I came across this tweet today from pundit Elisha Krauss and it got me thinking.
We had two fireplace/chimney experts over at our house this morning. Both 67, both considering retiring. Both told my husband he had an eye and a brain for the business and that “no one under 60 does this anymore.” Our generation needs guys like this. Where are skilled workmen?
— Elisha (@ElishaKrauss) December 7, 2021
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a story like this. In fact, I seem to be hearing it more and more these days. Education is universally recognized as key to a successful future, but in the decades since the birth of 60s activism, we’ve managed to make college the end-all-be-all of education, a singular path to prosperity.
To our sad detriment.
When I was in high school in the 90s, trade programs were a vital and regular part of our education curriculum. They were available in recognition of the fact that not every student is cut out for academic excellence. The system – at that time and in that place – did not simply give up on students who weren’t excelling in classroom subjects. Instead, we recognized that there might be a different avenue for them to pursue. The kids in the trades programs were bused to a local college a few times a week to participate in classes like woodworking, plumbing, and mechanics.
I admit that there was a certain stigma to the program. We were snotty little teenagers and many of us tended to look down on the type of person who was routed through the trades. But like most snotty little teenagers, we were eventually put in our place by the results. For the most part, the kids who went through the trades left high school and went right into the job market. They didn’t have student loans or years more of schooling. Many of them were able to work in the trades during summers and breaks. They always had money. They always had cars (that they could restore/fix themselves) and they were the ones you wanted with you when your car broke down.
They had the last laugh.
But now, like me, those people are getting older. As we hurtle towards retirement, the plumbers and the mechanics and the electricians are disappearing with no one on the horizon to replace them. This is not just a crisis of economy. It is a crisis that represents the erosion of the day-to-day quality of life for the average American.
The cost of repairs and upkeep for the things we need – heat, appliances, vehicles – only rises as the scarcity of providers grows. It creates a palpable shrinkage in prosperity, and thus, an increasing dependence on cheaper, lower-quality products that provide short-term relief from a problem but must be replaced more often. That can be a never-ending loop of despair when you are a low-income family – replacing one product with another just to get by until you can afford to replace that once it falls into disrepair and so on and so on.
Likewise, where do we think all those cheap, replaceable goods come from?
I’ll give you a hint…it rhymes with LeBron James. In a time when we should be extricating ourselves from the enemy that is the CCCP, we are instead becoming dependent on them. They fund nearly everything in American society these days, and that should scare us.
It’s logical to posit that a great deal of our decline into socialist chaos has to do with the fact that we’ve been funneling multiple generations of children into collegiate pursuits and simply writing off the rest. When Marco Rubio ran for President in 2016, he suggested in a debate that Americans need to widen the education path by providing more trade programs. Liberal media ridiculed him, the underlying sentiment being exactly what I thought as a snotty teenager…trades are for people who aren’t smart enough to study.
Coincidentally, the legacy media is basically a bunch of snotty teenagers and they’ve been proving it succinctly for the last five years.
Rubio was right. There have been entire swaths of children left behind, sacrificed to the altar of the Ivy League mentality. Liberals used to abhor Ivy League douchebags, now they are the Ivy League douchebags. They abhor the unwashed masses, who annoyingly seem to have minds of their own and insist on voting “against their own best interests.” Only the progressive left understands what is in the interest of the masses. After all, they’re the Ivy Leaguers…they’re smart.
They decry the trades because trade work is blue collar work and blue collar voters are an unpredictable demographic. Some are Democrat, some are Republican, and all live very different lives than the progressive elite. The shriveling of the trade class means the shriveling of those unpredictable blue collar voters. Fine by the progressives, but tragic for America.
Blue collar workers used to be the foundation of the Democrat platform. Politicians like Joe Biden still run on being the children of the blue collar workers they now despise. But the party has abandoned them, just like they’ve abandoned Black voters. Often those voters are one and the same. The Democrat party has very visibly chosen the side of Big Corporate and Big Pharma, leaving behind the people they used to claim as their own. Their COVID policies and vaccination demands have created trillions in wealth for a few choice companies. There is nothing “working man” about the party any longer.
Republicans need to go and get those voters. Conservatives need to be shouting the virtues of hard work and the trades class. It’s a recipe for a double whammy of success – rebuilding an America that does not solely depend on foreign goods and labor, and welcoming in disenfranchised voters looking for a political movement that will foster their chosen path in life.
A thriving industry of skilled workers is the key to a thriving and independent American future.