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As life-long member of the American middle class and a 30 year veteran teacher, I have a question?

In the last presidential election the middle class in the Rust Belt and the Coal states claimed that American politicians and America in general forgot them.

So here's my question: How much responsibility do these same middle class workers bear in their own fate by refusing to accept re-training opportunities when offered over the years, and in demonizing education as not necessary?

Left me qualify my question by offering some observations. Many of the middle class workers who complained so vociferously in the last election made several significant decisions in their life.
1) They disdained the importance of education as unnecessary as they determined to follow family tradition and go into the factory line in the Rust belt areas, and the coal mines in the coal states. Afterall, these industries paid good salaries and education was not important to be successful in these industries (not referring to management or R&D);
2) They banked on the misguided assumption that these industries would always be around and relevant. They didn't anticipate the movement of businesses offshore or to other counties;
3) In coal country they assumed that the supply of coal would not run out (despite being told since 1968 that coal is a finite commodity and a nonrenewable resource) and that coal would always be relevant in their lifetime as the primary energy source in America;
4) When faced with government pronouncements of a pending shift in manufacturing economics and a shift in energy reliance, they refused to accept offers of re-training, instead insisting that they will take their chances i their present job, rather than make a move forward.

In my opinion they fortold their own fate, in so far as opportunities were extended and warnings were issued, but summarily ignored. A similar argument could be made for the oil and gas industry.

By t1nick8
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4 comments

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Oil and gas are so subsidised that many fields would not be economical if this did not happen.
I believe this is why America has the electol system you do, so the heavily populated cities don't always determine elections.
Rather than blame the uneducated, the educators failed to get the retraining message out, and politicians failed to prepare for that day those industries disappeared.

powder Level 8 Mar 9, 2019

When do the middle class have to accepth their responsibilities for their decisions. As an educator, we have been trying to get the word out for the entire 30 years I've been teaching. Really, we tried, but it fell on deaf ears.

It was easier to follow daddy and grandaddy onto the factory floor or into the mines and collect a decent paycheck. Why worry about the inevitable and the future. After all, it won't happen in my lifetime. Right.

The good ol' boy, screw education, ignorance is cool movement that began publically during Reagan's second run for office has helped put us in the position we find ourselves. The country movement has left us behind the rest of the western world. When elected Republican Congressman espouse a college education as a thing to be avoided and despised, what do you expect. I wholeheartedly support vocational training as well as a post-secondary academic education. But the complete rejection of education that has arisen over the last 30 years is disheartening.

@t1nick it is disheartening, but I don't think one party should cop all the blame. A lack of vision and communication from the powers that be is also a factor.
Without admitting flaws, improvements will not be made.

@powder. Agreed, but the trend I've seen in this last election was an abrogation of all resposibility by the middle class blue collar crowd ( of which I grew up in) of all responsibility.

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SOME of the people ignored the warnings and stayed where they were. I'm in a coal state, and the population has been declining for years. What happens here is that the kids that go to college leave the state to get decent jobs that do require education. I left for California in my mid 20s and got into the computer field. I was able to come back home after about 10 years, and was lucky enough to continue my career here and remain close to family. So yes, SOME people helped to bring on their own fate while others did not.

The brain drain from some areas is a real problem. Kids go off and don't see a future back at home. Take their expertise and knowledge elsewhere.

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There is no 'middle class'. Never has been one. In a capitalist society, all work is done by the working class (or 'proletariat'smile009.gif. All wealth is the product of Labor. When the capitalists start 'outsourcing', only the capitalist class ('bourgeoisie'smile009.gif is to blame. The attitude of the bourgeoisie is "So, vote with your feet!", meaning workers should move to another part of the country, if they don't like things. The anarchist, Emma Goldman, had a different view. She told workers: "Ask them for work. If they won't give you work, ask them for bread. If they won't give you bread, then TAKE the bread!".

You appear more fringe than I am. Lol

and if they won't give you bread then you'll have to eat cake.

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Very good post!

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