The editor at large of Salon and MSNBC commentator pens an enlightening personal journey through the prevailing "us" vs. "them" narrative of US politics. Walsh confronts the vexing divisions that occur when working-class whites are egged on by the GOP to resent what they consider government handouts to minorities advocated for by social liberals.
Joel Whitney, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle
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August 27, 2012 | Downtown New York may be the site of Occupy Wall Street and the 9/11 memorial. But Salon.com writer and MSNBC commentator Joan Walsh wants you to remember another New York event as a prism of American politics.
By the time the 1970 Hard Hat Riot erupted, Walsh recounts in her new book, "What's the Matter With White People?" GOP tricks had already unglued white middle- and working-class voters from the Democratic Party. Walsh's father, "an unlikely corporate peacenik," left work to attend a rally at Federal Hall to show solidarity with Kent State protesters killed days before by National Guardsmen. There he saw his own brother among construction workers who made up a counterprotest, some of whom shouted slogans like "love it or leave it" and used their hard hats to bludgeon protesters.