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Is Shaver for real?

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To The Editor:

As I read, and laugh at, Keith Shaver’s many angry letters to the Advance-News, I keep wondering if those letters come form a real person or if they are a parody of some sort of buffoonish Archie Bunker character sprung from the loins of FOX News and Breitbart.com after a passionate copulation to the melody of “America, [bleep] yeah!” from Team America: World Police.

If a Hollywood screenwriter submitted Mr. Shaver’s letters as the voice of a gung-ho red state conservative in an upcoming heartland movie, he’d get laughed out of the studio for engaging in conservative minstrelsy and told to come back when we’d turned that caricature into a believable, three-dimensional person.

“Your Communist Affirmative Action laws, which made the white man a second-class citizen.” Sure in a bizarro world where white men get shot for playing loud rap music, pat-frisked by police for walking down the street, and sent to prison at far higher rates for drug possession.

“When you are at war with Muslim extremists, you don’t elect a Muslim-extremist sympathizer.” LOL. Is Obama a Muslim lover, or as Mr. Shaver has said many times, a Communist? The president, to Mr. Shaver, is also “lazy” and “shiftless,” racist code words that have been applied to black people for years. Which is not only offensive, but stupid because their ancestors were literally forced at the crack of a whip to work hard labor for free.

At the heart of every Shaver letter, behind the Commies and the Muslims and illegal aliens and lazy, shiftless black men, is the fear that Mr. Shaver’s idealized America (from 1790) of “real Americans” and “patriots” and good “angry white men” and “real Christians” is under assault. And he’s kind of right. It is. Two generations ago, working-class white men were in a place of economic comfort, seeing their wages and standard of living grow as the economy and productivity grew. For two reasons, this changed. First, thanks to politicians like Reagan that angry white men stupidly helped elect, unions were weakened and destroyed, big businesses were given too much power, and white workers saw their wages stagnate even as the economy and productivity continued to grow (until 2008, when the economy imploded, which is bound to happen when more of the profits keep going to the 1 percent, the increasingly poor workforce has less to spend and demand disappears). I genuinely feel bad for these workers. And, as an aside, I’ve never understood how giving the poor decent wages, a safety net, and health care ruins their work ethic, yet the only way to keep the rich producing is to give them tax cuts and subsidies and more and more or else they’ll Galt it up and take away the jobs.

The second reason for the white male malaise is that because of civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights, white men now have to compete with more than just their own pasty selves for jobs. If they do get hired, they no longer monopolize the workplace. They can’t use racist language around actual minority coworkers. They can’t jokingly call each other girly men and use other forms of homophobia now that their gay colleagues are free to leave the closet. Women are no loner just secretaries with butts to inappropriately squeeze as the groper calls them “Sweetie” or “Sugar.” I feel no sympathy for these angry working-class white men. They are welcome to join forces with minorities, women and the poor to fight the 1 percent, or they can keep bitterly scapegoating the less fortunate. Keith Shaver, if he’s real, and his ilk must learn to accept that progress will not get off their damn lawn.

Sean Pidgeon

Morristown

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