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Politicians clamor for attention by claiming they are looking out for the best interests of working men and women, but it could be argued that reality TV star Mike Rowe is the one true ambassador for blue-collar folks.
The “Dirty Jobs” host slammed politicians who have deemed millions of workers to be “non-essential” in the face of another round of pandemic-related lockdowns.
Appearing Thursday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Rowe said the designation is “crazy” as host Sean Hannity noted how struggling restaurant owners and other small business owners are being forced to fight for the right to make a living.
“There’s a new word for 40 million people in this country: Non-essential, and it’s crazy,” Rowe said. “We have deemed a giant hunk of our people essentially one click away from unimportant or worthless.”
“What happens to an economy when you call men like those nonessential people?” he asked, speaking of the restaurant owners Hannity featured.
“The fact that you and I are allowed to work in our chosen field, and they can’t, it’s just another example, in my opinion, of a big cookie-cutter approach in the name of public safety where we treat everybody basically the same, except for essential folks,” Rowe continued.
The popular reality TV star said the shows he hosted, Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch, are the “granddaddy of essential shows.”
“During this pandemic, I’ve seen firsthand that everybody is essential to somebody,” Rowe said. “Even if you’re just working to pay your own bills. So something is going on here that is fundamentally upside down, and the fact that these policies are now being instituted by leaders who have shown themselves to be the very definition of rank hypocrisy is, I’m afraid, going to lead us into a place where it’s going to be very difficult to get the poop back in the goose.”
When asked by Hannity what would have happened if “farmers didn’t farm, packers didn’t pack and truckers didn’t truck,” Rowe referenced the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“Frank Capra asked the same question, even more broadly in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,'” he said. “He said, regarding George Bailey, ‘What would happen if this one man had never been born, had he never walked the earth?'”
“And the answer is everybody’s favorite movie, because it shows us in clear terms how we’re all connected,” Rowe continued. “Never mind essential versus non-essential, fishermen versus farmers, steel workers versus pipefitters versus teachers versus accountants. We’re all part of a mosaic. It’s a quilt. And if you start to arbitrage certain people out of the mosaic based on some harebrained definition of essentiality, then you’re going to get the really depressing parts of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and it’s going to keep going on and on and on.”
Rowe puts his words into action with a foundation to help train people for skilled jobs in demand, like plumbers, electricians, steamfitters, pipefitters, brick layers, and other similar trades.
Mike Rowe Foundation is on a mission “to help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs.”
According to the foundation’s website, they have “granted, or helped facilitate the granting of, more than $5 million in Work Ethic scholarships and other like-minded programs or initiatives that also work to close the skills gap.”
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