We need to be quiet and listen

We need to be quiet and listen
Donald Trump supporters, Chicago Tribune file photo

I’m an elitist. College educated, wine guzzling, sushi eating, opera listening, foodie, jogger, Ralph Lauren wearing elitist. I’m the kind of person who makes the folks who voted for Donald Trump have waves of nausea.

Like most elitists, I listen primarily to other elitists and of course, to myself. According to the US Census, 33% of the population holds at least a Bachelor’s Degree. The percentage of the population with an advanced degree drops off to the single digits.

The educated run things and we think we know it all. We know all the economic theories, how to raise capital, how to run a business, how to think constructively and to set goals and achieve them. In all our education and achievements, there is one area where we are lacking: listening.

On Tuesday, a large number of the other 66% decided they were sick and tired of the elites sneering at them and voted. The elites have spent the better part of 2016 horrified by Donald Trump, and his shenanigans, crude talk and vulgar behavior. We couldn’t imagine such a common vulgarian getting to the Oval Office.

Trump was listening and all the shenanigans, all the sexism, all the criticisms of minorities was his way of saying to this group, “I’m your guy.” It was a very bold gamble and one that paid off.

The Democratic Party has always sold itself as the party of the working class. They have been the home of the labor movement since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. The GOP has been the party of business since the close of World War II.

The world has changed since the close of World War II. Until recently, the GOP was the home of conservatism, balance, and business. The Democrats became the party of the disenfranchised and fought for the rights of minorities, women, and LGBT and still do fight for them.

Who got left out of the mix was the white working class male. Union workers who bring a lunch pail to work, punch a clock, and are a big part of the backbone of working class America. The Democratic Party still has the Union Bosses but the white rank and file belong to Donald Trump.

Working class whites see themselves as abandoned by the Democratic Party, and let down by their Unions.

Trump listened and became music to their ears.

There has been a lot of change in the world, and change in America over the past five decades. How we work, and where we work are much different than when I entered the workforce in 1972.

There is a lot of talk about the good jobs going off to Asia and Mexico and it is true. The average cost per worker per hour in the USA is $25.21 dollars an hour. In Mexico, the average worker makes $5.10 per day. If you are the President of XYZ manufacturing company, and your major competitor from Europe starts making their products in Mexico and can turn out a competing product at less than 10% of the wage cost in America, and therefore kill you on price in the marketplace then you have one choice if you are going to stay in business. That choice is to go where you can be competitive on price.

I don’t know any factory worker who would feel good about a 90% reduction in their hourly wage, do you?

However, that is what has been happening. Their wages are being reduced 100 percent due to plant relocation. That is the source of their frustration, and fear, and until Trump came along they have been ignored.

I get angry when people try to marginalize African-American’s experiences as it relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. My argument to the conservatives who sneer at the African Americans is “how can you invalidate their experience since you are not an African-American, nor live in their neighborhoods?”

The same argument should hold true for the other Democrats, the Trump Party.  We sneered at them when we should have listened beyond the racism and sexism.  I can’t call his win a win for the GOP because what Trump advocates is as Republican as Bernie Sanders. They went after the same demographic only Trump exploited race where Bernie didn’t. That is their only difference.

The elites know there is no guarantee of a job for life. The millennials to their credit, know it too and keep their resumes current and are flexible. However, the Trump coalition is confused, angry, and most listened to Trump’s empty promises  and they responded.

We can’t, and won’t turn the calendars back to the 1950s. We can’t indulge in the fantasy that GM, Ford, and other heavy manufacturers are going to move back and everything will be the way it was in 1957. It won’t and that day is gone.

New jobs come with new innovations. It is not an overnight process but it is one we have not encouraged. Business exists in a global marketplace. That also is not going to change. To try and force a company to work in the USA when its competitors can and will produce in Mexico is just an invitation for the company to go out of business and all jobs be lost. That is reality and no amount of being mad about it will change it.

However, we need to listen to this group and together try and alleviate their fears and anxiety and find a path for all to achieve the American Dream. It is something that needs to be fixed.

Donald Trump has not proposed a fix because he knows the only fix is innovation and retraining.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Trump very quietly threw his own coalition under the bus. Yesterday he said he would be the President to all Americans. That is a far different Donald Trump than we heard just 72 hours ago.

Although I did not support Mr. Trump, I’m joining President Obama in pulling for him to have a successful Presidency. I’m doing so because to wish him failure, to try and obstruct progress is like hoping the airplane crashes you and I are passengers on. His failure is not in our best interests.

I refuse to act as the GOP did when President Obama was elected. What they did was wrong, and I might add I was part of it in those days. It was wrong of me then, and it would be wrong of me now to engage in that kind of behavior.

That’s today’s article. I think I will have some sushi for lunch, then go to the health club and do my Thursday elitist things.

Leave a comment