If you are a child of the 50’s or 60’s or very early 70’s …..or very late 40’s….you can recall, with emotional exuberance, the “Middle Class”. Today, in 2017, the Middle Class is a fond memory and one that is fading away. Elizabeth Warren spoke on this subject back in 2007, ten years ago, years before she entered politics (and my first encounter with her, an encounter that changed my view of the world) .
In simple terms, the “middle class” is just a class of laborers who can support themselves and their family in a manner that is socially, fashionably equivalent with the majority of others. In contrast, the class of laborers who cannot support themselves and their family in a manner that is socially, fashionably equivalent with the majority of others are called the poor. The middle class goes to Disney World. The poor do not. The middle class retires at 65, moved to Florida and plays golf until they die at a local hospital paid for by their insurance policy. The poor hang on in Central Falls until they die of pneumonia, on Medicaid. In BOTH case, the citizens involved all worked, a minimum of 40 hour a week, 50 weeks a year. The only difference was in their wages.
Our middle class is dying. We’re not even keeping up with the Canadians.
My hypothesis is this: our middle class is dying because it has allowed itself to separated from the working class and reduce its numbers in the same way that the poor have been suffering because they have been jettisoned by the middle class and become a minority. It is time, hell, it is past time to join these two classes back into one, as the “Working Class”.
In short, if you accept the paradigm of “Middle Class”, you embrace the notion of lower class or poor. You can’t have a middle without two ends. We know we have a wealthy class, the 1%, more accurately the .1%. do we really increase our political power if we fragment the remaining 99.9% in two, fighting each other?
As we look at Donald Trump and his cabinet, it ought to be clear to all of us, from cardiologists to car sales reps to custodians, that it is ALL of us against ALL of them, We cannot win if we divide our ranks by occupation, earnings, (or sex or religion or skin color or language).
Working Class has to be our focus. Middle Class is accepting their paradigm, and one that divides us, isolates us, weakens us.
I challenge all Democratic office holders and those running for office in the years to come to drop the term “middle class” and embrace “Working Class” as our shield.