published in December 25, 2018 |
by Michael Barnard
December 25, 2018 per Michael Barnard
This week, Hickory, North Carolina, has become the latest critical point between the old and the new. A trio of local men doing pickup and SUVs decided to aggressively block access to the local Tesla Supercharger. They threatened the violence and had to be removed from the property by an employee of the store where the Supercharger was located. What would motivate this trio of men?
The world is changing. Some people are not prepared for changes due to a combination of genetics, unhappy choice of parents and place of birth (hint: yes, not their choice). And they are struggling to make sense of a world that does not value them the way it valued their parents.
And so, they act stupidly.
These boy-men are worthy of pity. Except those who radicalize and should be feared. And there are many of them these days.
Let's start with this question: they really country girls?
According to the Google Dictionary, the definition of a redneck is:
"A white working-class person, especially politically reactionary in a rural area."
Let's cut the image a bit and take a look.
This first truck is not a late model pickup. The other two are a bit newer, but do not read as a collection of trust fund children. Working class: check.
Let's cut some more.
Yes, these guys are white. Checks.
And what part of the rural area? Hickory is a city of 40,000 inhabitants with a density of 1,300 per square mile, just over the 1,000 per square mile required to call urban, but with 40,000, it is definitely a city. It is in an area of North Carolina dotted with smaller towns, so it is the great city of the region. That's rural enough. Checks.
And how reactionary? Well, Hickory is home to the racetrack considered the birthplace of NASCAR. And raised pickup trucks are certainly making a statement.
But their behavior the other night certainly makes them reactionary.
"(From a person or a set of points of view) as opposed to political or social liberalization or reform."
Yes, opposing change for the better is what that means. And those good old boys were definitely opposing the change for the better. Their pickups and SUVs were lifted and undoubtedly modified to have worse gas mileage, not better.
And intentionally blocking EV waves in a city that covers 29 square miles – that's pretty specific to react.
Well, while one of those good old boys might be an armed Democrat, I think it's pretty safe to say they're more likely to be right.
So we have extreme right-wing white men. Geez, what does that probably do to them?
Deniers of climate change.
"Strong evidence has emerged from a number of peer-reviewed and published studies that, if you scratch a white, male, and extreme right-wing nationalist, you will also find a denier of climate science."
Let the less enlightened on the right consider that electric cars are more a problem than a solution is not a surprise. Pew Research has done a good study on this for some time as part of its assessments of climate change attitudes.
Basically, conservatives are less likely to believe that the science of climate change to begin with – although, most US conservatives have come to accept their reality reluctantly, if not the severity of the threat. But they are also much less likely to accept any of the solutions to global warming as well.
They do not like fuel efficiency standards and do not like electric cars.
Well, the conservative mindset is fundamentally suspicious about change. They just do not like it too much and try to avoid more than the average person.
And these good old boys just take it to the next level of machismo-laden idiots with a personal protest against the inevitable, in which they clearly have no interest in participating.
But let's spread the context network a bit.
Interestingly, Hickory is a data center hub, home to both Google and Apple data centers, and produces 40 percent of the world's fiber optic cable. This supplanted the city's historic industry of making furniture. At one point, 60% of US furniture was made in and around Hickory. Now the money has changed.
This is a legacy sector supplanted by a modern economy industry that requires far fewer workers with very different skills and education, and the change has probably happened in the last 20 to 30 years.
These boys are probably the children of mothers and fathers who worked in furniture factories and grew up expecting to work in the factories themselves, able to buy their trucks, NASCAR races and the like. But now they can not. The jobs in the furniture factories have dried up. New jobs require education that they and their parents probably did not know.
And then Tesla rides a Supercharger in town, probably to cater well, people from the modern economy driving from Atlanta to Washington (based on placement). That has to burn too. There are no more gas stations for them and their friends.