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Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Portrait of the Millionaire Trial Lawyer as a Young Man
posted by Tom

We all know that Democrats are experts at using totally meaningless language to provoke a knee-jerk response among their gimme constituency and at creating self-contradictory narratives that leave Derrida begging for mercy. Now the party of the indefinable entity that alone deserves a tax cut, the “working family”, uses its skill at empty rhetoric to turn John Kerry’s co-crepe hanger, Senator John Edwards, into a Clifford Odets wet dream. What follows is an excerpt from Senator Edwards’ biography posted at the Democratic National Committee's web site. This is only the introduction. Read the whole thing if you get a kinky thrill out of throwing up:

John Edwards was born in Seneca, South Carolina and raised in Robbins, North Carolina, a small town in the Piedmont. There John learned the values of hard work and perseverance from his father, Wallace, who worked in the textile mills for 36 years, and from his mother, Bobbie, who ran a shop and worked at the post office. Working alongside his father at the mill, John developed his strong belief that all Americans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed and be heard.

I admit I'm not the most tightly woven fabric in the mill, but does anyone else see the contradiction between what the biographer wants us to believe is Young John Edwards' pride in his humble blue-collar beginnings and what John Edwards the millionaire trial lawyer/senator, who is now almost-billionaire gigolo John Kerry’s running mate, actually tells us about his past? Setting aside the obvious point that working in a textile mill where noise levels are extremely high would make anyone desperate to be heard, we can turn to the more important question of what exactly about Young John's father weaving those textiles accounted for his "strong belief that all Americans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed"? (He didn't merely believe it, but strongly believed it. He was really, really unique in that way.) The causal connection drawn between Young John's epiphany and his father's mill work, when contrasted with John Edwards the multi-millionaire trial lawyer and the almost-billionaire political "daddy" whose ass he is now kissing on the campaign trail, reveals in no uncertain terms that if Young John learned anything in the mill, it was contempt for everything his father represented.

Anyway, before addressing that question, is anyone else as curious as I am about the “hard work” performed by Mrs. Joad – I mean, Mrs. Edwards? Me, I’m a bit skeptical that the work in a post office in a “small town in the Piedmont” was "hard". Put it this way, I can’t seriously entertain visions of Mrs. Edwards suffering under the constant threat of a nervous breakdown from the stress of directing less mail than the Pentagon probably receives in a day.

And what does the biographer mean by she “ran a shop”? Did she manage a shop?

Wait a minute. Stop the tape, as Rush would say.

Young John’s mother was a BOSS?! She gave orders to other workers in the shop?! That would throw a wrench into the Democratic myth machine, wouldn’t it, if Mrs. Edwards was on the wrong side of the Marxist dialectic? Oh, all right, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she was the sole employee in a small shop in a small town and was responsible for running it for the owner. On a part-time basis? Don't forget she was engaged in the back breaking task of stamping parcels in the Mayberry Post Office. And what kind of shop, one may ask? A machine shop? A butcher shop? A barber shop? A ladies’ dress shop/boutique? (There’s “hard work” for you.)

Was it a sweatshop? Nah, the DNC propagandist would have told us that.

Or did Mother Edwards perchance own a shop that she ran full-time and work at the Post Office on Saturdays? Is the candidate’s biographer reluctant to state this because the myth of Young John Edwards' hard scrabble existence loses a bit of its romantic appeal if his parents had access to capital that afforded them the opportunity (that all Americans deserve) to open a small business?

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’d really like to know what the hell “ran a shop” means. Wouldn’t you? The paucity of detail makes me wonder if there is something about Bobbie Edwards’ shop running that doesn’t comport with the left wing narrative the candidate’s biographer is creating. If the facts would serve to advance the noble prole nonsense we’re being fed here, I'm sure we would be regaled with detailed descriptions of Bobbie's arthritic hands threading laces in some evil Republican’s shoe repair shop, of her back bending under the whip of the evil Republican owner commanding her to “Run this shop, you working-class bitch!” (Thwack)

So Mrs. Edwards may have worked two jobs, one at the Post Office and one running a shop. Big deal. I don't get a sense of the "hard work" that Young John came to value from her. I think the biographer could have been more specific, and not depended so much on the reflexive reaction common among the Democrat idiots who lap up this drivel that you are either CEO of Exxon/Mobil or you suffer in blue collar hell.

Let's turn to Young John’s epiphany (Copland’s "Fanfare for the Common Man" will be played at this point in the movie when it's made) in the textile mill, as he watched his father sweat blood: "All Americans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed!" I don't know about you, but what I take away from this is that Young John saw his father, from whom we were originally told he learned the "values of hard work and perseverance", as a failure. Granted, Wallace Edwards was not a failure through any fault of his own. Of course not. He merely wasn't afforded the equal opportunity to succeed that he deserved (evidently, the owner of the textile mill was the guy who got all the breaks). But he was a failure nonetheless in the eyes of Young John. If he wasn’t, Young John would not have needed a lightning bolt from Marxist heaven to shock him into the realization that “all Americans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed” because his father would have personified it.

Unless his biographer wants me to believe that Young John Edwards, now John Edwards the multi-millionaire trial lawyer and senator, was awe-struck by his father's success and proclaimed over the noise of the mill: “Every American deserves this and, by God, I’m going to see that they get it! The first chance I get, I’m going to college, and then to law school, and then I’m going to sue my way to millions of dollars, and then run for the United States Senate, and then – AND THEN – I’M GOING TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! From The White House I will dictate that every American has the opportunity to work his or her entire adult life in a textile mill, or in some other dirty, sweaty job that will probably be shipped overseas because trial lawyers and the legalized extortion rackets called labor unions make it impossible for business to thrive in this country!”

But I don't think so.

No, John Edwards the Man reveals that Young John Edwards saw life in the textile mill as a dead end for losers - like his father - and saw himself as too good to work there forever. This is why he abandoned dad in the mill and ran off to college, then to law school, then to a law firm to make easy money off of someone else’s misery as a high-priced ambulance chaser. Had Young John valued the “values” of his father and perceived a reward for living those values, he would have been content to spend the next 36 years (at least) of his own life in the mill. But Young John obviously learned the exact opposite of what we're told he learned from his father as far as the “values of hard work and perseverance". Dad's being stuck in a textile mill after 36 years of hard work and perseverance put the lie to those values and made him look pretty much like a fool to his son. And John Edwards the Trial Lawyer's first big judgment against a corporate defendant only reinforced the conclusions Young John came to in the mill:

“See dad? You spend 36 years working hard and persevering in a textile mill and what do you have to show for it? I made a million bucks for a couple of days’ work in front of 12 morons who dream of suing their own way to prosperity. Okay, there are some appeals to get through before I see the money, but my law clerks take care of those and I just sign off on them. Not bad, eh? Thanks for all the lessons when I was in the mill, but you really are a shmuck, pop.”

Prefer a kinder, gentler reading of all of this? Or at least a more realistic one? How about Wallace Edwards telling his son, as they stood weaving together on the assembly line, to do what he could to get his ass out of the mill and somewhere, anywhere, that paid a nice living for work that wasn't so "hard"? And how about Young John taking the advice?

How about Young John becoming a trial lawyer and making millions of dollars?

How about Young John becoming a Senator, then a candidate for President?

Young John Edwards learned something from his father, Wallace, who worked in the textile mills for 36 years. He learned that working in textile mills at all, let alone for 36 years, really blows, and that the “hard work” crap is for the birds.


posted by Tom | 7/07/2004 02:18:00 PM
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