Friday, March 18, 2011

The Workers Built this Country

It is the workers who built this country. So often the burden of the building rested on their shoulders with few rights or privileges extended to them. It was at a time when the wealthy barons and industry magnates grew their fortunes with little or no regard for the worker that public sentiment and labor unions were able to gain more humane treatment for workers. Legislation ended child labor, gave workers the 8-hour day and the 40 hour workweek. Healthcare and pensions were also gained so that workers did not have to just labor until their dying day.

As we watch what happens in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio let us not forget who built this country. Let us not fail to recognize and honor the vital contributions of the "working class" that includes teachers, nurses, policeman, firefighters, civil service workers as well as laborers. In solidarity with the workers of the country, remember the words of Carl Sandburg in his poem, "Chicago":




CHICAGO
By Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,


Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,

Laughing!

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.




*

2 comments:

  1. I'm with you. What's happening in OH, MI, IN, NJ, and ME is even worse than what's happening in WI. OH has no recall law, so their only hope is to put repeal of the union-busting on the ballot. MI will try to recall Gov. Rick Snyder in July and stop that carnage.

    After years of war on the poor, we now have all out war on what remains of the Middle Class.

    I'm glad you're writing about this. I've been organizing on it, but am too angry to write about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And I'm glad you're organizing, Michael, because I'm just not an organizer - that's beyond my skills level.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...