Sunday, September 17, 2017

Forty Years

Forty years ago Donald Trump was 31 years old and had just bought the first of his many properties in New York City. Forty years ago Hillary Clinton had just married a guy named Bill. And forty years ago Youngstown, Ohio had a population of 150,000. On the morning of September 19, 1977, Youngstown residents were living the American Dream and 5,000 of them were working at the local steel mill. But at the end of the day all 5,000 workers were out of work and northeastern Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania was starting to rust. The owners of the Youngstown steel mill said they had to shut down because they couldn’t compete with the “better steel plant technologies” in China and Japan. It is estimated that during the next two decades more than half a million steel workers and support industry owners and employees lost their jobs and businesses.
Nearly forty years after those 5,000 people lost their jobs, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton decide to run for President of the United States, the population of Youngstown, Ohio has shrunk by almost 100,000 people, and many of those half a million people living in the rust belt vaguely remember what it was like to live the American Dream.
During the last forty years there have been seven different presidents living in the White House. One of those presidents, instead of creating rust belt workers, shipped thousands of good paying jobs overseas when he signed the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Another president, instead of helping the depressed rust belt during the Great Recession, bailed out his banking buddies on Wall Street. And then there was the president who, instead of calling hard working folks in the rust belt Americans, thought it was accurate to label them as “bitter clingers” because they liked their Bibles and their guns.
Then along comes the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump recognized the tough times and frustrations the rust belt and the rest of middle America had been experiencing. So he went to the rust belt and middle America and talked to them and convinced them he was going to “Make America Great Again”. Hillary Clinton on the other hand, instead of talking to middle America, thought it was more important to go to cocktail parties in The Hamptons and Palm Springs and talk to her elitist friends. And as far as Hillary Clinton was concerned, if you weren’t invited to any of those cocktail parties you were “deplorable”.
And forty years from now half the people in America will still be scratching their heads wondering why Donald Trump lived in the White House and Hillary Clinton didn’t.