Before OJ Simpson trial fads, music, books, news and even basic culture moved at the speed of years. Something simple as popular music traveled from the coasts towards the rest of the continental United States took a few years.
I grew up on the east coast with New York and Philadelphia access by public transportation. It was not unusual for a night-out included a Broadway musical or a going to a Phillies home game.
The lesson of flow of culture and information was realized in my teens. I remember visiting my relatives, Elkins, West Virginia, in the early 1980’s, watching my cousins showing us their routine to the new sensation “Funkytown”.
My siblings and I were confused as to why they were stuck in the past.
My aunt’s make-up included turquoise blue “garage door” eye shadow. Why did they feel that my sister’s black boyfriend (and future husband) was a big no-no? Why did they feel that female athletes are just hobbyists? Why did they see Liberal College as something satanic?
What was going on?
The United States did not culturally or socially advance at the same rate.
From my own experience it seemed like five year gap between New York City for the rest of the United States.
Then something unexpected happened to change the United States forever, the OJ Simpson trial.
Before the trial there it was all regional. Regional television, radio, fashion and culture. Elkins West Virginia’s access to PBS was shows from West Virginia. Broadcast news was local news. Their television had local programming. It looked like them, talked like them and spoke like them.
The OJ Simpson trial brought the 24-hour news cycle. Before that the most popular news program was the 6:00 pm news team.
January 24, 1995 the day the local news celebrities died and slammed the five year gap shut.
Imagine waking up January 25, 1995 as if being in a coma losing five years. There was no gradual cultural, social, or political assimilation … it forced all Americans to sync.
I embraced the melting pot of the United States. I applaud diversity. I see education as the key to independence. I didn’t see motherhood as the only skills a woman has to offer society. I have worked for women bosses. My co-workers and peers were the full gambit of ethnicity, cultural background, genders, sexual identities, gender identity and social status. I didn’t share the same values of marriage, divorce, or cohabitation of my relatives.
For most of my life, my Elkins West Virginia relatives, did not understand or share my life. Because it was “urban” and I was called a “city girl”.
My relatives in Elkins West Virginia lost five years of their growth and development. They were forced to be like me. OJ Simpson trial forced my life on them.
I can’t imagine my relatives watching the October 14, 1999 episode of Chicago Hope when Mark Harmon cursed when he uttered the classic phrase “Shit happens”; Friends “The One With the Lesbian Wedding”, Ellen’s “Puppy Episode”; 227, Murphy Brown, Cosby Show and similar shows dominating prime time television.
While I celebrated television’s diversity, strong women and LGBT characters the relatives felt the complete opposite; my relatives did not share in my enthusiasm.
Jump ahead to the election of 2016. The choice was between a man who wants to restart America with the words, “Make America Great Again” or an urban woman.
All my relatives voted for Trump … because they want those five years back! They are sick and tired being force fed the radial changes that have been flooding their television and economy challenging to their world and pocketbook. They wanted the America they remembered. The instant urban dominance was too much.
Their neighbors haven’t changed and I write with confidence none of my relatives have never travel outside the United States, have friends from the Middle East, South America or had sushi. They are the exact same people there were on January 24, 1995 minus the turquoise blue eye shadow.
So how does the Democrats win future elections?
Go there! Dare to have town halls. Find out what is important to them, listen, take notes and keep track of everything.
Think Tank! Look at the data collected. Evaluate, find patterns and connect those who have been celebrated for urban development for ideas.
Solutions! Return to those same town halls and talk honestly. If there isn’t a solution – then say “We have no solution” and ask them if they have ideas.
Make them part of the Democrat Party in process, create the Democratic Party through the people, for the people and by the people.