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Laboring Under False Impressions
May 7, 2003
By monkeyboy

I was at an estate sale recently, and overheard an appraiser tell a potential customer that the reason the coffee table they were discussing in front of them was made with such an incredible attention to detail was that "there were a lot of people working on each piece. Labor was cheap then, and not only could they afford to pay people very little to do a lot of work, but the labor force was so huge in comparison to the number of jobs available, that only the most talented craftsmen were employed."

Knowing that coffee tables didn't exist until the 1920's, and judging from its stylings, the piece the appraiser was talking about had to have been made during the Great Depression. This got me to thinking about the history of the labor movement in the U.S.

It seems there was a time that most people had to struggle just to survive. There were numerous economic depressions which put people in a state of absolute despair and caused great hardship, wherein only the strongest survived; Economic Darwinism, if you will.

From that sprang a group of people who were willing to make great sacrifices in order to bring the working people out of the depths, and laws were created that protected the proletariat from the railroad barons and the J. Paul Gettys of the world.

They literally fought in the streets, were killed, jailed, and blacklisted. And what was created out of that was the baby boomers, who in turn gave birth to the Hippies, who in turn gave birth to the X and Y generations.

Now we, the weaklings who never really put in a hard day's work in our lives (I mean plowing a field behind a mule, on an empty stomach) all sit in front of our surround-sound televisions watching WWF and Faux News, while the powers that be, who have lulled us to sleep, are convincing us that those who are trying to wake us up and tell us that we're being robbed of our future are nothing but a bunch of socialist, liberal whiners.

Pay no attention to those people. Put a flag on your SUV, fill the tank with Premium, and drive around aimlessly, because ya can, because yer A'murkins. Leave the rest to us, we'll tell you when to worry and what to worry about (liberals, muslims, atheists).

Never mind the fact that children at one time were worked to death in this country, that accidents claimed lives at an alarming rate, and that once injured, there was no recourse except the charity of friends and family, or in their absence, the gutter.

The right-wingers of this country, safely ensconced in the warm protective bubble of workman's comp insurance, Social Security (for the time being, at least), OSHA laws, and affordable healthcare (though not by the standards of other first world countries), actually believe what Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, and other right wingnut pundits tell them about the evils of socialism, all the while reaping its benefits and forgetting the sacrifices of those in the past.

In places like Chicago and San Francisco, people picked up a stick and waded into the riot, hoping to cause just a little more concern to the powers that be, each individual risking much more to themselves than they could ever cause to their enemies.

And when all is said and done, and when the Cheneys and Bushes and Rumsfields of the world are driving their golf carts into the sunset, we'll be left outside the country club, our hands grasping the wrought iron gates and peering in after them, wondering why we can no longer afford an SUV, or a plastic flag to fly from it.

It's all been taken from us, one bit at a time, while we were surfing between Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, wondering why they all looked the same, why we even needed a remote for the television, other than the fact the salesman told us we did.

We'll survive though, even if we have to send our kids to work in one of Cheney's factories. The one without ventilation, the one that no longer has to adhere to those pesky, now defunct, fire codes, the one without safety guards on the machines.

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