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Peggy Noonan ignorantly reports "America at the boiling point"

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posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 11:57 AM
So it's been a while since I've posted. I've been busy trading and making moola... but I digress...

I read an article today in the WSJ by Peggy Noonan, who evidently has no idea what blue collar workers think.

Here is the link to the article.

Here is the passage which I think highlights some amazing ignorance, and to a great degree arrogance:

The country I was born into was a country that had existed steadily, for almost two centuries, as a nation in which everyone thought—wherever they were from, whatever their circumstances—that their children would have better lives than they did. That was what kept people pulling their boots on in the morning after the first weary pause: My kids will have it better. They'll be richer or more educated, they'll have a better job or a better house, they'll take a step up in terms of rank, class or status. America always claimed to be, and meant to be, a nation that made little of class. But America is human. "The richest family in town," they said, admiringly. Read Booth Tarkington on turn-of-the-last-century Indiana. It's all about trying to rise.

What family did this woman grow up in? It wasn't representative of my upbringing for sure. Indeed, it isn't even representative of my father or mothers upbringing. The only thing that my father thought of when pulling up those boots, was getting home to a good meal and a nice case (yes case) of beer.

You see, my father, born in 33, came from a family of railroaders. He had a full sports scholarship but didn't take it because that was not a respected path in my family. Instead, the day after he graduated highschool, he was sleeping in a train car working on the railroad, just like his father. My cousin, who was the only one to become educated in our family, was looked down upon because she had left the tradition and actually went to college and then on to a career working with the Girl Scouts.

You see, for my father, the narrative was not about getting educated and making more money, it was a narrative of the honor and life that comes with hard labor. It never really made sense to me, but it is what it is. Once again, I'm not sure where Peggy Noonan gets her generalizations from.

As for my mother, (16 years my fathers junior), her Mother was the same way, though she cleaned houses. For my grandmother, there was no thought of her children going to college... and if they did, well fine, they would be paying for it themselves.

No for her, the most valuable thing was continued hard work without much reward other than a meal and a nice place to sleep. This narrative was so strong, that my mother made it clear to me that if I ever decided to go to college, it would be me paying for it, not anyone else. My mother eventually did become an RN (Registered Nurse) after joining school when I was 10.

Now my wifes family is much different. Her family, being african american, put a lot of stock in "america will be a better place for my children" mantra. But then again, you could only go up from the segregated jim crow south.

My point here is, that Peggy Noonan seems to be vastly out of touch with the midwest philosophy that shaped and continues to shape my family and the families of those I grew up with. Are there some folks who feel this way... sure. But none in the midwest that I grew up in. We are a working class people who don't put much stock at all in education, but in occupation. We are a very conservative lot, which don't accept change too easily...

It's nice that Peggy likes to fantasize that America feels the way she has depicted, but its pretty obvious that if she believes this blather, that she is incredibly out of touch with the America that my family has known for several generations.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 01:11 PM
My family thought the way the article talks.

My brother and I were the first of our family to graduate college. We were a blue collar family that believed in bettering itself.

My kids benefited in return. We placed a high value on education and both my children have masters degrees and it looks like my youngest may go for the PhD.

There is no one specific school of thought for all blue collar workers, but my family did believe in education.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 01:56 PM
reply to post by HunkaHunka

Your OP is nothing more than an anecdotal story with a sample size of exactly one that you are trying to expand into having us believe ALL blue collar workers think like they do in your family. Sort of like the people that claim there is or isn't global warming because it's hot or cold where they are right now.

Just perhaps Ms. Noonan had "a bit" more informational resources to draw on than you do in putting together her article? Ya think?

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 02:03 PM
Same here. I completely relate to the article. Maybe because the ahole traders that tanked the economy while they were finding new and devious ways to 'make moola' robbed me of my business, my savings, my credit and the ability to help my kids. My dad didn't have time to drink a case of beer. He was too busy working three jobs to help my older brother get through medical school and me through college.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 03:55 PM
Wow... I wasn't expecting the kind of responses I received but I'll try to expand on this a bit.

First, I'm not an ahole trader tanking anyone's economy. But I do place a value on money vs education. I, like the rest of my family, graduated from the school of hard knocks. I never went to college, but taught myself computers as a child, and it is a trade I have made my career. I'm currently a business owner with 15 employees.

Keep in mind though that I've been working a steady job since I was 10. Started with a paper route, and progressed like any other farm boy probably does, working the fields, going to market, factory work, etc.

Second, this is not an anecdotal story of one... no this is how both my mothers family, my fathers family, AND pretty much the entirety of the area I grew up in act/behave in relation to expecting a better life for their children.

For one, most of the villages (yes villages... not quite large enough for a town) from back home in Ohio, haven't changed much in half a century. The main streets still look like they did in the 40's. Of course I only had 75 kids in my graduating class.

The folks back home aren't exactly the "dreamer" type. Most folks graduate high school, then of those who aren't farmers, some of them go to college, and some of them go to work. And most of those who went to college, end up back there working similar jobs anyway.

I was always a rebel and a little off anyway, so I am one of the few exceptions that you can point to in that place. Personally I try to live my life in contradiction to these traditional thoughts... This is why Peggy's article hit such a chord with me... because she obviously has no idea what life in my small town in Ohio is like.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by HunkaHunka

She really isn't fantasizing, and her depiction is pretty accurate to what once was. Just because your family didn't really talk about it doesn't make the sentiment not true. It never had to be talked about really, for most of the preceding generation it was a given that you would do better than they had, because that was what happened here.

You didn't have to go to school because the general belief was if you work hard you would be able to find a job that you could support your family with. You would generally have it a bit better and a bit easier than they did. You could conceivably work your way up through experience and hard work.

As a nation we are at a place where we have not been for a long time. For the first time in around 100 years the current generation has failed to not only exceed but have trouble meeting the standard of life of the one that came before it.

We used to be a nation that built things. Our leaders sold out the long term welfare of this nation back in the 70's through the 90's to corporate interests. They deliberately siphoned all the nations wealth to the top and then said well it will all trickle back down. They didn't use those funds to invest back into the manufacturing in this country, they used it to invest overseas and once those facilities were ready they shipped off our jobs.

How do you have free trade with countries like Mexico? You can't the standard of living there was not equal to ours. Even now with our manufacturing based there they do not want those jobs. Why? Because those jobs do not pay what they paid here. So now you got us screaming about our boarder issues without people ever once realizing that even with our jobs sent across the boarder they still have a better shot at making a decent living here.

I fear for another situation like World War 2 to hit us because we will get our backsides handed to us rather quickly. Even with the Depression we had an advantage. The infrastructure to produce was still there, it may not have been used but it was there. Can we say that now?

We will never see true prosperity again until we see tariffs leveled and our government quits giving tax breaks to companies manufacturing outside of the US. We will never glimpse it again until our corporations quit chasing the maximum amount of profit possible, and get back to the maximum sustainable profit. Now we have a bunch of companies trying to sell goods to the broke ass poor and the corporate management can't seem to figure out when all the wealth is in the ever growing pool at the top, everyone else is more concerned with what they are going to eat.

We are tapped out or close enough near it. Why do think they were so quick to extend out credit to people they would never have 10 years ago? Because they were trying to get as much as they could before the house of cards came crashing down.

Henry Ford prided himself on the fact that he set out not only to build a car that the working American could afford to buy, but that he could afford to pay his workers enough to enjoy a comfortable living while doing it.

What does the average American want? They want their fair share of the pie. What does the top 1% want? They want everyone else's share and right now they have it.

And this article gets to the heart of it, if things continue to go like they are, it is only a matter of time that the underclasses do what they invariably always do, revolt.

[edit on 8/9/2010 by Jovi1]

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 07:28 PM
My grandparents and then parents thought much the same way...that it would be better for their kids. And it was better for my parents, and it was better for me and my sisters. But it's not for our kids. My grandparents and parents were immigrants, too, in case that might possibly be what or part of what makes the difference in this kind of thinking.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 07:57 PM
Noonan is obviously starting out from a middle class white background. Obviously many Native Americans, African Americans and a lot of blue-collar workers did not have the same sense of upward mobility. For a while, even blue-collar workers enjoyed a better stability - statistics show that a blue-collar worker in the 50's in America could buy his own house for about two or three months wages. By the 90's the same ratio was about 40 years, as far as I can recall.
A lot of the 50's stability probably had to do with winning the war against the Nazis and the Japanese as well as FDR's policies.
Anyone recall the song "Brother can you spare a dime"? That was from the Depression.
We are living through a similar time now.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 08:38 PM
WELL, it is kind of HARD for the next generation to make a better living when the current working generation is paying for a government that pays city managers 800k/year for a city of 35k. When the peeps find out and want to nail his hide to the wall, but only get to fire him, he gets a 600k retirement. Now, 1200 people have to work to just pay for this ONE guys retirement.

Yes, I believed I was going to be able to have a better life then my parents, but with the opening of the flood gates of immigrants forcing the wages to stagnate, and the government's monetary policy to force the value of the dollar down, how the hell is THAT going to happen?

For each and every government worker, 5-2000 people have to work to just pay for each LEECH in the government. That is what THEY are, leeches. I am not even talking about the welfare recipients. ALSO, who pays when that COP shoots someone in the back and the family wins a $50 million dollar settlement. Or paying for the police of the world. Or fining us for victimless crime. Or for licensing of every damn thing we do. Or the lawyers sucking the life out of all the profits of every aspect of business. Or the police state we pay for in our country, which I know I do not need and consider to be the jailers in our country prison. OR THE BANKSTERS in the federal reserve that purposefully destroy the economy and get bailed out. Or the corrupt politicians that do insider trading to game the system.

I think the author of the article got it kind of right, but the WHOLE problem is, the last generation HIPPIE COMMUNISTS want EVERY damn dime or labor we have. PERIOD.

I think that about is the jist of the situation!

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 08:53 PM
reply to post by HunkaHunka

Yeah, I'm with her. I'd be proud if I had had, at their age, the values my folks had. They knew as mere children, already married, that when attending Birch Society meetings there were marxists in the crowd, taking info. Now they're in power. They eventually wearied of saying things like 'unicef is a communist organization' to persons with notepads, tape recorders, though, and got caught up in the race. Ideologies are an expensive habit when you have kids at 24.

As for your 'success', my last trade came when a trader sold his shares ahead of me in line, for a penny more than my ask, to which scottrade said that's life, basically. I had a few hundred low price shares. Someone knew something, and it was all downhill after that. It sounds like you had an unusual upbringing. They held you down and you found a new low for survival. I didn't think you were going to go straight, after the opening line. Do you guys really drink ketel 1 vodka?

I think derivatives should be eliminated. You guys can short anything to oblivion, and cause anything to go up, eh? Can't say I get it. Maybe jealous. What it must be like to throw secrets around and hold back money at whim...

My folks put me to shame in terms of what they'd done to take care of business. I thank God they did what they'd done, even though they lost all political and ideological interest as time went by. I cannot see a flourishing economy for the average joe in my lifetime. Not anymore. There won't be any pensions either. We can sit back and enjoy 'how'd you get so rich' and all it's perversities today and all tomorrows, while bells toll in the background as pols set their sights on cap n trade. The environment is trashed for overall economic health, no matter how they show it on the telescreen. Just the script they've written could kill it, by it's intent to deliver.

Yeah...let's start a business!

[edit on 9-8-2010 by davidmann]

[edit on 9-8-2010 by davidmann]

[edit on 9-8-2010 by davidmann]

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 09:31 PM
Noonan is a corporate shill getting paid to wax poetically that Wall Street is the only thing thatll ever save us. She's an embarrassment to have to watch on the Sunday morning political shows. I read that crap. I could hear her whiny voice in it.


posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 09:42 PM
Pure bovine excrement!!!
You begin your post bragging about how much money you make and then proceed to bash one;s abiloty to climb the latter.

Based on your post, she grew up in your family - the one where your father struggled and YOU made the BIG money!!! SOunds like YOU stepped up in the world!

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:28 AM

Originally posted by kozmo
Pure bovine excrement!!!
You begin your post bragging about how much money you make and then proceed to bash one;s abiloty to climb the latter.

Based on your post, she grew up in your family - the one where your father struggled and YOU made the BIG money!!! SOunds like YOU stepped up in the world!

My father struggled because he didnt believe anything could be better. He died when I was 17, but not before he and I had many arguments about this very thing.

You all seem to miss my point. My family on both my mothers side and fathers side is full of blue collar cynics, who didn't believe in anything but death and taxes.

The only reason why I am affluent and no one else in my family is, is because I'm honestly one of the only optimists in my family. That and it was a rebellious thing. In order to have any authority in my family I had to make more money than anyone else in it.

It sounds like You all lived with a bunch of optimists unlike the folks in my family or from my small town in ohio.

Peggy still is missing the point when it comes to the farmers and factory workers from the midwest.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 02:36 PM
Wow, I wish I could applaud Noonan.

She perfectly nailed the world I grew up in, constantly being hammered by my parents about education and making a better life for myself. My Dad worked himself to exhaustion speciffically so that I wouldn't have to do the same. They never said "If you go to college" it was always "When you go to college." And, FWIW, I grew up mostly lower middle class. My dad was a laborer, my mom was mixed between a part time secretary and a housewife, depending on the economy at the time. I know what government cheese tastes like and I know the feeling of shopping at Goodwill for school clothes.

In my opinion, Noonan is far, far more in touch with the reality of the previous generation of middle class parents than the OP is. I have never known any parent who scoffed at the idea of their child getting an education rather than breaking their back for minimal pay. That sounds like a very twisted and, thankfully, rare opinion. Know the value of hard work, yes... want your kids to have to defeat themselves by busting ass for someone else their whole life, absolutely not.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 03:21 PM
One of the interesting things that I've noticed is that many of my children s high school friends have not gone on to find the success that my kids have. Most of those that haven't done as well, came from families that have greater financial resources then we had.

Perhaps their parents were encouraging them to follow their dreams and not encouraging them to be able to make a living as well.

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