Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility
That’s the fundamental story that Republican operatives have been telling their constituents for decades, and it’s wrong.
For a long time, however, people believed it. Steeped in conservative ideals of limited government and the value of hard work, they were taught to believe that Democrats were largely blue collar workers, union lovers who would just as soon sit and watch a TV as do something.
The problem, of course, is that the premise is completely false.
The idea that people don’t want to work is outrageous. Our emerging start-up culture, and the history of companies from which it derives, should suffice as proof of this: Most people will put in 18 hour days if they think there is sufficient payoff.
But why do so many people believe this?
It would be easy to suggest that they’ve been indoctrinated into the belief, because in some cases that’s true.
It’s also true that they’ve probably seen friends and relatives enter the ranks of the long-term unemployed and they can’t – or won’t – understand why. A lot of it is about fear of ending up there.
But the real problem is that there really is a shift in our society toward unemployment as a way of life. Not because people want to be unemployed, but because businesses just don’t want employees.
There really is a shift in our society toward unemployment as a way of life. Not because people want to be unemployed, but because businesses just don’t want employees.
The capitalist agenda abhors employees. Employees are a drain on profits. If businesses could exist without any employees at all, they certainly would. In fact many of the most profitable companies in the world are holding companies – shell corporations – that are designed simply to move the profits from subsidiaries into offshore bank accounts.
What’s vexing to many workers – especially those in the high-tech industry – is that the performance improvement enabled by the technology they helped to create only encourages investors to feel righteous about divesting non-core businesses, laying off employees, cutting pay and benefits, shifting jobs to contractors or off-shoring them completely.
The tech industry has built the machine that that has made its workers obsolete. And, we saw that coming.
In fact, from our perspective, there’s really no question about how tech bubbles burst, how housing markets fail, how benefits disappear and jobs go off shore. We watched all of this develop.
We were doing the jobs of three, four, five or more people when our numbers came up.
We saw the short-sales of our houses coming.
We realized that without adequate insurance, we would go bankrupt paying medical bills for our kids.
And we shook our collective heads when the GOP put up a rich corporate investor as its presidential candidate.
It was the worst kind of joke.
It made all the GOP conspiracy theories and talking points and accusations against the left look like what they really were. Stupid.
And then, incredibly, we heard their candidate repeat these dubious assertions over and over again, sometimes lying directly to people who knew – who knew – the truth, because they lived it.
And it wasn’t just the tech community that saw this. The auto workers in Detroit got it. The steel workers got it. The Walmart employees who put in eight hour days for minimum wage and still need to get food stamps to survive, they got it.
Mitt Romney lost for one simple reason: His messages were just wrong.
It’s time for the GOP to rethink who it represents, and why.
Maybe then, it will begin to change it story to something that aligns closer to the truth.