Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Wee Bit of Schadenfreude

The word from the armchair political analysts and the corporate media pundits is  that Donald Trump won the election because he suckered the white working class into believing he will bring manufacturing jobs into the United States.  Under Trump everyone will be working well-paid jobs again.

This will never happen of course.  Manufacturing companies have nothing to gain by having their factories in the US where minimum wage laws and OSHA rules apply.  American corporations want to treat their workers in a standard most Americans would never accept.  Due to union busting over the past three decades, even if companies did bring their factories back to the US, manufacturing wages and benefits would not be any better than working at WalMart or McDonalds.

Trump has stocked his cabinet with billionaires like him (or actually I should say true billionaires who are far more successful than he is and even more ruthless).  They aren't going to care about the working class.  It will be business as usual with crony capitalism and concentration of wealth at the top.  Anyone who believes otherwise is kidding himself.

What about those of us who aren't working class?  What about us "Coastal Elites" who just happen to be liberal?  Will we suffer?

The fossil fuel industry is salivating over the Trump presidency.  He picked the CEO of ExxonMobil as Secretary of State.   He will open up the country to all the drilling and fracking the companies' hearts desire.  The oil industry is set to thrive.

You know what?  I happen to work in the energy industry.

Oil companies will be making money by the tankload.  They will have more money to invest in my company's services.  My company will do well.  My job is quite secure (unless I screw up personally). Yes, this liberal "nasty woman" will be able to maintain her middle class lifestyle quite nicely.

Lucky me.  I'm going to thrive under Donald Trump and I didn't even vote for him.

It will be business as usual for red state "Real America".  They thought they were getting their well-paying jobs back.  They are going to suffer just as much, while this liberal does just fine. 

Yes, I do feel a bit of schadenfreude about that. 

Schadenfreude is defined as a temporary feeling of pleasure at someone's misfortune.  I can take temporary pleasure in misfortune, but as a liberal I have too much empathy for others' misfortune to be happy for long.

I am filled with sadness for the Walmart greeters and burger flippers who are struggling to pay the bills on minimum wage and no benefits. I feel especially sorry for them when they find themselves relying on SNAP or Medicaid to care for their families, then hearing their fellow Republicans calling them "takers" and too lazy to work.  I wish they would understand that they are merely being Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin when they vote Republican and then wait for the money to trickle down to them.

The white upper classes - liberal and regressive - will continue to do well.  That is a given.  If we have any drop of humanity left in us, we will consider those who haven't done well without Trump and will continue to do worse in the next four years.  What about those Americans who don't fall into the privileged boxes?

The working class and poor will continue to suffer poor wages and no benefits.  They only benefits they can have - those provided by the government - will be cut or even eliminated.  How many people will go hungry?  What about the people who will no longer have healthcare?  How many Americans will die or go into deep debt?  Will more black Americans die under our ever-increasingly brutal police state?  Will gay Americans lose their basic rights over something as trivial as what they do in their own bedrooms?  (This article here says it better than I can.)

I had my moment of schadenfreude.  Now it's time for me to stop celebrating the benefits of my white, upper-class, privilege.  I leave that to the Republicans.

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