What Time’s “American Journey” Missed

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Photo/Tim MurphyPhoto/Tim MurphyUnbeknown to me, while I was finishing up my own 43-state road trip, Joe Klein was doing more or less the same thing for Time. Klein hit 12 states and nearly 7,000 miles over nearly a month, which he wrote up for the magazine’s cover story last week. There’s plenty of good color in there, but his takeaway seems woefully deaf:

I found the same themes dominant everywhere — a rethinking of basic assumptions, a moment of national introspection. There was a unanimous sense that Washington was broken beyond repair.

Klein’s big revelation is—I hope you’re sitting down—that to people in “the middle of the country,” the main concern “our politicians aren’t talking about in an angry and anxious election season” is jobs. Who knew?

Get Religion‘s Terry Mattingly calls BS:

So here’s the news: The angst and the rampant anger that is making America such a dangerous place right now are completely rooted in secular, faith-free issues. There are no cultural, moral or religious issues at play at the moment. And there will be no wave of post-election data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life that demonstrates, once again, that frequent visits to pews or sanctuaries have anything to do with how Americans make their decisions when they pull levers in voting booths.

Word. Mattingly cites the number-one issue facing Kentucky right now, which is Rand Paul’s purported affection for a false idol called Aqua Buddha. But that’s nothing: Just consider that Glenn Beck, the single most influential member of the single most influential movement in politics right now, has all but turned himself into a multi-platform televangelist, preaching a creed of immaculate American conception.

Really, it’s a sampling error. Klein skips the South entirely (a difficult feat) and most of the Bible Belt. Instead, his trip to “the middle of the country” bounces around a whole bunch of the usual hot-spots: Central Pennsylvania, industrial Ohio, southeastern Michigan, Iowa, etc. Those aren’t the parts of the heartland pundits never talk about; they’re the only parts of the heartland pundits ever talk about.

Ultimately, economies swing elections. But I’m pretty sure, from one road-tripper to another, Americans are anxious and angry about a lot more than that.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate