Posts Tagged ‘Working Men’

Can Democrats win back white working men?

December 12, 2014

From Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic Party was the party of white working men, with all the good and bad things that phrase implies.

Now a majority of white Americans vote Republican and the Republicans are especially strong among blue-collar white working men with high school educations—people who in FDR’s time would have been the backbone of the Democratic Party.

which-side-are-you-onI think there is a very obvious way that the Democrats (or, for that matter, the Republicans) could win the votes of the majority of white working people, and it is the same way they could win the votes of the majority of black, brown, yellow and red working people.

It is to put the United States on the path to a full employment, high wage economy.   I admit I do not have a blueprint on how to accomplish this, but there are a number of obvious things that would be both popular and beneficial to the vast majority.

Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans favor (1) a higher minimum wage, (2) prosecution of financial fraud, (3) breakup of “too big to fail” banks and (4) higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires and lower taxes on middle class and working people.

Polls also show a majority of Americans are opposed to (1) NATA-style trade pacts and (2) chipping away at Social Security and Medicare.   In all these cases, the American people are wiser than the decision-makers in Washington.

I think the AFL-CIO has some good ideas.  But I don’t think the problem is lack of good ideas, or even the inability to convince the public of good ideas.

The problem is that certain financial institutions and corporations are so entrenched in the federal government, in lobbying and in the political parties’ nominating process that they have the power to block good ideas.

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Hillary Clinton Presidency Could Have the Same Problems as Obama’s by Norm Scheiber for The New Republic.

Can We Talk?  Here’s Why the White Working Class Hates Democrats by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.

Have Democrats Failed the White Working Class? by Thomas Edsall for the New York Times.

Our real white male problem: Why Fox News beats Bruce Springsteen and liberal moralizing every time by Jim Sleeper for Salon.

In honor of working men

December 19, 2013

Camille Paglia in a recent article took feminists to task for failing to appreciate the work of men.

Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North DakotaIt is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments.   It is men who heft and weld the giant steel beams that frame our office buildings, and it is men who do the hair-raising work of insetting and sealing the finely tempered plate-glass windows of skyscrapers 50 stories tall.

Every day along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, one can watch the passage of vast oil tankers and towering cargo ships arriving from all over the world.  These stately colossi are loaded, steered and off-loaded by men.

via TIME.com.

Rod Dreher, who writes for the American Conservative magazine, responded:

I make my living manipulating words.  I am warm in the winter and cool in the summer.   I do not have calluses on my hands, and if my back hurts, it’s from sitting in a chair all day long.  My work is only possible because of men who can and do get out in the weather and keep the water, the gas, the electricity, and everything running, the roads in good repair, and who shoulder the greater burden in defending the country from potential enemies. That’s not a sexist observation; that’s reality. 

The world could get along just fine if all the male writers ceased to exist. But if the bricklayers, pipefitters, lumberjacks, firefighters, cops, linemen, soldiers, and their like, went on strike, everything would fall apart in short order.

via The American Conservative.

I think the same way that Dreher does.  I contrast my comfortable life with my grandfather, who spend all day, every day, for most of his life doing hard manual labor on his farm.  He died when I was in my teens, but I think that if he were to look down from Heaven on my life, he would not think that anything I did in my 40 years of newspaper employment was actual work.  And if you ask which is more necessary to society—journalists or farmers?—the answer is obvious.

What needs to be mentioned, though, is how much of the necessary and disagreeable work of civilization consists of what traditionally has been regarded as women’s work—starting with the pain and danger of childbirth.  Dreher himself has written about how his life as a writer is made possible by the support system provided by his stay-at-home wife, whose intellectual attainments are equal to his own.

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