Labor’s Last Hope

(President Trump after announcing a new trade deal with Mexico.)

Today is Labor Day. For years (actually, decades), labor in America has been getting a raw deal. The deal with Mexico is supposed to change things. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt got Mr. Trump elected to office. They’ve put their hopes in this man — this man who has bankrupted six businesses and whose moral code is equally bankrupt.

That doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t do something beneficial for labor. But I’ll believe it when I see it. Thus far, he’s delivered squat.

Of course, no one else has either. The Republican Party never cared about labor, at least not in my lifetime. And the Democratic Party abandoned labor for good when Bill Clinton decided to follow the money instead. The money lead the party straight to Wall Street and, as they say, the rest is history.

People understood they had been abandoned. So they threw in their lot with this guy — one of the best con artists the country has ever known. Again, though, just because he’s a lie and a cheat doesn’t mean he can’t do something good for labor. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

Labor’s support for this man is akin to a hail Mary pass. The odds of success are low but, really, it’s the only hope left. Which is a shame. But who can blame them?

My dad — your granddad, Vera — was blue collar. He started working at a young age. He was a smart guy, but left school after the eighth grade to work. His parents didn’t have much money. Times were hard. Work took priority over school. For the next 50 years, he worked hard and managed to improve his lot. He even got to take some vacations, something we didn’t get to do when I was growing up. All three of his boys went to college. Those were the days, when kids of working-class parents could go to college and not come out with mountains of debt weighing them down. But then your grandfather got cancer and died. Just like your other grandfather on your dad’s side (different kinds of cancer though). But both of them left something behind. And that something has now brought us you.

I saw how hard these guys worked to support their families and instill good values in their kids. And later I saw how the economy chewed up and spit out millions of our blue-collar dads and moms, leaving carnage in its wake. Perhaps some of it was inevitable. But not all of it was. A lot had to do with choices we made as a country. A lot was the predictable consequence of a narrative that was promoted by modern-day money changers — those whose sole purpose in life is to grab and accumulate as much for themselves as possible.

And now we’re supposed to believe that one of those hypocritical money changers is going to save labor.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

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