Union. Happy Labor Day everyone. Labor Day was intended as a celebration of the Labor Movement. Since Labor Movement is code for union the original intention has fallen on hard times. In today’s world and particularly in the South the concept of a worker’s union is thought to be a bad idea. With the strong identification of unions with the Democratic Party the current political divisiveness makes the concept of a union even more of a lightning rod.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not been supportive of unions in higher education. In my ideal world, we are a community of scholars and not a labor-management organization. My ideal world is not a reality in very many locations.
There would be no need for unions if an organization would have a culture that all members are laborers with different responsibilities working toward a common goal. We would not see the sharp division into management and labor. Sadly, many owners and people in management have a concern for themselves at the cost of well-being of the workers. The same is true on the other side; some unions put personal benefits before the needs of the organization. Thus we have the sharp and divisive separation into management and labor.
If you are a student of history, you understand the need for unions. They are not necessary in all situations but when in situations where owners abused and threatened the safety of workers, the unions saved lives and enabled deserved rewards and improved working conditions.
All who labor on my behalf. Putting the question of unionization aside I am going to take time this Labor Day to give thanks for all who labor on my behalf. When I stopped to consider the people who make my quality of life possible, I was humbled.
When I got up this morning and turned on the electricity, I thought about the electricians who built my house. Sure, they got paid, but they deserve my thanks.
Even more importantly I thought about those who support the supply of electrical. Their presence is especially felt in times of disaster. Mobile is being spared Hurricane Ida’s worst damage but as I write this blog, hundreds of men and women are preparing to head west to help with the recovery. They deserve our thanks. I take comfort knowing they will be there when a disaster hits our area.
When I looked around the bathroom. I thought of the laborers who mined the materials for light bulbs, mirrors, toothpaste, my drugs and more. The people who make towels. rugs, tooth brushes, razors, cabinets, flooring and more.
At breakfast, I thought of ranchers, farmers, harvesters, processors, shippers, clerks, trash collectors and many more.
If I take the time to think about the laborers my life, the list goes on and on and on. I live a good life because of the sweat of many, many people. They deserve my thanks this Labor Day.
Geography Context. This week our granddaughter Ashton (Shane’s oldest daughter) is moving back to New York City to begin work with a major law firm, Kirkland and Ellis. She will have many adjustments to make. One adjustment will be her geographic context.
I have a keen awareness of the geographic context for our lives. I have a West-East context for my geography. When we crossed the Mississippi to live in Illinois, psychologically I felt I had moved so far east I was living close to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. I was not in the Midwest; I was in the East! I had to adjust.
When we moved to Mobile it became obvious that people of the South anchor their geographical thinking as South-North. I must admit, I have never made the adjustment to thinking South-North.
Our granddaughter is moving from the South to the Northeast. Many people in the Northeast do not think North-South, or East-West, they are anchored in the East. The center of the world is New York City.
If you doubt my thinking, consider for a moment— New York City to Chicago is 790 miles. The distance from San Franscisco to Denver is 1200 miles. From their respective coasts, Denver is 400 miles farther east of the Pacific than Chicago is west of the Atlantic. Yet Chicago is referred to as Midwest and I have never heard anyone refer to Denver as Mideast.
Ashton went to school at NYU so she should easily make the readjustment.
I wish her well in her new life.
This was a good week for Jeny.
She is not happy that next weekend she won’t be able to travel to Atlanta to see Shane’s other daughter (Libby) star in a play, but Jeny is in improved spirits and health— but soon it will be time for her fourth treatment.
Essay Part 1. As I said last time, In the hopes of helping me to be disciplined in writing an essay, after the sign off for each blog, I am going to have a segment of the essay. The commitment will help me stay disciplined and those who do not want to delve deeply into my essay can skip it.
The only writing I will share this first time is the title of my long essay— “Racism is not alive and well in America, at least not down here in Alabama.” The title is intended to get people’s attention. I think it will do the task. I believe the title is correct and will defend it in the next segment. I will be challenged but I believe the result will be worth the effort.