A former PPG pipe fitter who was ordered to illegally dump toxic waste into the bayou, got sick from the exposure he suffered while doing so, and was ordered to go on medical leave and then summarily fired for not showing up to work. Seven years later, he exposed the source of the pollution, became an environmental activist, and helped Condea Vista workers sue their irresponsible employer—but now, he is resolutely anti-government and active in the Tea Party. He is ambivalent toward PPG—he hates its management but still proudly owns stock in the company and credits it for giving him a livelihood—but truly hates the government, which he thinks is cheating him out of well-deserved social security money. Yet, before moving to Louisiana, he used to be a Democrat—Hochschild sees his exposure of PPG and turn against the government as attempts at revenge on institutions that have wronged him. By the end of the book, he is a fanatic Donald Trump supporter.
Lee Sherman Quotes in Strangers in Their Own Land
The Strangers in Their Own Land quotes below are all either spoken by Lee Sherman or refer to Lee Sherman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the The New Press edition of Strangers in Their Own Land published in 2016.).
Lee Sherman Character Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land
The timeline below shows where the character Lee Sherman appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 – “One Thing Good”
Hochschild sees three main reasons Tea Party voters reject government intervention: religion, taxes, and honor. Lee’s main complaint is taxes—he thinks that his tax dollars fund welfare programs that reward laziness,... (full context)
Chapter 3 – The Rememberers
Chapter 4 – The Candidates
...workers” who remember when Louisiana used to consistently vote for Democrats before 1970. They echo Lee Sherman’s concern that the government is “giving away” their tax dollars to a class of... (full context)
Chapter 6 – Industry: “The Buckle in America’s Energy Belt”
Chapter 8 – The Pulpit and the Press: “The Topic Doesn’t Come Up”
Chapter 9 – The Deep Story
...strongly affirm her picture of their predicament. Mike Schaff says, “I live your analogy,” and Lee Sherman tells Hochschild that she has “read my mind.” Some add to the picture: minorities... (full context)
...But the people Hochschild met believe they are siding with big businesses against the government—even Lee Sherman still holds stock in PPG. Finally, Hochschild wonders what kind of “deep story self”... (full context)
Chapter 14 – The Fires of History: The 1860s and the 1960s
...Hochschild’s friends in Louisiana worried about Syrian refugees coming to the United States after 2015. Lee Sherman suggested incarcerating them in Guantánamo Bay, Mike Schaff thinks they should have stayed and... (full context)
Chapter 16 – “They Say There Are Beautiful Trees”
Afterword to the Paperback Edition
...“a basket of deplorables” during the campaign.) Janice is “the staunchest of Trump fans,” alongside Lee Sherman, and she applauds his antagonism toward “line cutters.” She jokes that the Mexico border... (full context)