I've changed a bit in the last five years with the brutal dismantling of my state's economy and automobile industry. There are several reasons for the dismantling.
Right now my state has an open seat for governor. Jennifer Granholm is a nice lady who meant well and I think did the best she could given a bad circumstance. I think she wasn't great, but she wasn't terrible either. John Engler before her left a mess that had to be cleaned up. Unfortunately, John Cherry, a great man in my opinion, dropped out of the race. While several people are running or are considering running, two of them are big business DINO's in the heart of Union Country. One even donated to Bush.
It was those of my dad's generation which built the middle class. My generation, the early bommers built on my father's generation. We had it the best. Those after us haven't quite it the same, the later boomers and X'ers. Much of this is due to the various successes at union busting, and unamerican companies betraying America and sending jobs overseas with outsourcing. When I was 18, we could go work in the auto factory. It wasn't a way to get rich, but I raised my family on that. Today, forget it. Even college grads have to work at McDonalds, Crapmart (Walmart), or leave the state to find work. You don't go to an auto factory unless you are lucky and have good friends on the inside. Manufacturing jobs aren't cool, but they are needed. I'm afraid for what kind of market my grandchildren will be going into.
I keep hearing talk about diversifying the economy. That usually means sending manufacturing overseas. How is that different than John McCain telling me that these jobs are never coming back. Why not? They aren't coming back because politicians do not give a damn about them anymore outside of a few lions like David Bonior and John Dingell. The damn Banks get bailed out by both parties. The auto industry gets bankruptcy, fucked over and ripped apart by corporatists in both parties, sheds 250,000 more jobs, and sells Hummer to the Chinese, and Chrysler to the Italians. These job losses aren't just in Michigan. The Big 3 have or had plants in Bob Corker's Tennessee (how's that bankruptcy working for your state asshole), Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Georgia, and Wisconsin as well. Did I mention those are also important states in election years?
Some people are wondering why this "recovery" really isn't. That's because so many are not working. If we aren't working, we aren't buying things, going out to dinner, and purchasing luxuries, and that puts more jobs at risk.
There are two things that must be done. The first is a good health care plan. Don't punish those who did the right thing by taxing them. Pass a public option. No requirement to buy. No tax on benefits. Simple public option. I'll take single payer as an alternative. Not this senate bill which is a gift wrapped plan to the insurance industry.
The most important is to protect American job and rollback the outsourcing. President Obama should require that all government contracts for things manufactured be right here in America. After that, we need to reform, and preferably eliminate GATT and NAFTA which give us the SHAFTA. Let's diversify the economy, but also get our manufacturing base back at the same time before this new jobs and green jobs do not go overseas too. Remember the Dot Coms, the next big thing? Remember how many of those jobs went to India?
As an aging boomer, I became a democrat at 21 years old. My first vote was for Hubert Horatio Humphrey. The best president in my lifetime was Lyndon Baines Johnson. My parents were social conservative depression babies. However, they were democrats. FDR was their hero. I can hear my social conservative father's ghost today. "Democrats are for the working man. We're working class. Republicans are for the rich. Government is supposed to help people. Remember that." He was a man who loved God, family, and country, but he was no republican. He would have been aghast at what Chimpy the Chump did. I'm not as social conservative as my dad was, but I share his view on economic matters, and became a democrat because of him.
I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with politics. I can not support this senate health care bill. With 59 democrats (Lieberman's for himself), we can not get a public option? Those without insurance are forced to buy it? My union which fought for the health care we do have will have our members punished with taxes for doing the right thing? It's not just auto manufacturers either. Teachers. Other skilled trades. We're all being thrown under the bus by the United States Senate.
I consider myself now an independent populist. I will vote only for candidates who are supportive of domestic manufacturing including the automobile industry. I won't support Clintontypes, or recent Republican-turned-democrat corporatists like Andy Dillon and Denise "donated to Bush" Illitch who may be running for governor here.
Thomas Frank once wrote about how the "working class" votes against their best economic interest. I disagree with him. They don't. What democrats have to do is convince working class voters that it is in our interest to vote democrat. Part of the big shift to the democrats in 2008 was not just young voters, but working class individuals who saw piss poor management. My very white working class part of rural Ingham County was 60% for Bush. It went very narrowly for McCain. We also voted for democrats like the Byrums. If the trade policy is fixed and jobs come back, you'll have us again in 2010, 2012, 2014, etc. If there is not a dime's worth of difference between corporate democrats and corporate republicans, the gun owners, anti-gays, and pro-lifers will defect because there is no economic interest in voting for a corporate democrat, like there is in voting for a Bonior democrat.
Lastly, let's buy American. The job you save may be a UAW, Teamster, or AFL-CIO member, or an MEA member as families decide to still live in those areas. We can use capitalism to our advantage by supporting our own workers.