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Dion: Lonely at the top and crowded at the bottom

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So, if you were under federal indictment, by now you’d be out of money, and the public defender would be snoozing through your case. Even that one fairly successful uncle of yours (he owns a landscaping business) wouldn’t be willing to give you any money.

Still, it’s probably worse if you’re Jasiel “Landslide” Correia, a man who won his last election by a margin that would embarrass someone running for Fish Commissioner in Westport.

If he falls, he’s going to fall a lot farther than you would.

I mean, what have you really got? An $18 an hour job, and the promise of eventual Social Security, maybe a baby mama who does or doesn’t live with you but who expects some money for diapers every now and then? Correia’s shoe budget for last year would buy you new living room furniture.

As my pop used to say, “It’s lonely at the top, and it’s crowded at the bottom.”

I figured Fall River would get a few months of baseball and tank tops before we cranked ourselves up for the grisly business of another election.

“Quiet,” I thought. “We’ll have quiet and sunshine on the newly-green grass.”

That was before Stop & Shop employees went on strike, and provided locals with another reason for righteously misplaced indignation.

Here’s the difference between 1950s America and 2019 America:

“I’ve got a good union job,” a guy said to his neighbor in 1955. “Four bucks an hour and there’s a pension.”

“Geez,” his neighbor said. “How do I get a job there?”

And now?

“I’ve got a good union job,” A guy says to his neighbor. “Twenty dollars an hour, and there’s a
pension.

“You stinkin’ communist,” his neighbor says. “I only make $18 an hour! You should work for $16 an hour and no pension.”

The pervasive American belief is that everyone makes too much money, but you aren’t doing us working folks any favors. It’s particularly sad in Fall River, where some of the 85,000 poorest people in the state carry signs to support an indicted mayor in $400 shoes, but insist that grocery store workers shouldn’t make enough money to buy food.

The workers, of course, are “union thugs,” a phrase that is almost as old as envy, but not quite.

To 35 percent of the population, Mayor Jasiel Correia, currently awaiting trial, is not a thug. And he is not. Thugs carry picket signs, and they stand on the sidewalk in the light. They do not fiddle with their tax returns to steal more money than a grocery store worker makes in a decade.

Americans like to ride with a winner. That’s why a $20-an-hour guy will spend $85 on a football jersey with a millionaire’s name on the back. It’s why Donald Trump can go bankrupt a half-dozen times, and we’ll put him in charge of everything, because he came out of it rich. It’s why we’ll stand on the a street corner in a cold rain, holding a sign for some politician who just bought his girlfriend a Mercedes. If we make $22-an-hour, and you make $22 million a year, we figure you ought to run everything, no matter how you got the money. If you’re making $19-an-hour, and you strike, we will rise up in righteous indignation in an attempt to support the faraway CEO who owns your company.

Working people hate each other, and that fact is immensely profitable to the people at the top, who steal billions while pointing our hatred away from them, and toward each other. No one took a shot at Martin Luther King Jr. until he said that black and white working and poor people had a common cause. At that point, he stopped being a cute preacher who wanted to make sure black people could sit at the front of the bus, and became a dangerous Communist. The bullet came soon after.

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