Monday was Labor Day. That has always been a big deal for Democrats. And it should be. The modern Democrat Party was built on the backs of working men and women. America’s great private sector unions dominated the offices of the party. Labor Day was not only a celebration of the contributions of working men and women, it was a touchstone for every Democrat seeking public office and marked the beginning of the final push towards the general elections in November.
There were huge gatherings where fiery speeches by local and national labor leaders served as a warm up for the politicians – particularly during the presidential election years. Generations of blue-collar workers were reminded of the progress made by the unions allied with the Democrats. So much so that when a baby boy was born into a union family, he was stamped UNION MADE, he was taught to speak out of the side of his mouth and told to vote Democrat until he died. The same is true for baby girls but they got to skip the speech impediments tied to speaking out of the side of their mouths. Dems, dese and dose substituted for the English adjectives “them”, “these” and “those.” And even though they would never vote Republican, there was little evidence of the vitriol that possesses the liberal/progressive/socialist wing of the Democrat Party today. They were fond of noting: “We eat their food, drink their booze, sleep with their women and vote against them in the morning” followed by uproarious laughter. Mostly they were celebrating their climb out of poverty and into America’s great middle class – happy, energetic and convivial.
But along the way, the Democrat Party became elitist. They forgot about the working men and women and catered only to the union officials. They confused academic sophistry with practical intelligence and the leftward drift toward liberal/progressive/socialist jargon left the rank and file members behind. (For those of you who have had to suffer through a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools, “sophistry” refers to deceptive arguments and reasoning.) Those running the party began to embrace every social grievance that came down the line. They would all parrot the current talking points and seldom actually deal with the grievance. And as they embraced these grievance groups, the grievances subsumed to the election of Democrats. So for instance, the advancement of women applied only to the advancement of Democrat women. The objection to discrimination against gays and lesbians applied only to Democrat gays and lesbians. Likewise, African-Americans, and Hispanics. In every instance, the rank and file were abandoned while the Democrat catered to each groups leadership and embraced their slogans. Fifty years of a War on Poverty left the same percentage of the nation impoverished. Fifty years crusading against racial discrimination, including electing the first African American president, left race relations no better and economic well being worse. And while black lives matter, apparently the newest grievance group applies only to the black lives lost to police malfeasance. But in each instance the grievances have given rise to advocacy group leaders who have gotten rich (Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, etc.), bureaucracies populated by the only important labor unions today – the public employee unions – and academicians funded by government grants so long as they parrot the party line.
The essence here is that the party of working men and women is too busy with politics to actually pay attention to the needs of working men and women. The leadership of the party of working men and women is dominated by wealthy political dilettantes, academicians insulated against reality and sleazeballs who believe that political office is an easy path to riches without consequences – and so far they seem to have been proven right.
The working men and women of America have three basic requirements that need constant attention: good jobs, secure environments (international and domestic) and quality education for their children. But for today’s Democrat Party, welfare expansion trumps job growth, appeasement internationally and domestically substitutes for secure environments, and teachers unions substitute for quality education.
So where do the working men and women of America honored by Labor Day but forgotten by the Democrat Party turn? Well, probably not the historical Republican Party dominated by major corporations and country club patricians. In the first instance, the major high tech companies now donated almost exclusively to Democrats and the other large corporations strategically balance their support. And the country club Republicans have lost any sway with the Republican Party since the election of President Donald Trump and you can find them endorsing Democrat nominee Joe Biden.
There appears to be a movement among new Republican office holders to recognize the importance of the working men and women who are responsible for the vast middle class and the economic engine that drives our growth. It is in fact the Middle America to which politicians refer but seldom embrace. It is the people who are more than willing to pay their fair share to provide healthcare to those less fortunate but not at the expense of the healthcare coverage for which they bargained at the sacrifice of higher wages. It is the people that are more than willing to pay their fair share to provide for retirement income for those less fortunate but not at the sacrifice of the retirement programs for which they bargained at the sacrifice of higher wages. It is the people willing to pay their fair share for a better education system but not at the expense of a choice for their own children. In short, it is the people who understand that you cannot build up one group by stripping away the success of another group.
And if the Republicans falter, then working men and women face a very difficult but not impossible task. Abandon the Democrat Party which has already abandoned them and create a new political movement composed of private sector unions, mainstreet business men and women, and legal immigrants still in pursuit of the American dream. In doing so, they will recreate the “third way”, the middle ground between the liberals/progressives/socialists on the left and the hate mongers on the right (who lately have been mirrored by the hate mongers on the left).
What we have today isn’t working. The political class is universally despised. It is virtually impossible for them to tell the truth about anything. In most instances the truth is found in what the politicians choose to ignore. It has less to do with political persuasions and more to do with the distraction of the American voters who are busy trying to make a life while the political class is busy soiling the foundations which allow the voters to make a life.
So, in the aftermath of this year’s Labor Day, one should take stock of the well being of the working men and women for whom the day was made. When you are looking for solutions, look to the middle and ignore the fringes. Right now we are doing precisely the opposite.