February 23, 2008, speaking in Youngstown Ohio – Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists made a prediction about Barack Obama’s abilities to fight the Republicans and other politicians of the useless persuasion.
I supported Barack Obama. Tom Buffenbarger was right. I was wrong.
Saying that, I should include some reflection upon Buffenbarger’s speech. I remember it well. Enjoyed it – and rejected his analysis for a couple of reasons. They’re still valid.
He appealed – as he should – to the class base of his union and supporters. I fit that definition perfectly. Working class through and through, born in a factory town, a union member [and organizer] all the years I worked in American factories.
Lattes? Most Italian-American workers grew up in families that drank lattes and espresso. I’m half-Italian.
Prius-driver? Well, I drive a 16-year-old pickup truck; but, I worked construction the last years before I retired, it was part of my tool kit. I’d much rather have a Prius, nowadays; but, I can’t afford one on my social security check.
Birkenstocks? Ain’t wearing sandals on the factory floor or a job site. More often work boots with safety toes. Like most old farts, I wear sneakers, now.
Trust-fund babies? I live next to a town full of ’em. But, I spent half my life in factories or building homes. Most of the men and women I worked with voted for Barack Obama. He said what we needed to hear. And college students aren’t trust-funders anymore. They’re the children of working class families who have gone into debt to try to get an education that gets the kids out of the factory and into a profession. That’s something equally prideful.
Hillary also said what we needed to hear – and frankly – I would have been equally happy to work for Hillary as Obama for president. Either would have been a 180 degree turn from the bigoted, mean-spirited, chickenhawk, upper-crust crooks that led our nation into wars of self-destruction and the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
As American Democrats, neither one would do anything other than the bidding of Israel in the Middle East. Make no mistake there. As American Democrats, they both would have fought for the same legislation that has succeeded in getting past the Party of NO.
As a Black man who worked his way into political leadership as an American intellectual, Obama was a giant step forward for our nation. As a white woman who worked her way into political leadership as an American intellectual, Hillary would have been a giant step forward for our nation.
And I now sincerely believe she would have known better how to confront the reactionary, bigoted, corrupt politicians – Republican and Democrat – who continue to oppose any progress for the people of this land even after they damned near destroyed it with their allegiance to 19th Century political ideology.