A young Ohio author who has quickly gained national notoriety for being a writer and spokesman for Appalachian America will be the keynote speaker at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner of the Jackson County Republican Party. The event is set for Friday evening, April 20 at the Family Life Center of the Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson.
J.D. Vance is the author of the national bestselling book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. It's described as "a memoir about the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the social problems of his hometown." Vance, 33, was raised in Middletown in Southwestern Ohio, but his ancestors were from Breathitt County, Kentucky.
Hillbilly Elegy quickly reached the top of The New York Times Best Seller list in August 2016 and January 2017. According to Wikipedia, journalists wrote that the book was of specific importance during the 2016 United States presidential election, as Vance compassionately describes the white underclass that fueled the Republican campaign of Donald Trump and a resurgence of outsider politics. Vance was able to overcome poverty and family-related problems and challenges to attend Ohio State University and the Yale University Law School.
The Wikipedia article states that "Vance raises questions such as the responsibility of his family and people for their own misfortune. Vance blames hillbilly culture and its supposed encouragement of social rot. Comparatively, he feels that economic insecurity plays a much lesser role." He makes his points through his own observations and experiences in Appalachia.
Vance wrote the following passages in Hillbilly Elegy: "Whenever people ask me what I most would like to change about the white working class, I say, 'The feeling that our choices don't matter.'.... "Psychologists call it 'learned helplessness' when a person believes, as I did during my youth, that the choices I made had no effect on the outcomes in my life.".... "People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than 20 hours a week and find not a single person aware of his own laziness."
The social time for the Lincoln Day Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the dinner following at 7 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased at The Office Commons at 135 Huron St. in Jackson or at Crossroads Florist, located at 6726 State Route 327, Wellston. Organizers are expecting a big turnout and urge those interested in attending to buy tickets in advance.