Nation’s job loss connected to politics
The turmoil that we are witnessing in our nation today is connected to job loss. Millions of jobs have been lost due to robots, foreign competition, relocation and trade agreements. The result has been a devastating emotional effect on the American worker. You can make the argument that today’s economy is continually creating new jobs, but the new jobs don’t compare with the big-money manufacturing jobs of the past.
In 1945, Americans could boast that nearly all household appliances were manufactured and produced in the United States. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors provided 80 percent of all the cars in the world. By 1955, General Motors alone accounted for 50 percent of all the cars in the world. In 1963, Martin Luther King characterized the nation’s wealth in these words, “The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in a vast ocean of material progress.”
While the wealth benefited all ethnic groups in general, it benefited the white worker directly. No other group could quite understand the joy he felt. After all, he was of European descent. His ancestors had removed the indigenous peoples and wrote the laws of the land. The big money job allowed him to build a beautiful home in the suburbs and send his loved ones to the best schools. The American dream was his first.
At some point in the 1960s, the economy shifted. By 1971, nearly all of your household appliances were imported from abroad. By 1995, American car manufacturers lost their dominance in the car market. It wasn’t too long ago that the assembly plant in Lordstown sent workers home because ordered steel parts from Japan had not yet arrived.
The big-money job loss is connected to tribalism in our nation today. Many workers are bitter. They seem not to anymore care about moral character. They seem not to anymore care about constitutional principles. The president can do as he pleases. They don’t chant at the rallies because they are in love with the president. They chant to show their disgust in the Washington establishment. Their lives have been impacted and they couldn’t care less about how the Russians feel.
In his book, “The Soul of a Nation,” historian Jon Meacham likens this nation to a ship driven off course in a stormy sea. The mariner waits for a pause in the storm. He looks past the clouds for a glimmer of sunlight. He must check the latitude to see how off course the ship has been driven.