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J.D. Vance Fan Club Letters

Here’s an example of the kind of letter I get every day since publishing my interview with J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, which has shot up the sales charts since the interview appeared. J.D.’s good fortune has also been TAC’s. This site has never seen anything remotely like the popularity of this piece, which has gone 91-sDrS3xGL._SX150_viral, and will soon cross a million page views.

J.D. Vance has struck a deep nerve in America. With this suddenly (and deservedly) red-hot memoir, he has emerged as one of the most important new voices in American politics and culture. This letter from a reader explains why:

I found the above-referenced article on a progressive “blue” Facebook site. I work as a public defender and my political leanings are to the left of the Democratic Party. I also supported Bernie Sanders.

Words cannot express how much I appreciate your interview. This is the kind of political discourse we need — honest, grounded, non-judgmental, and compassionate. This is the kind of dialog “liberals” need to hear. I’m tired of all the tippy-toeing around, and I’m tired of the liberal tendency to think that change can be imposed from the outside.

In my line of work, I bounce back and forth from one pole to the other – one moment I am cursing intractable institutional problems, and the next, I rail against the seemingly incomprehensible choices made by my clients. But, even with my strong middle-class upbringing, I can see how we “elites” are a mess too, so it’s really hard to blame people for making choices I have never had to make.

Mr. Vance, by being “neither fish nor fowl,” might be just the person to help us come to some real consensus regarding what can, or should, be done (or not done) — in a way that simply creates the opportunity for alternative choices and respects and preserves cultural differences and preferences. I ordered the book, and I have shared the interview. Thank you again.

J.D. Vance is in his early 30s. What I want to know is, When is he going to run for office so I can vote for him. If he moves to Louisiana, I can probably vote for him three times, and get all my dead relatives to vote for him too. But seriously, it would be a great thing if people whose life trajectories have been like J.D.’s would run for office and try to change things by challenge the shibboleths of both the Democrats and the Republicans.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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