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San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered a wonderful keynote at last night's DNC. Referred to by some as Democrats' answer to Marco Rubio, Castro shared his own family's history as immigrants and the struggles, hardhships, and sacrifices that entailed.

One of the more memorable lines from his speech was this:

My mother fought for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.
Follow me below and I'll share a small quibble.

I understand why this line went over so well. I understand the belief system behind it and I don't disagree with that belief system...per se. For the most part this belief system is about wanting to see people do better, helping people meet their full potential. That's a good thing.

But it would be great if Dem pols, the President included, could take care, as First Lady Michelle Obama did in her speech, to point out that there should be every bit as much dignity in holding a mop as there is in holding a microphone. The man or woman who holds a mop, whether by choice or by circumstance, is entitled to respect and a living wage.

My aim isn't to poo poo all over Castro's excellent address. It was fantastic. He's a good man and we're lucky to have him on our team. But there are mop pushers and waitresses and other low level, unskilled workers who may never be more than unskilled workers and maybe becasue they just weren't intellectually gifted to be more than unskilled workers. That's not their fault and they don't deserve to be belittled whether intentionally or not. I just think we could be a tad more sensitive when it comes to our "bootstrap" pandering. That's all.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:18:05 AM PDT

  •  oh come on--that was a call to inspiration, (13+ / 0-)

    potential, and possibility.  It was hardly a slam on unskilled labor.  It was a story of mobility leading to success as defined by Michelle Obama, not by Mitt Romney.

    I mean--if I were to say 'My grandfather worked 19 hours a day in the meat packing districts in Chicago--and look at me now!'  

    Is that a slam on people who package meat?  No--it's a success story.

    I mean--yes, we want to accept people for who they are.  But we also want to instill the notion that there are other hopes and dreams available to them.

    •  And nobdoy - NOBODY - goes to work (10+ / 0-)

      mopping a floor, or in a meat packing plant, dreaming of the day their children can join them in that "low-level, unskilled" job.

      •  But people do go to those jobs knowing that's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nance, zhimbo

        all they're ever going to do because that's all they've been gifted to do. Should they be made to feel less valued because they lack the capacity to rise above their station in life?

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:31:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This wasn't a case of demeaning manual labor. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1

          Mr. Castro's remarks were a witty way to express the fact that he was able to choose between using his brain or brawn for gainful employment.  It was a celebration of choice, not demeaning mopping.

          -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

          by wordene on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:05:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  well, now we come to where I find you mistaken (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bevenro, bawbie

          "all they've been gifted to do" is a damn demeaning phrase, JTinDC.

          You seem to be presuming a lot.

          An awful lot. Not much of it very positive.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:21:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You guys are reading something (0+ / 0-)

            into what I'm saying that just isn't there, or at least isn't intended. People can dream whatever they want to dream and they can work toward whatever goals they want to set for themselves. But not everyone is going to make it and there should be no shame in that.

            I'll also add it gets to be a point where it's dream fetishization, where if you don't have some big grand dream of what you want to do or be in life there's something wrong with your. That's rather annoying.

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 11:56:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, overall it most certianly was a call to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, zhimbo

      inspiration. But that particular line made me think of how it may have made a custodial worker feel, that everyone must surely want to be better than him or her. That's shitty. As I said, intened or not, it was a slight. Custodial workers, unfortunately, have historically been dumped on as the epitome of unskilled workers. The occupation itself is used as a slam in our society and that's always been a sore spot for me.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:54:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome to see it as a slight. (5+ / 0-)

        I think that is honestly too bad, though.  Why does everything have to send a message of 'Hey, everyone's a winner!' all the time?  

        What you're doing is actually highly condescending.

        •  Just for one second put yourself in the shoes of (0+ / 0-)

          the mop pusher who is and perhaps always will be by destiny a mop pusher and how that line may have come across to him or her. All I mean to point out is Casto or any other pol might make just the tiniest effort to craft their words a tad differently.

          So sorry that my concern for the feelings of by far the most shat upon profession in the country has offended your delicate sensabilities.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:59:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  THIS is PRECISELY my point. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1, BlackSheep1

            Your phrase 'the mop pusher who is and perhaps always will be by destiny a mop pusher'

            This is my problem with your diary.  I can't illustrate it any more clearly than you just have.

            •  I think you may be reading race into this. (0+ / 0-)

              Don't make that monumental mistake. Read intellectual ability into it, which is what I meant by "gifted".

              The sad reality is that people are born with varying levels of intellectual ability. That's just the way it is. And people at the lower end are only going to go so far. That's just the way it is. These people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to be paid a living wage.

              That was my point and it pisses me off that I should be demonized for trying to stand up for those, some of whom, might even lack the intellectual capacity to stand up for themselves whether they be white, black, hspanic, asian, or otherwise. That was my point. Shame on me for making it so clumsily.

              Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

              by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:40:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  race? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BlackSheep1

                actually had nothing at all to do with my thinking.

                My mom used to work with people with schizophrenia.  She was a volunteer at an organization that helped with  job placement, etc.  People with all sorts of disabilities--mental and physical--have the capability of following hopes and dreams.  Are some of them unrealistic?  Sure.  But so what?  Striving is healthy--and even if you don't achieve any of your goals--imagining them is a great source of happiness and empowerment.  

                And in any case, the message of this country IS one of dreams, inspiration, and hope.  By your reckoning, we should just abandon this, because some people by their nature should be realistic and have no hope.  I think this is terrible way of looking at things.

                You're not being demonized--you're being vehemently disagreed with.

                •  Why so vehemently? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JTinDC

                  The OP has a point. All work should pay a living wage. Why should the ability to live well be tied to work so absolutely? Why is that the only or foremost measure of worth? Always insisting that everyone has to have a passion or a dream, no matter how farfetched, is no more helpful than blocking those who are strivers.

                  •  who said it was? (0+ / 0-)

                    I never insisted everyone have a passion or a dream.

                    I don't like the OP's assumption that people have some sort of 'lot' in life, and that's the way it is.  It's demeaning and debilitating.

                    •  Jesus Christ, a developmentally disabled person is (0+ / 0-)

                      free as a bird to persue a career as a nuclear physicist, I have nothing against their trying. What I'm saying is make sure they are provided a job they are capable of doing and whatever it is, treat them with dignity and respect and pay them a living wage. Is that clear enough for you? Or am I still offending you?

                      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

                      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 11:43:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you're not offending me. (0+ / 0-)

                        You're condescending to those you claim to protect.

                        And stop making shit up.  I never said a developmentally disabled person can do anything.  I said this 'cast down your buckets where you are' mentality is insulting.

                        I mean...'gifted to do something'?  Gimme a break.

                        MIght someone take offense?  Sure.. Someone can take offense at anything.  But as you see from comments here--many take offense at the notion that people shouldn't talk about their own stories of achievement because they might hurt people who haven't had that chance.  Who are YOU to say who can and will have the ability to do what?

                        I say allow people to imagine.

                        You say let's cover their ears.

          •  JT - we respect all honest work (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JTinDC, wordene, nextstep

            It may have been because they were blue collar but one of the most important lessons my parents taught me was that all honest work was honorable and should be respected. I have tried to teach my children the same values. No one should ever demean people who do janitorial work, or work the grill at McDonalds. The fact that some of those people hope to inspire their children to more lucrative careers is part of the American Dream.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:37:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks, VC. (0+ / 0-)

              And I do know parents are certainly well-intentioned. Gotta say, tho while I get your meaning, "more lucrative careers" sticks a bit in my craw. I'm not a fan of capitalism and am dishearted that for so many Dems success is defined in monetary terms. Oh well.

              Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

              by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:47:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Did it sound like he didn't respect his mother? (19+ / 0-)

    Or his grandmother? Nobody grows up dreaming of pushing a mop for a living - they do it because it pays bills and hopefully their kids will be better off as a result.  It's not a sprint, or marathon but a relay - as Julian said last night as well.  

    I don't think any janitor says "I'd rather be pushing this mop than being a keynote speaker at a big convention" and to pretend otherwise would be pandering.  

    Julian didn't denigrate or demean a hard days work - quite the opposite.  He honored the mop pusher as a hard, selfless worker looking to pass the baton on to his/her kids - do you think the janitor hopes his kids end up in the same job and spot in life?

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:37:09 AM PDT

    •  Well said! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litoralis, BlackSheep1

      "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

      by Farkletoo on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:03:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it didn't, and I don't think he meant any (0+ / 0-)

      offense to anyone. But as I said in a comment above, I heard the comment as I imagined a mop pusher might have heard it, perhaps a mop pusher who was simply not gifted to ever be more than a mop pusher and how that would make him or her feel, and I felt for that person.

      Maybe it's just my problem. Maybe I shouldn't give a shit how somebody else feels. Or maybe I should just keep it to myself. It's unclear around hear when it is and isn't and to what extent it's OK to be a bleeding heart liberal.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:18:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can understand where you are coming from (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JTinDC, litoralis, BlackSheep1

        and this is certainly worth of good conversation. You made a good point that we should not disrespect people who work hard in unheralded jobs.

        I think Jacoby Jonze made a good counter argument that hard work wasn't disrespected. This really shows how much different the DNC is to the RNC.

        This better be good. Because it is not going away.

        by DerAmi on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:45:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I should have been clear that I know Castro didn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litoralis, DerAmi

          intend the remark as a slight. My mistake. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:48:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Taking the words too literally and out of context. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        Go over Mr. Castro's speech again and go through the entire arc of the piece -- the bit about the mop and the microphone was just the "gotcha" part to the line, but just before it, he was mentioning/honoring the sacrifice made by his mother so that he could have that choice.

        -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

        by wordene on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:09:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most people don't grow up to have (0+ / 0-)

      their dream job. Most of us end up doing a variety of jobs to pay the bills. And that's OK. Or should be.

      •  poster never said it wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

        you're reading things in that aren't there.

        The OP seems to be stating that, by touting a personal success story, the speaker was offending those who may not either have that success--or define that success in a certain way.

        If people who have stories of hardscrabble origins that turned into realized dreams have to walk on eggshells so as not to 'offend' those who may not have gotten there yet--or who may not even want to get there--then the republicans are right about us--we DO disdain success.

        I don't subscribe to this nonsense.  I believe all people have inherent  value--and I also believe that encouragement to pursue things is incredibly valuable as well.

        •  I don't think anyone said otherwise. (0+ / 0-)

          There is a long list of life circumstances that Ds need to tout as "success." White collar, upper middle does not alone equal "success." College does not equal "success." Etc. Letting the country club crowd set the standard for what counts as "success" is not what Ds are all about.

          Being able to support your family, and getting support during lean times, on a blue collar job, including an unskilled one, that's a life Ds should be proud of, along with the kid who makes it to Harvard and the White House.

          And we are. As we are a reality-based party, we should be able to keep the entire spectrum of possible work and other choices in mind when we talk about "success."

          And in hard times, yes, those who are poorer are going to be more easily offended by those who are richer crowing about having gotten there, wherever "there" is.

          It's a finer balance than just shouting slogans but Ds can do it. Yes, we can! :)

  •  Not an unimportant point at all. (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for making it. While most people understand his point, even many of the mop wielders, the high goal is to phrase it so no one feels their work has little value or dignity.

    Or that anyone with different values and beliefs should think that those jobs and workers have no value or dignity.

    In that respect, this is certainly a kinder and gentler convention than that other one. ;)

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:37:35 AM PDT

    •  Thanks Ginny. I'm a litte bit surprised at some (0+ / 0-)

      responses. Some would seem to indicate missing some key points I made in the diary. Oh well. I sort of expected it tho, no matter how carefully I tried to couch the subject.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:06:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I took it another way. (16+ / 0-)

    I thought he was saying that, as a Mexican-American, the public's expectations for him were that he would be a laborer. And he was thanking his mother for having other expectations. His mother must be one strong woman.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:38:20 AM PDT

  •  As one having pushed a mop, I winced a little, (10+ / 0-)

    too.  Coming from his background, though, I don't think he meant to be hurtful to anyone.  

    I think most people who push a mop understand.  A lot of them are either pushing the mop as a step to get to a better place, or they're pushing the mop to get their kids to a better place.

    Of course some of them may just prefer pushing a mop.  Pushing a mop is not about how smart you are.  MENSA members push mops.

    It's just that in many cases, the mop is just part of a journey, not the end of it.  

    I think he was expressing his appreciation that someone cared enough about him to "push the mop" so he wouldn't have to.

    Personal note:  After retiring from a professional career as a middle manager, I took a job as a line cook, simply because I had worked myself through school cooking, and I still enjoyed the physical and mental challenge of seeing how fast I could push food out without sacrificing quality.  Every day at the end of my shift, I mopped the kitchen and carried out the garbage.  

    I genuinely liked the guys who did this out of necessity, and I can tell you that when I was in high school and college, I quickly learned that "smart" is not confined to executive suites.  The guys who amazed me the most were the ones who had never learned to read, and had to memorize the orders as the servers called them out, never missing a lick.

    The difference between me and them had nothing to do with me.  I just had a support system that taught me the value of the mop and pushed it along with me.

    Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

    by ZedMont on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:41:53 AM PDT

    •  I have no doubt that he didn't mean it to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont

      offensive. As I said, he's a good man. But neither do I have any doubt that it hurt a few mop pusher's feelings, I that makes me sad. They don't deserve that and I think he could've made his point without hurting anyone's feelings. It was a great speech. I mean to be clear about that. I just think someone needs to stand up for people who are never going to be more than unskilled workers by no fault of their own. You're talking about my maternal grandparents there and I take that personally.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry--JT--but I think your point is quite (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, nmjardine, lcj98, BlackSheep1

        insulting to people who choose to hope that they have the opportunity to pursue other things.

        It's like the kid who struggles with reading but wants to be in a higher reading level having a teacher say to him 'Hey--it's ok--we all learn at different rates and you're fine just they way you are'.  There's too much of that from the democratic side lately--and if I were that kid I'd be furious.  I'd want the teacher to say--ok--I recognize that you want to do more and I'm going to do everything in my power to work with you to help you get there.

        It's also an insult to Castro's personal history.  Sorry to be harsh--but your post really makes me angry.

        •  bevenro, I'm not saying what you think I'm saying (0+ / 0-)

          and I'm not aware that it's a typical Dem position to tell a student who wants to more to just chill and take his/her time. Seems there's something specific to discuss there?

          I don't mean in any way to degrade or deny anyone the drive or opportunity to seekand reach his/her dreams and I still don't understand how what I've said implies otherwise. Will you please help me understand that? I know you've been trying to do that, but I'm not getting it.

          And forgive me, but are you latino/latina? Becasue that may well be why there's something to this that you see that I don't. And I do want to see this from your perspective. You find my point offensive which I just don't see and certianly don't mean. Help me out.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:23:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  your suggestion that some people have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackSheep1

            destined lot in life and that's just the way it is.

            No, I'm not Latino and it doesn't matter--I"ve spent my whole  life advocating against this sort of mentality.  There has been a whole cultural embracing of acceptance that is often misplaced.  Many of us have been able to seek and pursue dreams because we did NOT accept--we chose to drive forward.  This is the point that Castro was emphasizing--and I think that it inspires rather than insults.

            To say that 'you are what you are, and that's that'....is a sentiment that I have never approved of.

            •  to say anyone's gifted to push a mop, only (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bevenro

              is a pretty damn Republican "stay in your place" viewpoint, to me.

              LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

              by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:35:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You know, that kid will work up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bevenro

          if you make working up something other kids don't pick on that one for not having achieved yet.

          Case in point -- about 1996 or so -- I'm teaching a Sunday school class (yeah, I used to be all kinds of stuff I'm not anymore, including the secretary at a church). Mom comes to me to say I shouldn't ask her son to read out loud as he's a little slow in reading.

          Pissed me off that she'd think he might not want to be considered equal to the other kids in the class. So instead of asking by name, I started asking the kids, "Who'd like to read ..." out loud.

          This kid, between the start of school and Christmas, went from never wanting to read out loud to being the kid with his hand in the air first every time. Don't know what else was going on outside the SS room where we worked together, but at the end of my term (SS teachers changed every school year) ... he read a grade level ahead of his years.

          Not 'cause I picked on him or offered him "special help" (the other kids in the class were willing to help him with hard words, which I thought was neat) in class, but 'cause he was a determined little sonofagun.

          So, now, he's finished a second graduate degree and doing well.
          Makes me grin.

          He could've been "gifted" to push a mop, too. Only not.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:32:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I understand how you feel, JT. My maternal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JTinDC, VClib

        grandparents were like yours.  My grandmother worked as a laundress in later years, and my grandfather literally died while doing other peoples' yard work for a living.

        I don't think Castro meant any disrespect to people like your grandparents or mine, though.  He was trying to make a point about opportunity.  

        It's probably more about your and my feelings toward our grandparents and people like them that causes us discomfort than what he said.

        It would have been nice if he had stopped to acknowledge the dignity of all work, and if he had anticipated that feelings might be hurt, I'll bet he would have.

        I hope nothing that I said is causing people to be angry at each other about this.  People are going to feel differently about it, and I hope we can simply acknowledge our different perspectives and move on.

        Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

        by ZedMont on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:53:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  JT - I think you completely missed his point (8+ / 0-)

    Castro was honoring the work of janitors and other manual laborers, not demeaning it. As someone who had blue collar parents, who performed hard manual work so that they could provide their children a chance at a better life, I found his microphone comment inspirational.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:42:41 AM PDT

  •  This isn't a quibble, it is misinformation (15+ / 0-)

    Or perhaps you took Castro's line from an imperfect transcription of his speech.

    Here is the actual sentence that Castro said, from CNN's video of his speech (starting about 15:50 of the video):

    And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.
    Don't change the text to make Castro out to be somehow insensitive. It is absolutely clear from what he said that the mop vs. microphone reference is about the rights of all Americans to have equal opportunity, and NOT that some jobs are better than others.

    Julian Castro speech

    •  Didn't intend to misquote, but it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

      significantly change the point I amed to get at, whixh Castro's speech merely provided a jumping off point. I could just as easily have used phrases from Obama speeches and other Dem pol speeches that get at the same general theme.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:08:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. Unfortunately, the Democratic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, Phoebe Loosinhouse

    Party suddenly got way more Malthusian back with the so-called "welfare reform" bill Big Dog signed in the 90's. It is, indeed, a kind of pandering. We seem to go out of our way to use words like "hard work" and "play by the rules". We are scrambling to make sure everyone knows the President didn't try to remove work requirements from welfare (in spirit, the modern equivalent of the Workhouse, to make sure no one gets something for nothing because it will destroy their "moral fibre" if they do). We are terribly afraid we'll be branded as "liberal" even if some of the party in fact is. It is still throwing a bone to the "Republican Lite" of Bill Clinton.

    Then there is the ceremonial bowing to Horatio Alger. Mayor Castro did it. He even mentioned "bootstraps". I agree, it's pandering, and it's become expected. "If we say it, it will protect our image, it will make us harder to paint as bleeding hear liberals".

    I don't see this as an inspiring "you, too, can make it into the middle class" story. I see this as a "mop pushers are lower class, they should want to move into the middle class" story, which has--sadly--infected the Democratic Party to an acute degree.

    Here's the speech I would like to hear:

    We need to expand the middle class not by helping people move from lower or working class professions into the professions, but by expanding living wages to all sorts of workers. We need to make sure that janitors*, food service workers, nursing assistants and home health aids have the same access to a living wage as administrative assistants, kindergarten teachers and public employees".
    THAT is the speech we ought to be hearing.

    *Many janitors make a good living. As a former school teacher, I can tell you, the amount of dignity it takes to work maintenance in a public school, the character it takes, is pretty darned impressive. Trust me: these men and women were the teachers' best friends.

    I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:46:58 AM PDT

    •  ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nmjardine

      Why does a personal story have to be all inclusive?

      The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

      by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:16:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I completely agree with you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC, commonmass, BlackSheep1

      It comes down to all work having dignity and being deserving of living wages. Someone has to build the roads, mop the floors, cook the food, care for the elderly, all these jobs are actually crucial to the fabric of our society and many people who hold these jobs take joy in the services they provide, even though they are often compensated at starvation levels.

      To me there is little difference in a plantation owner of the Old Confederacy living in a mansion and benefitting from the labor of slaves and a member of the Walton family, as an example, bloating like wealthy tics on the wealth they award themselves as the expense of their employees.

      I believe the only answer to this situation is a living wage law where the Federal minimum wage is tied to inflation annually and I think the first thing to do is to play catch up to wear that wage should be today if the law had been in place from when wages for workers started to stagnate in the 70's.

      People usually scream right now about how business small and large will go out of business or how jobs will shrink. I frankly think that's wrong - there's enough largesse in large corporations that a few CEOs making a more commensurate pay will provide more than enough to equalize. As you pointed out - their salaries have swollen while the rest have contracted.

      It is admittedly harder for small business and perhaps the wages can be upped on a staggered level over time for those companies. I once owned several small businesses and the one thing I have NEVER been able to figure out is why business owners know for a fact that their utilities will go up, their rents will go up, their insurance will go up, but magically, wages are not supposed to go up. Something not right there.

      Until the issue of living wages is addressed, this talk of bottom up and middle out is pretty much doomed. In conjunction,  just think of the money that a single payer system could free up  unleash into our economy.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:13:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  PL if we taxed all the CEO pay for the Fortune 500 (0+ / 0-)

        at 100% it would provide $6.5 Billion annually, a number that would not even be noticed in a federal budget of $3+ Trillion. $6.5 Billion spread out over all US workers would be $65/year. If minimum wage earners represent 10% of the workforce you could multiply that number by 10 or $650/yr or an extra 33 cents an hour. That's what the math looks like if the federal government was collecting the tax and providing some extra help. In the Fortune 500 most CEO pay is in stock options which could not be used to pay minimum wage employees. If the CEO's took a 100% cut in their cash compensation to fund a "living wage" it too would result in an additional few cents an hour. CEO cash compensation typically runs about .001% of a Fortune 500's expenses.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:52:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know what you're talking about. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JTinDC, commonmass, BlackSheep1

          Minimum wage or any wage isn't paid out of taxpayer dollars.

          My point is that THE COMPANIES THEMSELVES simply be required to pay a living wage. The obvious source for living wages for the bottom and the middle would be the bloated salaries at the top.

          AFL-CIO CEO Pay and the 99%

          I understand that compensation can be comprised of wages, bonuses, stock options, 401K contributions etc. So what? There is no reason why a mid-level worker couldn't also be paid salary and stock options and bonuses, etc.

          Your point seems to be, that what the people at the top make has no impact on the rest of the workers and that's just baloney.

          “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

          by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:10:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  PL - I was using both national numbers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            and the company numbers to make the point that even if CEO cash compensation was zero it would not fund a living wage for any Fortune 500 company's minimum wage workers. Even if we include the top five or even ten senior executives their cash compensation represents a fraction of 1% of any Fortune 500 company's expenses. The notion that we could provide significantly better pay for the bottom and middle by lowering senior executive pay is fiction. The problem is there are so few at the top, 5 or 10 people, and so many in the rest of the organization. For Fortune 500 companies there are tens of thousands of employees.

            I personally agree that executive compensation is out of control, and should be taxed at a higher rate, but to think that it is a real source of increasing wages is fiction.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 11:52:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No help for it, eh? (0+ / 0-)

              Companies decide consciously how much to pay to whom and to pretend otherwise is completely disingenuous.  It is not simply CEOs but the entire upper executive level as well as well as the BODs. It's an entrenched In Club of Gordon Gekko/Mitt Romney types who do not know the meaning of the words, "enough" or "fair" and they cheat both their employees and their stockholders by their plundering of company revenues and we are all the worse for it.

              Companies are doing great. CEOs, BODs and upper executives are doing great, everyone else not so much. Since companies are incapable of doing the right thing of their own volition, that is why we need living wage legislation.

              “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

              by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:31:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I thought the line was more about wanting (6+ / 0-)

    something better for each generation.

    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

    by Farkletoo on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:02:23 AM PDT

    •  My concern is how we as a society define (0+ / 0-)

      "wanting somrthing better".  In some respects, I'm not certain we've been getting it right in recent years. Some way certainly yes, but not all.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:11:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        How is wanting and making sure your children do better than you a bad thing?

        You're not making sense...

        The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

        by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:22:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I've seen over the years, especially among (0+ / 0-)

          white families, and I'm white, is a slackening in the work ethic, particularly in the middle class. My perception is "my kids having it better than I did" means they don't have to do chores or hold a part time job. I don't think this has done these kids any favors.

          My personal experience working with middle class white kids is they're lazy and allergic to hard physical labor. I don't see that as progress. Get a better education, sure, but there are also morality and character lessons to be learned by the sweat of one's brow.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:44:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once again you're not making sense... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackSheep1

            Digging ditches won't make you a better person anymore than having things handed you.  The notion that one has to suffer to appreciate what they have, and hopefully will get,  is such a ridiculous way to think.

            The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

            by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:06:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Spoken as someone who's not known physical labor (0+ / 0-)

              for some time, if ever, me thinks.

              Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

              by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:28:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? And how do you know, JT? EOM. (0+ / 0-)

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:38:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now I cannot imagine you, a member of our (0+ / 0-)

                  armed forces, does not understand the value of knowing how to put in a hard day's work. And you're going to jump in here and give me shit? That hurts.

                  Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

                  by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 11:35:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  'scuse me? (0+ / 0-)

                    Not only do I know what work's worth, I still do the stuff that comes under the headings of KP and GI parties.  Not for fun, just 'cause it needs done.

                    For fun I do stuff that's more intensive physically -- things like working on trucks.

                    What I was asking is what makes you think lcj98 has no idea of the value of hard work?

                    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:38:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You may have misunderstood. I know you know (0+ / 0-)

                      the value of work's worth. And that you do it cause it needs done is part of that value I was talking about, , that morality and character, rather than waitin' around hopin' someone else will do it.

                      kj98 implied you don't have to have experienced this work ethic first hand, you don't have to know what it's like to do hard work to understand the importance and value of hard work. It may be possible to understand it and truly know the value of it, but it's less likely.

                      I think that has a lot to do with why it's so easy for people who sit in meetings and fly in private jets and talk on teleconferences for a living to decide to cut the wages of those who earn a living by the sweat of their brow.

                      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

                      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:54:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't believe you wrote that thoughtfully. (0+ / 0-)

                        That comment I'm replying to here, or maybe even this whole diary, JT.

                        You're inferring that somebody you disagree with has no worthwhile life experience.

                        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 01:21:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Perhaps I judge too harshly. I've just always felt (0+ / 0-)

                          that for all those who are physically able, it is good and proper to know what it is like to put in a hard day's work. In this way one will hopefully be more willing to pitch in with the grunt work for the good of the community, the more people willing to do that the better.

                          And also to know first hand the aches and pains of labor, if one rises to positions of management or ownership one might recall those aches and pains and be more likely to treat a work force with fairness.

                          Sure, someone can acheive these qualities without having known the sweat of their own brow, but is it as likely? My assumption is it's not. But I could be wrong.

                           

                          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

                          by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 01:52:46 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Dude, I've never sailed a boat (0+ / 0-)

                            but the blisters from a hoe-handle don't hurt less because I didn't get them rowing a galleon.

                            Think, JT. Don't put so many limits on your fellow humans.

                            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                            by BlackSheep1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 07:11:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  *blink* (0+ / 0-)

                Sure thing.

                The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

                by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:32:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Furthermore... (0+ / 0-)

            It's not just middle class suburban white kids that are spoiled.  There are plenty of black, Asian, Latino and others who are just as bad, however, I'm having a hard time seeing that as a bad thing.

            The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

            by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:11:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That is what the line is about... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nmjardine

      Why people have a problem that is something I'll never understand?

      The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

      by lcj98 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 08:13:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to be honest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1

    You took an inaccurate quote and ran with it to make a point. I find that offensive because you are ascribing to Mr. Castro something he didn't say and by changing the quote changed the very intent of the line. That line you butchered was about Civil Rights and opportunity for all. You made it a slight against blue collar workers.

    The fact that you were told it was inaccurate and did not update your diary to say that the quote is inaccurate I also find offensive.

    The Spice must Flow!

    by Texdude50 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:00:57 AM PDT

    •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

      seriously, I have HRed this until you fix the quote. This is dishonest what you wrote based on an inaccurate quote. I will remove once you fix it.

      You want to make a point about living wages and hoenst work do so, but not based on butchered quote.

      The Spice must Flow!

      by Texdude50 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  butchered? hyperbole much? whatever. done. (0+ / 0-)

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:57:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, lcj98

          because without the "civil rights" part the entire quote's meaning has changed. That line is about civil rights, not demeaning workers. It was about access to oppurtunity to succeed. Julian Castro and his brother went to Stanford and Harvard Law. And now they are elected officials. They serve their communities.

          Your whole quibble was based on something he didn't say so yes, butchered.

          The Spice must Flow!

          by Texdude50 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:01:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  this gets at something central to the narrative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC

    of "the american dream" as sold by democratic politicians, that has always bugged me. namely, that crap jobs will always be with us, and they will never pay well or have decent working conditions, but that if people work them their children or grandchildren ought to be able to claw their way out of that part of the economy, get a college education, and become good middle class white collar workers.

    leaving completely uncontested the assumption that working class jobs will always be poorly paid crap jobs with unpleasant working conditions that a rotating (hopefully) pool of labor pays its dues in as a way station on the road to middle class-dom.

    personally, i think democrats ought to try to make sure that every job gets paid well enough to live off of, and has working conditions humane enough, that they don't have to be something endured on the way up. and while i think it's important to have an educational system that offers all children a shot at making full use of their minds, i think it's equally important that those who don't end up the few who become doctors and lawyers and teachers aren't just left to rot in an immiserated working class economy.

    all work should have dignity and honest pay, not just those who score upwardly mobile educated white collar jobs.

  •  Maybe it's just me, but I didn't see the slight. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, JTinDC, Texdude50, BlackSheep1

    I think he chose exactly the words he meant.  He said, "...so I could hold this microphone instead of a mop."

    There was a time in this country where no Hispanic  (or other minority) would have been allowed into a job where he would hold a microphone and speak to hundreds (or thousands) of people.  They were to "stay in their place" and invariably, that place was meant to be invisible.

    Because of people like his mother, he now has the choice of occupation.   True freedom is the ability to choose.  If the Republicans have their way, if people are holding mops, it's because that's all they're allowed to hold.

    •  He didn't mean it as a slight, I know that. (0+ / 0-)

      I just couldn't help but put myself in the shoes of those who might take it as a knock even though he didn't mean it that way.  

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:04:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC

    I didn't particularly appreciate the insistence that we should all be willing to sacrifice some more for the future of our children and grandchildren. Many of us are barely scraping by and wouldn't know what to sacrifice next, unless we live outdoors. And the suggestion that we should sacrifice more when we are not the reason this particular round of sacrifice is upon us . . . it does not sit well. Let's let some millionaires sacrifice for a while. Give the rest of us a break, a hand, some relief.

    •  OMG yes. The millinaires have never made any of (0+ / 0-)

      the sacrifie. It just happens to have worked out that the millionaires over the years became multi-billionaires as others rose up and became millionaires by virtue of helping the rich get richer. They were a bit higher on the food chain. In the mean time everyone else was left behind and made the sacrifices.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 11:32:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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