When I went to pick up my laundry last week, one of the employees, who had just finished folding my clothes, began weeping. “This is the last load I’ll ever do here,” she said in a choked voice. “They’re letting us all go.”
That one little stifled sob described more than just one woman bemoaning the loss of her job. In it was the relentless cry of the average American who is increasingly crushed by the ignorance of our elites.
I’ve known this woman and her coworkers for over a year. When I found out it cost me only a few bucks extra to have them do my laundry, a task I dislike, I told myself, “I’m never washing clothes again.” Ever since that day, one of these women, whom I always tip generously, has performed that chore.
And now the new owner of the laundromat is getting rid of them.
All these women are at least 60 years old. One of them, in fact, was working there at age 86 until she had a fall at home. They’re overweight and out-of-shape, and as country as pickup trucks and hound dogs. Some have worked at the laundromat for more than 20 years.
I’m going to miss these women.
A friend wondered aloud whether the new owners might offer to retrain them for another job, which caused me to laugh bitterly. “That’s for corporations and management,” I said. “In their eyes, people like these ladies are trash.”
An excellent analysis of the war the elites and our politicians are waging on the poor and the middle class is seen in Christopher Bedford’s “A Seven-Day Journey Through the Revolt Against the American People.” He points out the many abuses our elites committed during the Wuhan Virus shutdowns, as well as their responsibility for the skyrocketing crime rates in our country, their indifference to our children’s terrible school experiences during the pandemic closures, and their blithe termination of thousands of jobs in our fossil fuel industry.
“The top echelons of society don’t know, or they don’t remember, what it’s like to work by the hour,” Bedford rightly notes, “and they don’t care about the people who do.”
Later he writes, “Every single day, more and more Americans are finding their lives held hostage by the ideology of an elite that has the privilege of avoiding nearly all consequences for its own actions.”
Bedford is right on-target here. It wasn’t the rich who suffered unemployment and homes lost to foreclosure during the pandemic. It wasn’t the elites whose children received a lousy education when the schools closed. It isn’t our wealthy politicians who live in the foul, dangerous neighborhoods of our inner cities.
Yet on they go, ordering the rest of us about like the serfs some of us are becoming, blind to the suffering of so many of our citizens, or worse, throwing money at problems that instead demand a commitment to make the American Dream available to the kid on the street in Detroit or to the girl living in a trailer park in Sylva, North Carolina.
In “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the Frank Capra classic, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) delivers a fiery speech to some businessmen, including the wicked and powerful Mr. Potter, about the common folk of their town, Bedford Falls. Here’s a part of his outburst that’s relevant to the divide in our country today:
Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”
For the last 18 months, and particularly since January of this year, we’ve seen many Americans treated like cattle. No, worse than cattle, because ranchers or farmers care about the health and safety of their livestock.
Our elites’ disassociation from the reality of the life lived by the rest of us comes in part from a conviction of superiority. In the article “The Dangers of Ego in Leadership,” on the executive training website Kashbox Coaching, the author writes that a leader’s inflated ego comes from “a sense of superiority and certainty that exceeds the bounds of confidence and talent.” It is this kind of egotism, which some might call narcissism, that reigns in our ruling class. The members of that class and many of their followers believe they have the right to dictate to the rest of us because they think of us as their inferiors. “Because of the need to protect their sense of superiority,” the executive coach tells us, “egotists are disconnected from the world, often naïve about its workings.”
Ignorance of the law, as the saying goes, is not an excuse. Nor is ignorance of those one wishes to govern. Someday—maybe not now, maybe not soon, but someday—a reckoning is coming for these people.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.