Friday, February 27, 2009

My Cousin Gregory and Me....

Like most self-styled White Ethnics (Urban, Catholic, Southern and Eastern European immigrants Descendants) my family abandoned the Democratic Party in the late 1960's. It was a combination of factors that lead to this change; for my family it was white flight, changing neighborhoods, defeat in Vietnam and taxes. The result was for for most of the 1970's and 80's we all bought into the Reagan Revolution.
For people of my age, I am 41, Reagan will in many ways always be the image of "The President" I was 13 when he was elected and 21 when he left office. The tomes and tropes of the Reagan Revolution resonated with my age bracket and my social group. To this day people my age are more Republican than any other group.
Something happened however over the past 20 years since the end of Reagan and this is embodied by the development of me and my cousin Gregory. Greg and I are the same age and almost everyday I get from him Facebook Posts about how stupid President Obama is and how he is destroying our nation. Greg still thinks that Reaganism is the way things should be.
The difference between Greg and I is that he went to work at the beginning of his career on Wall Street and I went to work in Business Publishing. On Wall Street the mentality is focused on making as much money as possible and not really caring about anything else. Greg is a good guy but he believes fully that government is the problem . Unions, Regulation, Poor People, and others are basically tax eaters who are lazy and shiftless and that if you fail or even if you are having a rough time your medicine is your medicine.
Because I went to work in Events and Business Publishing, where the money is not so plentiful I saw what this mentality meant to companies. My first company was Miller Freeman Inc. A great place to work which still had some of the old school ethos of the 1950's. It was a place that really rewarded hard work and valued its employees. In 2000 however MFI was purchased by Nielsen and that Ethos was ended forever.
I then worked at a series of companies and dot.coms that were owned by various private equity companies. What I learned is that unbridled capitalism means that if you are not in a position of power you are powerless.
While Greg was paid handsomely for creating paper and faux products on Wall Street I created Trade Shows and Media Publications but what I created that was real and did not measure up to the paper traded on Wall Street.
In the world created by Ronald Reagan and his Disciples created things are bad and assets are virtual. Flint, Michigan or Kanapolis, NC, are examples of waste and fat unions, not the destruction of good jobs and families and industries.
For my cousin Greg what President Obama is trying to do is Socialism. The free market like natural selection needs to be allowed to work and the strong need to be left alone to prosper.
After my 11 years in business I have come to a different conclusion. The only way that the American middle class person will be able to survive in the future is if our government advocates for us. In a global economy no company or employer will really sacrifice for his or her employees and will give as little as possible for those employees unless our government says what they need to do.
This fact has consequences. When and American loses her job or has a health care crisis the odds of them losing everything they own is very high. For most middle class Americans paying for college is a pipe dream.
The only advocate that we have in these things is the government.
President Obama has said that Gordon Gekko is not our ideal. He has challenged the mentality that making as much money for yourself regardless of the cost is the right judgement. He has said that Education and Healthcare need to be affordable. These are not what Wall Street and people conditioned like my Cousin Greg are used to hearing.
For 20 years morality has meant personal morality. President Obama has said to this mentality
enough and has said no we as a people will make choices and they will be decided on what benefits the most people.
For President Obama Morality is Public and not Pelvic- this is alien to Wall Street.
People on Wall Street are not happy but you know it is about time that people who live in Peoria, Flint, Kanapolis and other places had a president.
Ronald Reagan R.I.P.

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