We need to help people who don't know what's good for them
The politics of resentment can only be overcome with sound economic policies, even if they're opposed by people who feel aggrieved
President Calvin Coolidge tried to protect Americans from an earlier influx of immigrants, including those from Eastern Europe, who he said put their jobs at risk. (Sculpted by the Katherine Stubergh-Keller studio, and displayed at the National Presidential Wax Museum in Keystone, S.D.)
A head, then shoulders, poked around the gas pump as I was filling my car. “I can do a lot,” the man said.
“Really?” I said, quite unsure of what we were talking about.
“Yes!” he replied enthusiastically, emerging fully as a stocky fellow in his 50s, apparently connected to the pickup on the other side of the pump. He handed me a business card.
The card and a rapid monologue clarified what he could do a lot of: home improvement, landscaping, light hauling, small engine repair, welding. A lot of his story tumbled out, too: Parents from Eastern Europe, ten siblings, and five more pregnancies that had failed. Hard work from the time he was a kid. Proud to be a certified welder who had worked on “the New Jerse…