In A Pigs Eye... or Maybe Its Arse!
It seems clear that the GOP white-wing is looking backward to the days when white men ruled with few questions asked. They owned it all and lived like royalty while the rest of the country barely survived. This is what they see as the good old days. Let's not forget that any politician over the age of 70 had parents who were most likely born in the early 20th century, and that is the foundation of their philosophy. The 117th Congress is made up of a lot of these older people. I lifted the chart above from CNN for those reading this online; you audio folks need to know the chart shows that almost half of the House members and just over half of the Senate are 65 or older. Under the seniority rules in Congress, these people are typically in a position of of power and authority.
Was life better in the second decade of the 1900s? Let's look at a headline from The Atlantic in February 2016: "America in 1915: Long Hours, Crowded Houses, Death by Trolley". With grammatical editing only, more specifically;
- Manufacturing workers averaged 55 hours at work per week, 10 percent more than self-reported averages today. And the jobs were more dangerous: With a fatality rate of 61 deaths per 100,000 workers, the workplace was about 30 times more dangerous than it is today.
- Women were much less likely to work, and in 1915, many found employment at elementary and high schools. Female teachers were seen as more loving and would do what male principals told them while accepting less than a man's wage.
- For the elderly, those who did make it to old age, Social Security didn't exist, and poverty among the old was so dire that contemporaries wrote of growing old as if it were a dystopia-the "haunting fear in the winter of life."
- The typical American spent one-third of his income on food 100 years ago, twice today's share.
- The average American ate roughly equivalent amounts of lard and chicken-11.5 pounds and 14 pounds per year.
- The average household was crowded, with more than four people. Loneliness was a financial impossibility, as few could afford to live alone. Children remained under their parents' roofs until they were married (at an average age of 21 for women).
- In 1920, there were about four times as many renters as homeowners; owning was a rarity. Although the average value of a home was no more than $75,000 in today's dollars, mortgages typically required a down payment of about 50 percent.
- Infants were both more abundant and more precarious. Women had so many children because children were likely to die: Ten percent of infants died in their first year, compared to .006 percent today.
- Families relocated closer to cities as the U.S. economy shifted from an agrarian society to a mass production machine, and many sent their children to work. The movement to prevent kids from being forced to toil in mills encouraged compulsory education for teenagers. In 1920, just 28 percent of American youths between the ages of fourteen and seventeen were in high school.
- Men citing their role in WWI granted women the right to vote in 1918, but only householders beyond age 30 got the vote in 1918; women over 21 years old and below 30 did not get to vote until 1928. Of note, the Representation of the People Act (1918) gave the vote to all men beyond 21 years old; the war did not achieve equal rights for women
- The male attitude toward women can best be described by the male view of women in the 19th century when the automobile was invented. Various experts-doctors, professors, ministers, and politicians saw women as frail, timid, easily shocked, and quickly exhausted, physically and temperamentally incapable of mastering the demands of public life. Born of the weak sex, biology consigned her to lifelong inactivity and immobility. Prominent men registered their fears about the consequences of women's emergence from the private home world into the public realm. They worried that women would neglect their housekeeping, ignore their children, undermine proper relations between the classes and races, and degrade their morals if involved in public life. Victorian experts admonished women to stay at home by invoking the fragility of women's bodies, the feebleness of their brains, or the frailty of their characters. They argued that women could only dirty themselves by venturing beyond the front door into the hectic and unpredictable crush of public traffic. (My editorial comment: Need I say more about the attitudes toward a woman's fitness to drive a car?)
- In 1915, there were separate entrances, drinking fountains, and bathrooms for white and people of color. People of color were forbidden to enter many establishments frequented by white people.
- Education? By 1900, 31 states had compulsory school attendance for ages 8-14. By 1918, every state required students to complete elementary school. Except for professional or relatively wealthy households, parents often couldn't make ends meet without children working the family farms, pitching in at family businesses, or getting jobs in mills, mines, or factories outside the home. At the turn of the century, only 51 percent of children aged five to 19 even went to school. By 1910, the number had grown to a whopping 59 percent, per the National Center for Education Statistics. Numbers were approximately 20 percent lower for non-white students. And most of those students only attended school for a few years to learn basic English and math. Few working-class children went to college. It was the upper-class, those well-off that could afford to send their kids to college.
I guess this is what the GOP and the white-ring wackos want for the future, or at least a lot more. No more immigrants in America (see Critical Replacement Theory for that one). The Buffalo mass shooter, Payton Gendron, referred to this, though he did not call it by its name. Gendron was referring to a far-right conspiracy theory known as the Great Replacement, which says Western elites, Jews in particular, are bringing in immigrants to replace whites.
Ironically, we brought boatloads of enslaved people from Africa because we had too few white people to work the plantations, or if they did work, they demanded wages.
That these nut-jobs like Gendron (and Trump) exist is no surprise. What is surprising is the willingness of the GOP to cater to this kind of philosophical filth to garner votes. One can only assume that the likes of McConnell and Lindsey Graham rather like this line of thought. We know the complete white-on-white loonies like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, to name just a few, are card-carrying loony bins.
We must, must, must rid our Congress of these dinosaurs wanting to live in the past. It's the only way forward.