Labor Left in the Lurch

Even though the Democratic Party enjoys the strong support of most labor unions, it is as clear on Labor Day 2022 as it has ever been that the American left has no use for Americans who make a living with their hands, particularly if those hands are white and masculine.

American politics have been moving in this direction since at least the early 1970s, when television’s Archie Bunker became the representative of working-class America. Archie was a figure of derision for the show’s creators and the American left, but not evil incarnate: It is impossible to build a popular TV show around a character with no redeeming characteristics. Indeed, many working-class Americans identified with Archie: My dad’s parents loved Archie’s jokes, and I remember the local JCPenney filled with “Archie Bunker for President” paraphernalia in 1972.

Archie’s heirs have not fared so well. Barack Obama’s smug dismissal of “bitter” working-class whites “clinging to guns or religion” was topped by Hillary Clinton’s declaration that half the Republican electorate held views so “deplorable” that no politician should seek their votes. But Obama’s and Hillary’s views of working-class whites look like the stuff of greeting cards compared to Joe Biden’s.

Against an ominous red and black background, Biden declared that “MAGA Republicans” represent “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” Biden accused them of, among other sins, “obsess[ing] about the past” and being “white supremacists and extremists.” In a speech stating that “[t]here is no place for political violence in America, period, none, ever,” not one word was said about the riots caused by Black Lives Matter or Antifa. In fact, it is clear, from this speech and others, that the “extremists” Biden denounces are always found on the right, are invariably of European ancestry, and generally make a living by working with their hands.

Biden grounded his speech in the claim, baldly stated, that “America was an idea.” This abstraction is convenient. If America is merely “an idea,” allowing whole sections of the country to be overrun by foreigners or to collapse economically need not be a matter of concern. In fact, those events—regarded as calamities by people living in countries that aren’t just “ideas”—might even be good things if the foreigners are more amenable to “the idea” than the natives were and if the vanished prosperity had been somehow at odds with “the idea.” In Biden’s view, everyone and everything in America is expendable—except, of course, the political system that, in practice, allowed Biden to become a millionaire many times over, despite spending virtually the entirety of his working life in “public service.”

Anyone with half a brain knew that Biden’s election-year paeans to Scranton, Pa., were as phony as Bob Dole’s tributes to Kansas. But at least Dole’s phoniness was limited to a desire to spend the rest of his life in D.C. instead of in Wichita or Topeka. Biden’s phoniness reveals something much worse than hypocrisy.

By seeking ultimately to eliminate fossil fuels, Biden has slated numerous industries and communities for economic extinction. By repaying college student loans up to $10,000, Biden is transferring wealth to an academic-industrial complex, many of whose members are already unbelievably rich and whose raison d’etre has become the dissemination of leftism. By allowing millions of new illegal immigrants to cross an undefended southern border, Biden is lowering wages and accelerating a demographic transformation that will make whites a minority for the first time in America’s history by the 2040s.

In other words, the might of the federal government is now being channeled to make it impossible for anyone ever again to live in a predominantly white, blue-collar city like Scranton, where Biden was born in 1942, where coal mining once thrived, and where the population has already dropped by nearly half of what it was then.

This is not what Labor Day, which became a federal holiday under Grover Cleveland, was intended to celebrate. Before the most powerful unions became those representing government employees and “educators,” no candidate backed by traditional labor unions would have tolerated transferring wealth from those who didn’t attend college to those who did. Eliminating coal mines, oil wells, gas fields, and internal combustion engines would have been seen as madness; so too with unlimited immigration. As the American Federation of Labor’s first president, Samuel Gompers, noted, “the greater the number of immigrants the less American the United States becomes.… Foreigners now in this country should be assimilated before others are permitted to come.”

As Biden and the left continue to shun and disdain such advice, how long before Labor Day is replaced by “National Drag Queen Story Weekend”?

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