First They Came For The Janitors…
January 04, 2011, 04:00 AM
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01/03/11 - A Reader Is Hoping That Some Day Americans Can "Come Out Of The Shadows"

From: "Engineer in Alabama" [Email him]

First they came for the janitors.

At one time janitors were unionized and made enough to support a family on one paycheck. But this cost the right people money. How dare a lowly janitor make so much money! You can get Mexicans to do the work for a fraction of the cost—the janitors must be lazy. So they broke the unions, imported foreign labor, and now janitors work multiple shifts to support their families in unheated garages. But I wasn't a janitor, so I said nothing.

Then they came for the factory workers. We're paying workers ten times what they make in China; we need to be globally competitive! How dare these fat unionized slobs make a good living when it would be so much more profitable to pay them a few dimes an hour! So they outsourced the factories to low-wage sweatshop countries, they tore up the contracts and benefits, gutted whole communities and our nation's industrial strength. But I wasn't a factory worker, so I said nothing.

Then they came for the scientists and engineers. We advertise for experienced software engineers at minimum wage and no benefits and we don't get Einstein! Americans must be lazy and stupid. So they imported massive numbers of foreign scientists and engineers, and started outsourcing advanced design work, and now even the most talented scientists and engineers are being forced into low-wage temporary jobs. But I wasn't a scientist or an engineer, so I said nothing.

Then they came for the public employees. Hey, everyone else is getting poorer, how dare people who clean the streets or check food quality or guide air traffic make a decent wage with benefits? So they trashed the public employee unions and tore up the contracts and slashed wages and gave the savings to Wall Street. But I wasn't a public employee so I said nothing.

And then they came for me. I thought I was special, but in the long run nobody who works for a living is. I recalled that once upon a time America had the highest wages in the world, and we gloried in it as proof of our greatness. Now we celebrate a steady descent into poverty as somehow wonderful and necessary: how did that happen?

I realize now that driving down wages enriches only a few: the profits from destroying the wages of all my fellow citizens somehow never made it into my pocket.

And as I contemplate losing my job, my house, my savings, my pension, my healthcare—all that I and the generations before me struggled to build—I realize that high wages are not a sign of laziness, they are the essence of prosperity, the goal of a successful and virtuous society.

But now there is nobody left to help me: the unions have been crushed or co-opted, the working class politicians driven out by smooth-talking corporate shills like Clinton and Obama, or corrupted by corporate money, or perhaps just given up in disgust at the futility of trying to help a people so willfully stupid that they will cut each other's throats while the bankers drain them dry.

"Engineer in Alabama" has written for VDARE.COM before, but, under the circumstances now wishes to be anonymous.