Re: The All-American, Union Family
Legend has it that, upon Napoleon’s crowning himself emperor, Beethoven tore or scratched Bonaparte’s name from his Eroica Symphony manuscript in a fury. The revolutionary inspiration had been perverted, but still, many followed the general even thereafter, some perhaps out of a nostalgic faith that the principles of liberté, egalité, and fraternité would win through until the end.
Thus must all movements that have gone sour barrel on with the blessings of well-meaning, good people whose lives are heavily invested in a formative period. Our narratives are surpassingly difficult to change, like watching the colors of the world invert, and the realities are almost irreconcilable in which, for example, a union local number evokes a contemptuous snort or the vision of a childhood barbecue, with its sense of safety and security.
I didn’t live consciously through this change, but at some point over the past few decades American society shifted. Old ways of ordering our families and, extending that, our communities dissipated (or, more accurately, were attacked and decimated). It’s easy, for example, to imagine public-sector unions of a previous generation voting, unbidden, to increase hours or cut pay for the benefit of the community. It could be the case, although I’ve no specific historical evidence, that a nearly universal impression of American union members in keeping with Michael Morse’s memories helped to lead our society down the public union track, despite the obvious dangers that such an ordering presents.
If those days existed, they are gone, and who’s to say but that the forward march of the union machine played a role in ending them. I can describe with confidence only the reality in which I find our state now, in the present. I can only testify to my experience, as a blue-collar worker, of being dismissed, in the Us v. Them bifurcation proclaimed by unionists, as a sycophant to the Establishment and that heartless class of avaricious businessmen.
Rhode Island desperately needs the all-American families of union members to look clear-eyed at the present and to ask themselves, with as much separation from their own circumstances as they can muster, whether their organizations further the American way of life, or just the Unionized American way of life.