Letter: Liberals have listened
Jessica Cabe’s Dec. 15 column got some things right. Well-paying jobs for unskilled workers are disappearing and will continue disappearing. Trump capitalized on unskilled worker frustration by making promises no one could keep. But Jessica’s premise, that we are not listening to one another, expresses only useless and unjustifiable liberal guilt.
As a group, liberals have listened. Listening is not synonymous to agreeing with nonsense like “immigrants/other countries are stealing good jobs from us.” Non-listening on this issue is entirely one-sided. As a group, unskilled workers like Jessica’s mother have not listened.
Jessica’s mother exemplifies good-hearted, hardworking parents who wanted better lives for their children and succeeded. Now Mom is worried about her own future. Sad that she wasn’t listening, because the educated middle class she created repeatedly told her for over three decades that well-paid unskilled jobs are going away.
Such jobs didn’t exist before 1914 when Henry Ford declared the $5 day and invented the unskilled middle class. It was a great idea, and seven decades later, technology overtook it. Educated liberals consistently advised Jessica’s mother that after working from 3 a.m. to noon, her best bet was attending community college or vocational school for a few hours so as to prepare for the obvious and inevitable future.
But when her factory closed she obliviously went to work in a bakery. Now robots are baking. She’s understandably scared. The wolf is blowing down her straw house. But she has no right to surprise.
Yes, Jessica, it’s easy for us liberals to talk. Your mother’s life is much harder than the great ones she gave us. We owe her for that, but what is it we owe? I would happily pay more taxes to help Mom acquire skills to carry her forward provided those richer than I pay their fair share. I’m certain you would, too. What more do you want for her? How have we wronged her?