The illuminating sunrise in the far distance gently brightens the night sky as the anchor line comes up out of the dark water. The early morning ocean air is brisk in mid-November even off the coast of Charleston, SC. The anchor comes up and is tied off. I go back to the stern where I help the Captain and other deckhand prepare to set out the nets. We bring the nets down from the rigging and put them over the side. The Captain, working a wench, sets out the nets far behind the boat. It’ll be three hours before we pull the nets up. We say a little prayer and keep our fingers crossed for something good. It’s just another working class day on the commercial fishing vessel Blackbeard, and there is no more honest and honourable way to make a living.
This particular morning was the day after one of the bitterest presidential elections in recent memory. The three of us were relieved, to say the least, when we found out the results. Our candidate had won. Why would three working class guys pull for an outsider, a reality TV star, and real-estate mogul with no political experience? Easy. The status quo just wasn’t doing it for us. It wasn’t doing it for a lot of America either.
Take a look at the electoral map by county. The electoral map of this election by county tells the tale. It’s as plain as day. This country is divided between urban and rural voters. How and why we are so divided between urban and rural voters is difficult to ascertain but worth talking about if we want to heal the divide between us and move forward as one nation.
The one thing every candidate (except for Trump) took for granted about the working class was how much we value self-reliance. It is self-reliance that ensures our freedom. If the working class doesn’t have that option, then we are beholden to government. No one should have to live that way. Hillary Clinton pushed for higher taxes that would have made it tougher for small business owners to do business like the good Captain of the Blackbeard.
Commercial fishing is just one industry. What about the independent grocery store owners, the hair salon owners, and every other small business owner? Paying higher taxes makes it more difficult for small business to operate because the cost to do business goes up. The more taxes a small business owner has to pay the less likely they are to hire new workers. That means fewer jobs for all and its small business that creates almost half the jobs in the United States. It’s not rocket science.
Both sides took the working class and this crazy notion of self-sufficiency for granted. That’s why an outsider was elected. Always remember, people vote with their wallets. That isn’t rocket science either. So when a reality TV star has a better tax plan and economic vision for ensuring self-sufficiency for the working class than one of the most experienced politicians ever, don’t be surprised how the working class will vote.
Just so there is no confusion about what it means to be working class. If a person doesn’t pull in seven figures a year, no matter how educated, then they are working class. No matter what a person does if they have to get up every morning and go to work then guess what? That person is working class. They can’t afford to do otherwise.
We three working class guys pull up the nets three hours later to 14 baskets of shrimp. That’s just a little over 900 pounds. Not bad for the first drag (actually that’s as good as it gets and rarely seen) and we have two drags left to make today. Maybe that’s a good sign of what is to come in the next four years. Say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed. The United States and the world will be collectively holding our breaths.