The great Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation considers “the forgotten American” in a recent column originally published by Fox News.
“In times of crisis such as we face now with the coronavirus pandemic, presidents often speak movingly of the ‘forgotten Americans’,” he writes.
Lee Edwards is not only a scholar of the modern American conservative movement but a participant present at every stage since founding Young America’s Foundation in 1960 and working on the Goldwater campaign in 1964.
In his essay, Edwards speaks of how different presidents have hailed the importance of a forgotten segment of the American people. From FDR’s “forgotten man” in bread lines to Goldwater’s “forgotten Americans” driving big rigs and sitting in churches to Nixon’s “silent majority” concerned about crime and busing to Ronald Reagan and the “five little words that can be found in every Middle American’s dictionary: family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom.”
President Donald Trump has his own vision of the “Forgotten American,” reflects Edwards.
Trump’s forgotten Americans, writes Edwards, are those middle-income families whose wealth “has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.”
“Trump wanted to reverse FDR’s course,” he writes. In his Inaugural speech, President Trump spoke of “transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.”
He promised that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
During this crisis, every day I am grateful for the “forgotten men and women” who have become my new heroes.
Of course, I am speaking of the doctors and nurses and hospital administrators who put their lives on the line every day to serve others. I used to see their professions as one of service, but now I understand it is also one of sacrifice.
But there are many other Americans who have become my heroes. Truly “forgotten Americans” like those who stock the shelves at my grocery store, those who run the gas stations, those who deliver packages to our doorsteps, and those who literally place food at the door of my homebound mother!
None of those deliveries are possible without Americans in the freight industry, who drive those semi-trailer trucks. We drive to St. Louis a few times each year to visit family, and it can be a trial to endure all the trucks that clog the highways, drive too fast, or swerve too close.
But I am so grateful for them today.
Think about those who have worked out the supply chain of our food system. Have I ever had to think about this, even once? I believe it was Napolean who said an army marches on its stomach. This means an army marches on its supply chain. Break the supply chain and a great army can be defeated. And so can we, but here we are. Putting aside a few hiccups—toilet paper and that flour we are still waiting for—our supply chain has been amazing. And so are those who make it happen.
The next time a trucker comes roaring up to my back bumper on Highway 66 or 81 or 64 or 70, along America’s magnificent highway system, I will try to remember this moment of gratitude.
Thank you, truckers! God bless you! And keep on truckin’!