Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Union of the Heart

I worked in a factory many years ago with a young woman. I first met Helen on the picket line. We were both assigned one cold February night, to stand guard in front of Gate B. As we spent that first long night together, sharing a thermos of coffee, Helen told me many stories of unions past. She was proud of our union and what it stood for. I remember her telling me that, “It is not about us against them, it’s about our rights as workers and citizens of the United States!” Helen began my labor education that night. She opened my eyes. She made me think.

About three months ago I got a phone call. The woman on the other end of the phone was Helen. It had been twenty years since we had last talked, so I didn’t recognized her voice at first. We talked of times past and laughed like the kids we once were. She was moving back to the area and wanted see me again. Helen had lost her husband and now she was coming home.

I saw Helen this last weekend. She came to town to look for an apartment. I recognized her right away. She had changed very little. She still had that fire in her eyes that I remembered so well and a smile that could charm the hardest bosses.

To my surprise, her first request was, “Let’s go to the plant, Larry, I want to go back to B Gate!” She wanted spend our first couple hours together talking in the same place, that we had met in, over thirty years before.

As we drove to the west side of town toward the plant, my mind raced with all the possibilities of emotions that we might both feel. Before we made the turn on to the road, where the plant was located, I told her what she was about to see. “Helen, the plant has been gone for many years now!” “Our union is gone and so are all the other plants in town.” “They are all gone!”

I stopped the car and pointed to the spot in the vacant lot that used to be Gate B. And to that spot we walked and took seats on cinder blocks left from the buildings demolition. She quietly stared at the place where the plant once stood, for what seemed like an eternity. Finally she turned to me and said, “They can take our plant and they can bust our union, but they can never change what is in our hearts!”

“You are right Helen, you and I will always be brother and sister, in the Union of the heart.”

Monday, October 09, 2006

Just Give Me the Truth!

It appears that in 29 days, many of the thieves and liars who now control the House of Representatives and the Senate will be looking for new jobs. So the question is: Where do the Democrats start? What mess do they start to unravel first? Which investigation should be first? What about impeachment of this president?

It is almost impossible for me to imagine, the Bush administration in a working relationship with a powerful opposition House and Senate. After so many years of compliant lap dogs and yes men, Emperor Bush and his henchmen will be operating in a new and hostile reality. Perhaps he will dissolve both houses and call for new elections, which is a time honored tradition of tyrants seeking absolute power. More likely, Fortress White House with high walls and a moat filled with media attack propagandists will emerge.

It may or may not matter, which hole in this sinking ship the Democrats attempt to fix first. The good ship America may be on its way down. There may be nothing we can do to stop its descent to the bottom. At least our people need to know why this has all happened and who is responsible. Perhaps the Democrats can tell our people:
  • The reasons their jobs, their futures and the futures of their children have been sacrificed on the altar of “free markets and globalization?”
  • Why millions around the world hate America and what it represents?
  • That peace is always better than war and killing is an abomination on the human soul!
Perhaps the Democrats can set us all free, by giving us what we so desperately need: The Truth!

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