Blowing Horns And The Hard-Hat Riot September 2, 2023 Don’t Blow Your Horn At Old People — 90 seconds. The videos tab — the ultimate self-indulgence, an old guy blowing his own horn — is now more or less complete, including the one with David Letterman before he got famous. (Thanks to my unsung web mistress, Summer Sights, for the site upgrade and much else!) And now let’s talk about that riot. “Have a great Labor Day weekend and remember this holiday is brought to you by Democrats.” So read the subject line of an email blast I got yesterday. I’ve been reading The Hardhat Riot: Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution and, boy, is it relevant 53 years later. Pro-union Democrats have done so much for the working man — overtime! worker safety! the minimum wage! unemployment insurance! weekends! Medicare! Social Security! — with Republicans fighting every bit of it. Yet we’ve badly blown getting that message across, starting more than half a century ago, as this book vividly recounts. (Read Chapter 9!) Our policies have been mostly terrific for the white working class — and deservedly so. But the “deservedly so” part has failed to take its rightful place in our rhetoric (and perhaps in our consciousnesses), so focused have we been on righting the injustices suffered by women, people of color, LGBT+ people, Native Americans, poor children, and others dealt a particularly bad hand. White working guys, who did and do so much to build our roads and skyscrapers, the McMansions of the rich and the dorm rooms of privileged college kids — the farmers and truckers and dockhands and mailmen and grocers and tradesmen without whom white collar folks like me would be totally lost — these guys have been made to feel disrespected, looked down on, and unappreciated. Rarely on purpose, but that’s how they feel, and we are guilty of allowing it to happen. Again: not with our policies, which show MUCH greater respect for working white guys and their families than Republican policies do. But with some of the things we say — and some of the things we too often forget to say. Which the Right emphasizes at every opportunity. That Trump “loves the poorly educated” is only half their formula. The other half is their constant drumbeat that we are the party of “the elites.” It’s Trump — who stiffs contractors and under-pays undocumented workers at Mar-A-Lago — it’s Princeton and Harvard Law graduates like Ted Cruz — who are true friends of the white working class. Or so they have managed to persuade millions of good people. We need to honor those workers Monday and throughout the year, letting them know — and perhaps reminding ourselves — how much we respect their skills and value their hard work, often much harder than our own. Happy Labor Day! Have a great weekend.