Republicans love pushing easy to regurgitate rhetoric because it’s much easier to brainwash people with simple catch phrases than it is to inform them of complex issues. Doubt me? Just watch a WWE event and see which wrestlers are most popular – the ones with catchy catch phrases. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, Daniel Bryan – all wrestlers with extremely popular catch phrases. Ironically, wrestling is most popular in the South, which is where conservative ideology is most popular as well.
A big line Republicans love to use is “we need to get back to traditional American values.” And to be honest, they’re right to a certain extent. But when they say that, they really don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.
What are “traditional values” anyway?
Years ago unions were much stronger, taxes were much higher and we had far more protections for workers than we did corporations. People earned enough that both parents didn’t have to work. Want to talk about solidifying family values? Look at all the households where both parents are working 50-60 hours a week and their children are being raised by daycares or babysitters.
That’s what many Americans workers have to deal with in the day and age of “trickle-down” economics. Once we allowed greed to rule our economy, that destroyed everything. We were fed this lie that hard work and dedication will payoff. That’s not true. There are millions of Americans who bust their asses working tons of overtime or two or more jobs just to get by – just to survive.
Meanwhile the company for which they work continues to make record profits, executives for those companies continue to pull in salaries that were unheard of decades ago and every year they get richer while the rest of us work harder but get less.
That’s trickle-down economics.
Family values began to die when we created a society where business is no longer based on ethics, but profits. Where employees aren’t valued assets, they’re expendable expenses. Where a company “projects” $30 million in revenue, only makes $25 million and that company sees that as a “loss.”
And guess who suffers thanks to that “loss”? The employees. Thousands are laid off while the ones kept are asked to work more for the same amount of compensation. Meanwhile the executives of those companies continue to raise their own salaries and compensation packages.
Decades ago people didn’t have to work 50-60 hours per week. Both parents didn’t have to work full-time jobs. Companies wanted to take care of their workers because they realized happy workers are productive workers.
Now many businesses don’t care about their employees. They see them as a number. All they care about is, “Is this employee’s production helping us generate more revenue?” If the answer is no, that employee either needs to work harder and longer or they’ll be replaced or eliminated.
Most people work with a constant fear of losing their job. Working hard for a company for 20 years doesn’t matter. If anything, to that company, you’re a higher paid employee so they’ll likely force you out with an early retirement package if they can. Loyalty means nothing. If it’s the higher paid employee of 20 years or the new 23 year old fresh out of college who’ll do the job for 20% less, they’re probably going to lean toward the cheaper expense. Because, again, employees aren’t assets – they’re expenses.
Traditional American values died the moment we let trickle-down economics become the driving force behind all of our economic decisions. That’s when revenue, profits and greed became the driving force behind our economy.
That’s when traditional American values died. When parents have to decide to spend less time with their families because their jobs required them to work 60 hours per week, otherwise their employer would find someone who will. When vacations became shorter and shorter to the point of being virtually non-existent for many families. When weekends became working weekends. When baseball games, dance recitals and family dinners took a back seat to late meetings, deadlines and maximizing production. That’s when traditional American values died.
So when Republicans talk about the death of American values, they need to look in the mirror – because their party laid the groundwork for killing them.