Friday, December 16, 2016
it's busy out here
Where I work Monday through Friday, the jobs people do are challenging, and require determination, dedication, split-second decision-making, tenacity, and astuteness. One day I was thinking -- all these people who work at moving assembly lines, using sharp tools and staying up to the pace -- Why are they called "unskilled"? I'm a little tired of that characterization, because it's pretty clear that it is ridiculous.
Well, who calls them "unskilled"? Who creates the characterization? The media, I guess, and politicians and policy makers. Could any of those people learn to do these production jobs without cutting their own goddam hands off? I doubt it.
I had a concept several years ago, of a Congress-To-Work Program, where every member of Congress would work two months a year in a hard job at the same wage as others in that job. You know, I don't believe that a person must experience first-hand every problem in order to have empathy with people who struggle with that problem or situation or condition. I think you can listen, watch, and imagine. You can, in your mind, "put yourself in their shoes."
However, the impression I receive from listening to today's U.S. representatives and senators is that they do not put themselves in anyone else's shoes, and the thinking of many of them is alarmingly narrow and parochial, and governed by a herd mentality and an unrealistically inflated sense of self-importance.
So since they apparently cannot, or don't bother to, use their imagination and understand how working people live -- and work -- then they need to experience it first-hand. And if they don't want to, then we should ask them, "Why? Are you afraid to work?"
I asked a manager one day, as I watched all this complex, hard, sharp equipment being carried past, by workers coming from the floor, "Why do people call this work 'unskilled'?" And he answered immediately, "Arrogance."
From our government people at all levels, we need -- we must demand -- less arrogance and more understanding. If they are not intelligent enough to understand things, then they are overpaid on government money, & they don't belong in that job, whether it's as a governor, a state representative, a U.S. Congressman or Senator.
When they aren't calling us "unskilled," they call us "ordinary." That word is getting old, as well. The people who do the work in this country are not unskilled or ordinary or "little people." they are the Busy Working People Who Get Things Done.
A Reader Comment in the Guardian-UK edition today said, "Will this sneering at the working class by posh Clintonistas ever stop? No, sitting in her comfortable library, Hustvelt can't be bothered with the shakedown and criminalization of working people by meritocrats of the 'new economy'...."
Another one stated, "You're right that the liberal elites pretty much everywhere have become an insular class of well-off...people who have become totally out of touch with ordinary
[there's that word, I'm going to sock you -- they are not ordinary, they are the Busy Working People Who Get Shit Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
people and have no clue what their concerns and issues are. This is true in the US, UK, and across Europe. The vast rightward shift across the world's democracies (France is next) is because the left, which used to champion working people, have abandoned them.