Something is missing in the current political lexicon. In spite of the fact that, in academic settings, I can preface my name with Dr. with my state university PhD, I still think of myself as a working class person. I am proud of that fact. I didn’t inherit any wealth from my family—there was none to be had. I never received spousal or child support (actually the misguided bastard paid one month’s worth—$333—for three kids before his quit his well-paying construction job rather than give ME any money). Rugged individualism to a fault.
Until I retired recently, teaching was my main love and means of support. A worthy profession and one much maligned and mistreated of late by right wing governors. I was a union president too, serving over 400 teachers in a county school district. I stood picket lines after bargaining a contract all night long. Power to the people. I eventually crossed over and took a job as a school principal where some of the union’s weaknesses became more apparent. But I still see the value of both. I eventually moved into higher education, but in all instances, I thought of myself as a worker. Someone who got up every day, got to work on time, did the best I could within the parameters of my assignment, and expected decent income and benefits so I could provide for myself and my family.
When I was a kid, I had friends in school who were middle class. In most families, the mother stayed home to take care of the kids, and the father provided the only source of income for the family. The family had a nice house, each child with a room of his or her own. The family looked forward to an annual vacation and, without worry, saw the doctor and dentist as needed. The family was able to put money aside in a savings account, and, with the help of reasonable tuition, the children could go to college and improve their lot. That’s middle class, and certainly not the norm today for the masses oft referred to as middle class.