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Tuesday, December 6, 2016



Tuesday, 8:45 AM.  34 degrees F at the ferry dock, 31 on the back porch.  Wind SSE, with occasional strong gusts.  The sky is overcast and mist is falling, mixed with snow.  The humidity is 91%, the barometer steady, at 29.61".  The ten day forecast calls for more of the same, with heavy lake effect snow possible on Wednesday night, and temperatures gradually falling into the teens.
   We hadn't seen the sun in a couple of weeks, and yesterday was forecast to be gray again, but while walking Buddy before breakfast I noticed a few blue spots, and then...sunshine!  And, although it was partly cloudy, the sun shone through most of the day.
   It was good even just to sit at the window in the sunshine, and going to the post office was a treat.  Late in the afternoon, I took Buddy for a run on the beach, but by then it clouded up, and there was a fierce east wind  that shortened our stay. and it was dark again by the time we got home. But yesterday we at least obtained some respite from the constant gloom.
   I am ashamed of myself for complaining about the weather, as it does no good to do so, and as I read in a poem that I couldn't find again, there is no bad weather; all weather is good weather, just of different kinds.
   Footnote:  of course, there can be too much of a good thing.
The White Working Class
   I have been constantly mystified by the use of the term White Working Class by the pundits of both the right and the left, and I am offended by it.
   It implies, for one thing, that our society is permanently divided into workers and drones, and that only white people work, both of which are basically destructive concepts.
   For another, it is usually said in a demeaning way, adding that these are uneducated dolts (no college education) residing in the "Rust Belt," another appellation that I abhor.  Let me tell you what my "White Working Class" was when I was growing up, and in many ways still is.
   I didn't think of myself as being "white" until the concept of racial differences was relentlessly pounded into everyone during and since the 1960's.  If anything, I thought of myself as German American, and my neighbors were Irish American, Polish American, etc.  Skin color had nothing to do with it, and besides that, there was a strong presence of American Indian blood in my extended family.
   As far as "Working Class" was concerned, I was brought up to think that almost everyone that could, worked...and we were almost all "middle class," except perhaps for doctors and lawyers and so on.
   And what kind of work did my family members and my neighbors do?  Basically, highly skilled work, often handed down from father to son and mother to daughter, as it had been since time immemorial.  Work such as being a diversified farmer, able to grow a great variety of plants and animals; being a talented, artistic stone mason; being a master carpenter or cabinet maker; being a home builder, able to build a dwelling from the foundation to the roof, with a blueprint or without; being a mother and mistress of the house and its residents and budget; being a teacher (the Three R's and morality);  being a shop keeper or a restaurant or tavern owner;  being a pastor, guiding his flock; being a machinist or a tool and die maker after a long and arduous apprenticeship, or a master mechanic; newspaper printers (few more educated than they).  These were the people in my family and my life.
   Somehow the dignity of skilled work( unskilled work has dignity too) has been demeaned and thrown away, in favor of a general knowledge of arcane things, and the pastimes of the dilettante.    
   Perhaps it is too late, and too much to ask, to let ourselves and others live in dignity once again.

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