Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Movies and Real World Politics

By Jean Mavrelis - 09.13.2010

Movies like On the Waterfront, Grapes of Wrath, Norma Rae, and Erin Brockovich are etched on the psyche of baby boomers like myself.

The theme of all of them strike the same chord: working people who take a stand and fight back against a system that serves everyone’s interests but theirs.

Great stories for movies–the heroic efforts of  individuals, families or communities prevailing against great odds. The theme continues to resonate and sell tickets.

But it would be nice to have government and the system once in a while work for the have nots and not always or only for the haves and those who lobby for them.

It may not make much of a story for a movie, but it would sure help average working  people living next door.

That’s why I was so heartened by Obama’s latest stand, taking on the Republicans, in discontinuing Bush style tax cuts for the rich but keeping them for the middle class.

He also hit the nail on the head in identifying what is a major difference between Republicans and Democrats in terms of America going forward.

Republicans will likely grow the economy for rich Americans, and for Americans with big stock portfolios, but they will do it by sending jobs overseas, at the expense of American workers.

Democrats are protecting a U.S. middle class. Republicans are protecting money at the expense of American workers.

I was at a barbecue over the weekend where my liberal family members were complaining about Obama.  Maybe Jonathan Chait is right about Democrats’ biggest problem being liberals.  I thought Obama was fabulous in his speech from Ohio.

We are looking at a midterm election that pits the “Smiths” against the “Grabowskis” — the upper class against the working class.

Obama is working to reward companies that keep jobs in the U.S., provide health care for the everyday man, pass a job infrastructure bill, and promote good education for all.

These efforts undermine the Smiths who want to grow the economy in terms of dollars, not in terms of the well being of most American citizens.

The Republicans would boost the economy by helping those who make over $250,000, and have big stock portfolios.

“Trickle down” economics doesn’t work. But the myth –promoted by those who would keep wealth in the hands of the few– keeps it alive, and gains support from people who support it even though it works against their economic self interest.

I also vote against my own economic self interest but in a different way.

I grew up in a union family, and labor stories have shaped my values. So my vote goes for the working class whether my stock portfolio takes a hit or not.

It may be inevitable within our capitalist-run oligarchy that big business will make its money in the global market and send jobs abroad, and the middle class will suffer for a couple of generations until we hopefully switch over to a clean energy, service economy.

In the meantime, I vote for making it easier on the Grabowskis.

2 Responses so far

This was one of those OMG moments when I read this Blog. There was nothing to disagree with! Everything you had to say was right on the button as far as I was concerned!! Go Jean!!

It is a pleasure to read blogs such as these that demonstrate sanity – that is very much needed in todays political climate in Washington.

As we all know a lot of people have lost jobs and times are hard. What I don’t understand is why everyone is so quick to blame this administration for a compilation of things that were already in the works before they took office. Bush spent eight years in office, Obama has been in office for a little over a year and a half. It is too early to determine whether or not president Obama’s policies and his administration as a whole are bad for the country. I have not come across anything that clearly proves that what he is doing now is really affecting us in a negative way. Yet, voters, Tea-Par-tiers, republicans are going back to their encapsulations, keeping themselves in a close-minded bubble, and yet somehow find the right to judge everything that is going on on the outside of their bubble. Given the economic crisis we have plunged into, it is too early to know what will happen. How about we give this administration a chance and keep ourselves away from bias barriers.

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