There is much being made these days about who America’s working class voted for in the presidential election, and almost as much is being made of who they didn’t vote for.
Before I continue, perhaps for the sake of liberal college students (who’ve never dirtied their hands), violent leftists (who’ve never held a job), progressive academia (who’ve done neither) and the priests and priestesses of the talk show and evening news circuit, perhaps working class should be defined. Best explained by social media, “The working class are the people employed for wages, especially in manual-labor occupations and in skilled industrial work – thereby, the category includes most of the working population of industrialized economies, of the urban areas, of non-industrialized economies and of the rural workforce.”
Well, I would suggest that would explain that when looking at a map of what sectors of the country voted for the Republican, the color red was spread over state after state like a spilled can of paint. What blue there was seemed mostly located on the outside fringe of the United States making it look like the burnt outer crust of a cherry pie.
All thanks to America’s working class.
I grew up in a working class community. Every family I knew was working class. Every kid I went to school with came from a working class family. Hard-working people. Most of the fathers had served their country. Most of the mothers, if not holding down jobs outside the home, worked in the home ensuring that the bills got paid, the kids did their homework, and the home was in fine repair. Some of the fathers, like mine, held more than one job. What money there was, was spent wisely and judiciously. And when you heard the Star-Spangled Banner being played or saw the flag being raised, you stood out of respect for those who had paid the ultimate price.
For most of the members who counted themselves as working class, their families, their homes and their faith was their focus. These were their goals, and their achievements.
So maybe the elite might try to understand the working class perspective when President Obama made his statement, “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
But I guess the elites actually didn’t understand. From their standpoint, the only way to explain anyone could not vote for the Democratic ticket was that we were anti-immigrant, gun nuts, racists, homophobes, deplorable, etc.
Over the span of the last eight years, the working class has watched economic opportunities disappear, values and the faithful attacked, and their way of life rapidly disappear. Even to the point where many believed (I being one of them) that America could never survive another four years of the same form of leadership.
Surprisingly, a staff writer for the liberal New Yorker Magazine may have offered the best explanation for why the Dems have lost the working class vote. In an interview with Slate Magazine, George Packer, who is also a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center said, “What it explains is that the party (Democrats) that had been the voice of working people for decades gradually lost touch with that constituency, and eventually became much more the voice of professionals. The kind of people who read the New Yorker and Slate. But in some ways, culturally, the Republicans began to get closer to that group of Americans. You could say in the absence of either party doing a whole lot for them, they drifted toward the party that at least seemed to have a feel for their way of life, sounded more like them, saw the world more like them. That was a grievous illusion, but it was a powerful one in the absence of a Democratic Party that knew how to reach those voters.”
So insults aside, there are more people than the experts and pundits can appreciate that still believe in American values, the Constitution and yes, in America itself. Following leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Al Sharpton, Van Jones, Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren just isn’t their cup of tea.
Something else those experts and elitists may want to consider when it comes to future elections. The working class does not exclude anyone based on race, religion or gender!
Bob Rinearson is a resident of Fort Wayne.