I had a friend for a few years who lived everything the American Dream used to think it was. He was working for a steel fabrication company in Silver City, New Mexico during the 1970s doing grunt labor, but thinking. He saw around him some flaws in the ways the process sequences were performed, believed he could advance in the company by suggesting improvements.
Marsh, I’ll call him, went home nights and worked in his garage inventing a tubing bender far more efficient than the one used where he worked. After it was complete, he took it to the company, expecting praise and rewards. They shrugged, brushed him off and kept him busier at work.
So Marsh applied for a patent, began manufacturing his bender in his garage. He couldn’t keep up with the orders, so he quit his job and expanded, meanwhile inventing other improvements on what he’d seen, manufacturing and selling those, also, becoming a surprisingly wealthy man within a decade or so.
His business flourished, his children matured, and one of his sons started another business, inventing, patenting, marketing. His son became wealthier than Marsh, far more rapidly. The son, carefully examining his conscience and human needs, his business thriving, spent a million dollars and several months in Afghanistan during the early 2000s building housing, providing shelter for those left homeless by the wars there.
But during those same years Marsh began seeing his patented designs showing up in Harbor Freight and other Chinese import outlets priced lower than he could manufacture them. His patents were being violated and the US government was allowing those violations to be imported with impunity. During a Republican administration. His own inventions competing with him in stores all over the US.
Marsh was outraged and gradually the business he’d built was being destroyed by theft with the complicity of the US government.
Marsh listened to daytime talk radio a lot during those years. He got daily doses of opinion telling him the source of his problems, and those problems were caused, he allowed himself to be persuaded, by liberals in politics. When the Tea Party emerged, he attended meetings and demonstrations hoping to bring about political change, hoping somehow to save his business, his livelihood. Furious, frantic, determined, certain now, this president, this administration was out to destroy him.
Last I heard, it was doing so. His business was declining to such an extent he was being forced to lay off longtime employees vital to continued operation.
All the years I knew him Marsh was an honorable, honest, solid, hard-working man, dedicated to the betterment of himself, his employees, his country and humanity.
But somehow he missed the point, maybe because he was standing too close to the problem. Maybe because he was holding to a dream of how things are that no longer was.
Marsh, to this outsider looking in, was destroyed by a government comprised of the illusion of two parties. Both were bought-and-paid-for by people bigger than Marsh. Neither of those parties cared what happened to Marsh, to his family and employees, to the dream, the innovation, the drive, the ideal he represented.
Marsh was betrayed by the people who own the talk-radio host he listens to, who own the Tea-Party, who own every facet of this country where the decisions are made as to whether US citizens work, prosper and are rewarded for their labors rather than being merely consumers of foreign products.
Marsh didn’t belong in the Tea Party. He belonged in Occupy Wall Street.