!

  23. WMCB says:

    LMAO! Oh, Kasich.

  24. leslie says:

    I’m done for tonight. I loved the table tennis player thing. See you tomorrow.

  25. WMCB says:


    How many “I TOLD YOU SO’s” does it take before people wake up and smell the coffee?

  26. Myiq2xu says:

    I switched to Jeopardy.

    • Myiq2xu says:

      A guy just bet $19,000.00 on a Daily Double. He gave the answer “What is Vancouver?” just before the buzzer. He was correct.

  27. WMCB says:

    LOLOLOLOLOL!!! Brass balls, people. Trump is the honey badger and he don’t give a fuck.

    • DandyTIger says:

      Love it. Best election ever.

    • Jadzia says:

      I still think Trump is a blowhard, but I think just a little bit better of him knowing that he is standing by his team. Any other candidate, and that campaign manager would have been a sacrificial lamb.

  28. DandyTIger says:

    Cruz came out and said it’s now a two man race. Which is true. Someone should tell Kasich.

  29. Venus says:

  30. Myiq2xu says:

  31. taw46 says:

    Just got home. Amazing night for Trump.

  32. DandyTIger says:

    So what states are next? Some Sat. and some Tue.?, or just Tue.?

  33. Dora says:

    Congratulations DJT!

  34. lyn says:

  35. Best. Election. Ever.

  36. Venus says:

  37. lyn says:

    Regardless of what happens next, Trump has made it farther than virtually all original projections. With the benefit of hindsight, Trump’s attackers might have accurately stated: “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”

  38. WMCB says:

  39. WMCB says:

    Word is that Trump pulling ahead in MO, and all of Cruz’ best counties are already in.

  40. Venus says:

    Cruz did not compete in FL or OH — only in NC, IL and MO
    Kasich ONLY competed in OH
    Rubio ONLY competed in FL

    Trump is the ONLY one who competed in ALL 5 states.

  41. Venus says:

    True confession: I find Charles Hurt’s light bulb shaped head oddly fascinating.

  42. Venus says:

    Chuck Todd analysis that Trump would win 47 of the 52 MO delegates if the current hold. And he says Trump should win over 50 of the 69 IL delegates.

    More than makes up for 66 in Ohio.

  43. DandyTIger says:

    Fun to play with the numbers. Any way you cut it, I think Trump gets the magic number around mid May.

  44. DandyTIger says:

    Holy crap, Rubio and general establishment types are still crying.

  45. Myiq2xu says:

    100% reported in Missouri and they still aren’t calling it for Trump.

  46. Myiq2xu says:

  47. WMCB says:

    Well, Decision Desk has made a tentative call on MO for Trump:

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