My Disdain for the Silk Stockings

The Silk Stockings of old are alive and well today.

My father was a laborer in the furniture factories of Grand Rapids, Michigan. To support his family, he operated a router, stood in an assembly line, and cut the same piece of wood the same way, every day. At the annual company picnics, top management handed out silver dollars to the children of the employees. I remember how big and heavy mine seemed, but I also remember the bags of them that the managers carried around. These picnics were my first lessons into the caste system that exists in America and especially how the wealthy look down their noses at those less fortunate. I guarantee you those guys carrying the bags considered themselves above those who anxiously awaited their gifts. The act alone of reaching into a sack and retrieving a shiny silver dollar to hand to a smiling and grateful child is reserved for those who own the sacks in the first place. It inflates their egos and warms their hearts to know that THEY can be a blessing if they so choose.

I suppose that sounds all very cynical. Well, you got me!

My father was also a staunch Democrat, a working man, an Adlai Stevenson supporter, one who thought labor was essential for the wellbeing of him, his family, and people like us. There aren’t many of these people left today; they’ve been replaced by people who, incredibly, cast their lots with the people who rule them. Some of this support comes from Christians who’ve been duped into thinking that rich people are their friends. After all, they support pro-life zealotry, Israel, and the licentiousness that passes for freedom in the name of business and industry.

I wish my dad was alive today to talk some sense into these have-not Christians (who insist they aren’t have-nots).

In the South, nothing has devastated local communities like the almost complete destruction of the American textile industry. Oh don’t get me wrong. The industry is alive and well, but their corporate masters have moved everything away from our shores, because it’s more profitable to do so. Cotton is grown in the South, so it makes sense that “our” industry would’ve been textiles. Those Levi jeans of old were grown and manufactured right here, but the industry has moved to where foreign labor is cheaper, which means more profits. This is just one obvious example of how the wealthy cannot be trusted to have the backs of those less fortunate. And yet, visit any community abandoned by the textiles industry in the South, and you’ll find the people there voting Republican. Imagine that? The party that supports the people who moved their plants OUT of their small towns and to foreign shores now gets the votes of the people left behind to beg.

The aristocracy in any community operates under the assumed responsibility to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged. It’s called “noblesse oblige” (nobility obligates), a French term that identifies this assumption. Since it is inferred, there’s no law or legal obligation for the wealthy to behave in such a manner, which is why we see a completely different mentality today. It’s “grab all you can get, and then grab for more.” It’s all about me getting mine and the hell with you.

Such are the haves in a world of avarice and license, where regulations are stripped away (for the most part) and taxing the rich is presented as a net economic liability, because they are presented as the ones who provide the jobs. Hence, your President gave them $2 trillion in welfare that he borrowed on our behalf to “stimulate” the economy for his reelection in 2020. Donald Trump will be long gone after that debt comes due, so he could give a crap. Besides, the guy’s business acumen is in borrowing and not paying back.

My dad is rolling over in his grave.

These are the silk stockings of life in our world today. They could care less about the underprivileged, except when it comes to supporting their lifestyles, whether as cheap labor, service providers, or political puppets of every scale. And “underprivileged” is defined as anybody who’s not them, including some very good and hard-working people who want nothing more than peace and quiet in which they can raise their families. They are blinded by religion, emotions, and a lack of intellectual pursuits from determining when they’re being fed a heaping bowl of bullshit or not. Tasty bullshit, perhaps. Varnished to keep the smell down bullshit, for sure. And, perhaps even expensive bullshit, but it’s all bullshit just the same.

Make no mistake. Washington today is a silk stockings’ town. Actually, it’s been that way for a number of decades now, and at least partially to blame on a news media that doesn’t understand the basic reality the silk stockings represent. After all, when they grow up, they want to be just like them. But the silk stockings narrative badly needs exploration today as we face yet another four years of this fascist nonsense.

We need to change minds, and pointing to this disparity is the only way to do it effectively. We have no business whatsoever in aligning ourselves with the silk stockings, and I hope we hear a lot about it instead of the relentless pounding of progressive social justice. It’s not sufficient to pull voters away from the right wing nationalists represented by the GOP.

That’s my fear as the campaign begins to unfold. Who will be the first candidate to use the term “silk stockings” in their fight against Republican fat cats who smile all the way to the bank?

I won’t be holding my breath.

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