After the election, former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe responded to a concerned liberal who wrote to let him know that she wrote his name in on her ballot, and asked him to explain what happened on Tuesday.
The Daily Dot’s Gillian Branstetter read Rowe’s response, subsequently wrote an article, titled “Against Mike Rowe’s Folksy Facebook Rants,” in which he basically called Rowe a racist and accused him of using “bootstrap mythology” to exploit his fans.
As is his habit, Rowe couldn’t not respond. He took to Facebook to say, in part:
“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.
‘Economic frustration’ and ‘demographic resentment’ are not mutually exclusive. I understand that racism, sexism, or all the other isms 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.’”
In the article, Branstetter suggested that blue-collar workers’ support for Trump was primarily about “the wall,” and that they “blame both legal and illegal immigration for job loss and more closely associate illegal immigrants with illicit and violent behavior.”
Rowe said no.
“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?”
Branstetter concluded her article with a a “doozy,” as Rowe says.
“Americans deserve to be anxious about the fate of blue-collar work, but to ignore the way Trump has used racism as the cure is a disservice to the kind of workers Rowe promotes.”
Rowe seemed almost amused before flipping GIllian’s logic on its head.
“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’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.
Rowe posted Branstetter’s article on Facebook, interspersed with his responses.