As I listened to Sarah Palin’s appeal to “the Hockey Moms and the Joe Six-Packs” of America, I couldn’t help but feel insulted - yet again! - by those who would claim the mantle of kinship with the working class.
“I’m just like you,” the politician-of-the-moment proclaims. “I’m not one of those pointy-headed intellectuals. I’ve got dirt under my fingernails.”
Yeah, and I’m dumb as a box of rocks, and I’m counting you being just as stupid.
As someone with solid working-class roots, and who has written about working class issues for 20+ years, I find the appeal to the “Joe Six-Packs” of the world to be highly insulting, not to mention dangerous.
Though the surface appeal is to hard work, and “family values” - whatever they might be - underneath is a siren cry to our baser natures, to our inner buffoon. We are slapped on the shoulders by politicians who chuckle and say, “I don’t like to read, either,” as if this should make us embrace them, rather than fear them.
It is an appeal to those who mutter under their breath about “educated idiots” in the workplace - but don’t realize that with a little education they could compete with the people they despise.
It is an appeal to those who have been taught - either by their parents, their church or by the genial liars on Fox News and talk radio - that the “mainstream media” is not to be trusted, and so they eschew most forms of information.
It is an appeal to those who fear the new, and the different.
It is an appeal to folks they believe can be easily and cynically manipulated.
But I have spent most of my adult life around the working class, and though I have met all-too-many of the above variety, I have known many who value education (for themselves and their children), and worry about health care, and can not be easily manipulated by cynical politicians who slap their back with one hand, and take away their financial lifeline with the other.
Most of the time, “Joe Six-Pack” is pejorative term, not complimentary at all. I have heard both conservatives and liberals use it, and a lot of the time they use it to mean people who are sort of beneath their attention.
But then again, there have been a lot of folks that some might describe as belonging to the Six-Pack family out in force this year, listening to candidates, and registering to vote, educating themselves on the issues.
I doubt many of them will be taken in by yet another manipulative politician.
Quote of the Day
I cling to my imperfection as the very essence of my being. - Anatole France