This Week in News

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

March 12, 2011

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San Galgano, Abbey

San Galgano, Abbey, 2006.

What an amazing week in news. The part of me that believes in ghosts wonders if the Mayan calendar is accurate. Maybe our world really is ending. Then, I remember how those who lived before 1000 ACE thought something similar. Romanesque art was heavy, dense, lasting whereas the time period before it was frail and brittle. The argument was that before 1000 ACE, the thought was the world was coming to an end, so things didn’t have to last. After the world kept ticking, building got stronger because people didn’t know.

So, it feels like the world has gone to hell or is about to fall into the fiery pits after this week. Unions being dissolved, municipalities in threat of some arbitrary rules and accountability, the earth cracking and washing things over, and then as a tidy follow up: the threat of a nuclear meltdown.

I don’t really know what to say or think about all of this. It’s a cascading whirlwind of emotions. Growing up, auto-worker jobs were the jobs to have. They were highly valued and coveted, and they had pretty strict criteria to get that job. I had heard the hourly wages were $32/hr. Starting wage! Now, auto-workers are lucky to make $13/hr (union or non-union). This is supposed to be a skill. Ford created the assembly line in part because of a belief that those who built the cars should be able to afford to buy them.

With all our work being outsourced overseas, does that litmus test even hold water (without a loan) today?

A little over 100 years ago, we had company towns, monopolies, and no unions. The inability of people to pursue happiness contributed to law creation that changed that for a few decades. The pendulum is swinging back as capitalist interests mount harder and faster. What will it take for the sleeping giant to awaken?

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