On my website I talk a lot about the “common man” (a group which today would undoubtedly include women and should thus probably be referred to as the “common person”), maybe because, being born in the 1830s as I was, my point of reference goes back to the days of Andrew Jackson, our 7th President and a champion of the common man. (It’s funny how the “common man” sounds noble and dignified, while the “common person” sounds crude.) Maybe that’s why today so many use the term “working people.”
These days, of course, as a slaveholder and someone who committed genocide against our country’s first inhabitants, Jackson’s held in such low esteem that it’s easy to forgot what he did to promote egalitarian democracy in our country. Don’t misunderstand, holding him accountable for his sins is long overdue, and I’ll be happy to see him replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, but we still owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for making sure our country isn’t ruled by an aristocracy. Now, however, almost two-hundred years since Jackson was swept into office by common men (remember, women couldn’t vote back then), the aristocracy is raising its ugly head again.
Thanks to globalization, automation, and technology, the aristocracy, what’s now called the “1%” (despite its rapidly shrinking toward .01% and beyond!), has working people so desperate to maintain their supposedly “middle class” existence that they’re willing to grovel and turn a blind eye. That’s what they do in exchange for the crumbs they received as part of the Trump tax cuts. (Nancy Pelosi got in trouble for calling the tax breaks for the middle class “crumbs,” but that’s all they are, crumbs!) Promise me a job, give me a raise, take a little less out of my paycheck, and you’ll earn my undying loyalty. Give us some crumbs and we’ll ignore what’s going on right in front of us. And there’s plenty going on!