The telling phrase came when Obama turned away from the thank-yous and patriotic hymnals into the guts of his remarks. “Despite all our differences,” he transitioned, “most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.” The key term here is “most,” as opposed to “all”—“most” meaning less than 100 percent and possibly as little as 51 percent. He attributed to most Americans a desire for great schools, a desire to limit debt and inequality: “a generous America, a compassionate America.”
Obama then proceeded to define the American idea in a way that excludes the makers-versus-takers conception of individual responsibility propounded by Paul Ryan and the tea party. Since Obama took office, angry men in Colonial garb or on Fox News have harped on “American exceptionalism,” which boils our national virtue down to the freedom from having to subsidize some other sap’s health insurance. Obama turned this on its head. “What makes America exceptional,” he announced, “are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” Obama invoked average Americans living out this ethos of mutual responsibility (such as a “family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors,” the example of which stands at odds with the corporate ethos of a certain Boston-based private-equity executive). And even the line about red states and blue states began with the following statement: “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions."
Presumably more was at work here than mere uplift. The president was establishing the meaning of his victory. Even in the days leading up to Tuesday, clouds of dismissal had already begun to hover overhead. The election was “small,” in the words of one story in the conventional-wisdom-generating machine Politico, and “too narrow and too rooted in the Democratic base to grant him anything close to a mandate,” in the words of another. “I don’t think the Obama victory is a policy victory,” sniffed Romney adviser Kevin Hassett. “In the end what mattered was that it was about Bain and frightening people that Romney is an evil capitalist.”
Look, I have long been of the opinion, that I've used as a punchline over and over, that the Class War was what rich folks invoke the second that they recognize they are outnumbered. And they do. Poor pitiful us--the wealthy. Why are we regulated and taxed? Aren't we job creators? Aren't we doing it right?
Well, sometimes. Sometimes the job creators create jobs, and sometimes they do positive things. But let's take a look now at some of the more butthurt denizens of Team Richie Rich and how they mean to treat their employees:
Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”
Mr. Murray is butthurt that somehow, having invested in buggy-whips, he finds himself in the age of the steam-engine. And he means to whip the employees until they bring buggies back.
On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a “war on coal” by the Obama administration. Although that charge was repeatedly leveled during the election, energy analysts say that the coal-mining business is suffering because of competition from low-cost natural gas and rising production costs of coal, especially in the Appalachian region.
Also, one might take a look at the restaurant industry--please go Google any large chain you may find your tastebuds slumming at. Many mean to boycott profitability because they can't bear the mere pennies of profit insuring their workers would entail--also, did you know the people who handle your food don't have sick days--because that is important. There might be people wwho are sick, afraid of missing hours of pay, and unable to get medical care.
Vote with your feet and wallet and tastebuds, here--no Applebees, Papa Johns, or any of them. Until they treat their employees like real people with bodies.