I have truly been trying to figure out a way to bridge the gap that divides this country and I know part of it is to understand the other side. There are a few main policies that seem to be coming up over and over that the Republicans don’t seem to like about Democrats so I thought perhaps exploring them from my own personal point of view.
On the whole, Republican ideals seem to favor corporations who, in an ideal world, would be generous to their employees because without them, CEOs and all the other lettered positions would not exist. The company itself would not exist. But this is not an ideal world and everyone thinks only of themselves. I remember when I was young hoping to someday have a job where I was there for decades. I longed to be employed by a company where I had longevity and truly enjoyed being there. However, by the time I reached working age, I discovered the harsh reality that companies only care about the bottom line. About paying as little as they can get away with and getting as much as they possibly can from their workers. I have learned, then, to look out for #1 and company loyalty be damned. They don’t care about me, so why should I care about them? Of course the feelings on either side only perpetuate the problem. I see that.
Related to that are unions. I’ve never been a part of a union and on the whole I can see their usefulness. If a company isn’t going to protect its workers, someone has to. If you’re going to put your employees in dangerous situations – as they often were when unions were first conceived – you should protect them. But again, the bottom line for any company is getting the most from their employees for the least amount of pay and effort on the part of the owner and/or CEO. Sometimes, though, I think they go too far. I don’t think people who are retired should still receive a paycheck from their former employer. The rest of us non-union workers have to make do with whatever we receive from Social Security and our own investments and savings, so why shouldn’t they? I’m thinking of postal workers and auto workers mainly. And I don’t think an employee should be forced to join a union. My girlfriend’s job offers a union membership, but I’m pretty sure she got out of it. Sometimes, I think unions may be utterly useless. She works as a security guard and perhaps at one time the company was better than it is now, but people come and go constantly. She’s one of the better employees, so they do want to keep her around. In her case, I totally understand not wanting to be a member, especially if she had to pay dues.
I live in an “at-will” state. Which means my bosses employ me at their will and I can be fired at any time without reason. Equally, I can walk out the door and never return, again without reason. Problem is, we’re all put in this mindset that you have to give a two week notice if you’re leaving, which is merely a courtesy on the part of the employee, but which looks bad if you don’t do. Again, this is all favoring the employer, who Republicans believe to be a generous benefactor.
I also have a huge problem with a company being considered a person. I knew our country was in a downward spiral when the Citizens United ruling came out. When does a group of individuals supersede the will of the individual? I think Congress had the right idea in 1907 with the Tillman Act. I think companies unfairly influence policy by donating large sums of money to political candidates. Again, companies/corporations keep their boot firmly on the back of employees.
I understand that this country is built on industry. On commerce. On commercial goods. But if you cut off the rest of the world, how long can any one company make money with a finite number of customers? We need trade with other countries. We need to export just as much as we need to import. And with that comes the opportunities to send jobs overseas and import people to work jobs that many of us don’t want to do. We have open trade policies to keep competition alive so we benefit from that.
Finally, I have heard people complaining about cities losing their livelihood to other countries. It easy to want things to always remain the same. Change is scary, I get that. It’s scary on a personal level and that fear is exponentially higher when you consider it on a much larger scale. But when fickle companies are involved, you have to be willing to change. You have to find a new way of bringing work back. No, it’s not easy, but if you don’t, then you starve. Republicans claim to want smaller government, but they certainly want enough of a government to expect them to come and fix their problems of little to no employment. The government can’t give everyone jobs. We have to help one another.