How many times have you moved for a job? We aren’t discussing a promotional move, but a regular job in a new city that you had to take due to a loss of business in your own community? Maybe you haven’t but an ever-growing number of Americans are Uhauling their way through a maze of poverty. The days of wagoneers traipsing across the plains to found new lives was once a glorious ode to the make it or break it Americanized way. The adage to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” has become a brick wall separating the rich from the poor and making the Middleclass a paycheck away from destitution. In an election year, the economic migrants of America are on the back burner especially due to Covid-19’s insane unemployment numbers.
Since 2015 we have been inundated with a battle for the Wall to separate America from Mexico. The false belief that immigrants, especially Mexicans, are taking all the jobs isn’t true. It’s a wall built upon the lies of astute subterfuge geniuses. In short form, it’s politicians feeding the media with race-baiting policy maneuvers to win over the forgotten American workers. But wouldn’t politicians be better leaders if they told us the truth especially as millions of Americans will now join the swell of economic migrants?
We the People are separated by more than class, we are separated by the loss of business. As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads millions of companies have turned to remote workers leaving buildings empty. These same buildings had stores, janitors, doormen, and more to maintain the thriving work community within their 20+ storied walls. That won’t be returning so quickly as companies replicate consumers and stop paying rent. But these remote workers still have jobs, it’s the people around them that supported their traditional office jobs that may join the ranks of economic migrants. Where do janitors clean and who does the security officer watch in empty buildings? These low skill workers are the newest economic migrants.
Rural counties and towns have historically been hampered by technological changes that shuttered the steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio, and the GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. Little cities like Flint, Michigan had more rats than humans at times inhabiting what was “home” to thousands of technologically replaced parts-I mean people. The 2016 election of Trump was a shock to political pundits yet the writing was on the wall-people need jobs to believe America is still great. People need a community to feel that America doesn’t need to revert to the 1950s era of neighborly connections. It’s not the racism that people want from the 1950s to return, it’s a sense of stability and community. A community that thrives has ample jobs, thriving businesses, a Main street without shuttered stores, and community organizations that connect people to each other. But that is about to change in our big cities next.
As violence ramps up in a city like Chicago which has witnessed more shootings than war zones, will remote workers stay in their neighborhoods if they don’t have to worry about transportation conveniences? Will New Yorkers keep paying the highest rents in the country if they can work from home in a suburb? The upper-class and educated are the new majority of remote workers. What happens if they decide to leave their communities have suburbia or beyond? What happens to the unskilled workers at the old lunch spots, the doormen without people to greet or the janitor without floors to sweep? These are the people presidential candidates should focus upon. Their lives will be turned upside down as they hit the road for a new job.
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