My father, Marcel R. Marion, was an enthusiastic observer of American politics and world affairs. He never ran for anything except union steward when he worked in a textile mill in Lowell in the 1940s. He was a wool sorter, meaning he classified types and quailty of wool by examining samples from bales of fleeces shipped to the mill. He never skipped a vote in a local, state, or national election. He watched the news on TV every evening and read two papers a day and three on Sunday. He had a way of cutting to the chase on political arguments. When I think back on what he always said about the two parties, it is kind of amazing to see that it pretty much still fits today even admitting that both parties have a corporate tilt. My father was a Democrat, going back to the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Born in 1919 in Lowell, my father knew what a Depression looked like and never forgot what government programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) meant for people in need of financial help.
I posted a few of Marcel’s Laws in the last election cycle, such as “Everybody should take a turn running for office,” “There is always something you can do to help,” and “There are always more workers than bosses.” He would always say around this time of year, “The Republicans are for Big Business, and the Democrats are for the Little Guys” (Marcel’s Laws, No. 9).
I know this was of describing the difference is a cliche, but, fair or not, if you boil down and sift through a lot of what is being said by the Obama and Romney campaigns, the messages sound very much like this. The 1 percent, the 47 percent, the 99 percent, the 2 percent, job creators, illegal immigrants, moochers, wealth generators, taking reponsibility for their lives, Forward, taking our country back—all these figures and phrases that get tossed around are embedded with ideas, values, and policy positions. Time to sort ’em out, like the old wool sorter did.