This article arrived in my inbox today and the timing could not have been more serendipitous.
I’ve been troubled recently, with misgivings about the tactics and rhetoric of the current progressive political movement – protest marches, sit-ins, teach-ins, rallies and yes, even bumper stickers (for which I have an unabated soft spot.) None of these old-school approaches to social change appear to be very effective in a world that has changed dramatically since the anit-war movement of the 60’s and 70’s.
Even the re-circulated emails I receive from like-minded individuals and political leaders are often filled with personal anecdotes and horror stories that cannot be verified. I know these messages are meant to alarm me, push me to action. But, if someone with my political bent is only moved to delete the message because it seems more urban myth than fact – who is going to take it seriously?
Based on my observations from the Barbara Ehrenreich reading last night, the answer to that question is middle-class, middle-aged and older white folk (and, sorry, mostly men) who can talk forever without saying anything. I found it an embarrassment.
The subject of Ehrenreich’s latest book – “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream” – takes on the corporate world and examines the sad future of the unemployed white collar worker trying to break back into the job market after downsizing, right-sizing, whatever one wants to call it.
The audience should have been filled with women, college students, people in their 20’s and 30’s, people from the suburbs, black people, brown people. Instead, it was mostly the same old-same old lefty crowd with the looniest lefties running off at the mouth.
Something is terribly wrong here. I hate to admit it, but a bumper sticker isn’t going to solve the problem.