Reflecting on the Angry White Man phenomenon |

Reflecting on the Angry White Man phenomenon

Gary Hubbell

I imagine that Aspen residents are more than weary of hearing about my “Angry White Man” column that was published in the Feb. 10 Aspen Times Weekly. Aspen is pretty insular, most Aspenites don’t have a real strong political agenda, and the town leans more liberal than conservative. It’s all good, people, I hear you, and bear with me.

I’ve been writing columns for the paper since 1995 or 1996 ” I forget which ” and my regular readers know my slant: opinionated (hey, it’s an opinion column), irreverent, environmentally conscious, but leaning toward a traditional way of life. I wear work boots, not Birkenstocks, and I eat elk steak that I packed out of the mountains on my packhorses, not tofu. I tell it like I see it.

My regular readers know that I’m outraged about illegal immigration; I hate political correctness; I’m not afraid to get dirty; I’m a defender of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; I am not a fan of George Bush or his administration; and I wish we would have spent $500 billion on developing alternative energy sources rather than getting good men and women killed and maimed in Iraq.

My last column described how the candidates in the presidential race are anxiously courting all types of demographics, ranging from gays and lesbians to evangelical Christians, but no one was paying attention to a very powerful and very much ignored group of Americans: the “Angry White Man” voter bloc.

I think I was able to articulate what millions of Americans have been feeling and thinking, and the column just took on a life of its own. It was an amazing lesson in the power of the Internet. Within a few days of its publication, it was zinging around the country in forwarded e-mails, and supporters forwarded it to talk-radio shows. In mid-February, radio hosts Neal Boortz and Sean Hannity covered it, and then the dam broke. The big dog, Rush Limbaugh, read the column in its entirety on his program with 20 million listeners, and within a few minutes the column was the fifth most popular search on Google.

If response is any indication, I have received thousands of e-mails in support of what I wrote, and of course I have had some detractors. The website has recorded well over a million visits in response to the column, and people from all over the country are writing me.

“You described me to a ‘T’. I am the man you described,” wrote one reader.

“That is my life. Have you been following me around?” another wrote.

“I cannot convey the sense of relief and satisfaction after realizing that I’m not alone,” wrote a man from Missouri.

E-mails and phone calls came from all parts of the country and all over the world ” Alaska, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Alabama, Canada, Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Maine, eastern Colorado ” everywhere that men and women put in a hard day’s work and do their best to be good citizens and provide for their families.

A significant number were astonished that The Aspen Times was so bold to publish my column in the first place. They thought that the media was so rigged with political correctness filters that words like mine had no possibility of being published. The newspaper and editor Bob Ward were both highly praised and roundly vilified.

Many readers were a little upset not to be included in the “Angry White Man” moniker. “I’m a Filipino-American, and I feel exactly the same way,” wrote one reader. Literally hundreds of “Angry White Women” told me that my words gave voice to their thoughts. I heard from Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, gays ” heck, any group you would care to describe wrote to me and said that I had described their opinions, feelings and identity.

One of the most touching communiques came from a woman who had emigrated to America at age 5 from Vietnam as that country was falling to the Communists. She and her sister are both physicians in Texas. “I’ve become quite a redneck,” she wrote. “Please keep voicing the thoughts of the rest of us.”

OK, I learned my lesson. It’s not about skin color. It’s about feeling like an American. People think this country is deteriorating right before our very eyes, and we need to snap out of it and take control while we still can.

Then, of course, there were the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton supporters who blogged about me. Last time I checked, there were 34,700 Google results for my column. On the first 90 results, almost all the bloggers had posted my column in its entirety, without permission ” a clear violation of my copyright. Then quite a few of them proceeded to savage me personally. That was an interesting lesson in civics. Look, all I did was describe what a long-silent group of people has been thinking and believing and how they live their lives. I was invited to do all kinds of unnatural things that wouldn’t feel good at all.

If you really want to know about the language of hate, write something that liberals can’t stand. I was called: knuckledragger, Neanderthal, racist, fascist, sexist, moron, caveman, trailer trash redneck, wife-beater, high-school dropout, pill-popper, stupid, misogynistic douchebag, cretin, fearful, poopy pants Momma’s boy and a lot more unprintable garbage.

The attacks from liberals were scatological, personal, vicious and hateful, and they saw very good reasons to deny me basically all my constitutional rights. Disturbingly, some of the most vicious comments came from the favorite sounding board of a bunch of low-level policy wonks in Washington, D.C. It’s frightful to know that people who are so disconnected to the heartland have anything to do with how our country is run, even if they’re just flunkies in a cubicle somewhere. Their comments painted a caricature of the “Angry White Man” as trailer-dwelling, ignorant, bigoted rednecks.

No, I’ll tell you who is the “Angry White Man” ” better yet, let’s make it the “Angry American.” I heard from corporate executives, salesmen, Secret Service agents, fighter pilots, real estate agents, farmers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, schoolteachers, airline pilots, housewives, bank officers, soldiers, civil engineers, petroleum engineers, business analysts, cabinetmakers, college students, ranchers, photographers, produce distributors, software engineers, social workers, and a whole bunch of well-educated, hardworking, America-loving patriots.

As one man wrote me, “As one of the Angry White Men, I have a job and better get back to it. Keep up the good work.”


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