So says Charlie Sheen. You can process me with a normal brain I think. I’m sane. Charlie is not. Sad to see him falling apart in front of the public. I’d guess bi-polar, but I’m not an expert, I’ve just known a couple of them as good friends.
Frankly, it’s hard to process much of anything going on in the world these days with a normal brain. It all seems otherworldly if I may borrow from science fiction. I mean, I don’t recall any of the prognosticators mentioning a Sarah Palin, a Middle East explosion of freedom seeking people, a dictatorial governor who bows to business as his only god.
Last night we watched a PBS offering on the Triangle Fire, back in the early 1900’s. Over a hundred women died in a fire where they made shirtwaists (blouses). The conditions, of course, were unsafe, the exits were locked to prevent women from “using the bathrooms during working hours”, and they were on the 8th floor. Many jumped to their deaths, others fell down the only working elevator shaft.
Most of the shirtwaist factories in NYC had unionized. There had been city-wide strikes. But not the one in the Triangle building. The owners would not budge. So they couldn’t bargain for any safe working conditions. A few pails of water were all that were provided should a fire occur. It was not enough. Fire trucks arrived, but their ladders only went to the sixth floor.
These women were paid two dollars a day, and out of that they paid for their thread, needles, and any “mistakes”. The unions garnered other women in other factories, fair wages, safer conditions, limitations on child workers, and myriads of other things. The fire so incensed the public that dozens of new laws were passed to address the ills of unfettered business practices.
Anyone who thinks that they can “bargain” individually with their employer absent a strong union presence in the country is simply deluding themselves. Sure, you don’t have to be unionized, but unions set the standards that other businesses must in the end adhere to. Without unions, we will regress to those awful times when people worked outrageous hours, under outrageous conditions, for a mere pittance of remuneration.
People like to point to Henry Ford as someone who paid good wages to his workers. And indeed, they were good, for their time. Something like five bucks an hour. What they don’t know are two things. Ford only paid the extra monies in a lump sum at the end of the year, (conditions were so lousy on the line that workers quit at a horrendous pace), and Ford did it so that his workers could buy his car, the Model T. His own wealth you see was what motivated him, not any benevolent feeling for those he employed.
With almost no exceptions, business is about itself. It will NEVER give a damn about workers or consumers (other than to cater to what they think will make you buy the product–what it might do to you in the long run is of NO interest to them). If unions in this country are destroyed as the Republican Party desires (being stooges for the business elite), then slowly but surely, wages will drop, everything that costs anything will be passed onto the worker. Benefits will be cut and cut and finally disappear. Pensions? No money for that.
I know I speak to those already convinced of these things. It is the sad workers whose glazed eyes and ears are glued to Fox and Rush and Glenn and all those who lie to them, claiming that union workers and their fat contracts are another of a growing list of “others” who are keeping from them what would otherwise be theirs. Muslims steal their safety, Mexicans steal their jobs, union workers steal their raises, and African-Americans steal their taxes with welfare grants. Fox keeps up the chant, “You could make it in America, if not for “them.”
And them is embodied in one person. Barack H. Obama. He is the very face of OTHER. And they hate him, hate him with a venom I’ve seldom seen. And Rush and Glenn walk out the door, breath deeply, and go off to a gourmet meal at some high-priced restaurant, laughing at the masses who follow their blatherings. And make plans for a trip to the seaside home where they sip martinis and hobnob with their wealthy leaders.
Well, that’s the way I see it anyway.
I got some inspiration about a new way of doing some enchiladas. Velveeta of all things. I know, sounds kinda gross. But if it turns out I’ll give you a recipe. Nothing horrifically original, just a blending of a few recipes I had in my head. Ain’t experimentation fun? I feel sooooo creative! lol.
My webpages for WordPress are really funky, so I truly hope this posts. I hate losing all my thoughts!
- “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Some basic information” and related posts (theboweryboys.blogspot.com)
- Jackie K. Cooper: “The Triangle Fire”: An American Tragedy (huffingtonpost.com)