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The Artdog Quote of the Week

What does this quote have to do with creativity? Everything, in my opinion. Our ability to be paid a living wage and occasionally get some time off to take care of our own and our families’ needs is directly tied to our ability to develop our creative sides.

Although today’s quote was written in a different age, many of those old battles are being re-fought today. In recent decades we’ve seen a shift of public opinion away from support of unions. Some of that has been due to overreach by certain unions. Some has resulted from corruption and ties to organized crime in others.

And don’t forget the unintended results from the union agreements hammered out during years of prosperity that later proved unsustainable. (Question: if both management and labor signed on to those agreements, why is it only labor that got blamed?).

Some corrections were inevitable. But today we live in a world where not everyone has bounced back from the Great Recession at equal rates, and where we can all too readily wince in acknowledgement of cartoons like these:

I live in a so-called “right to work” state, which, in the peculiar usage of recent rightist legislation actually means it’s no easier to get work, just a lot harder to unionize–which is what the second cartoon is all about. Unions are still regarded as “the bad guys” by a lot of people, which is why such erosions of union strength are still popular in more individualistically-focused, conservative regions.

But at what point can we agree that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far? If each one of us is a lone-wolf law to him- or herself, the only organized parties left standing will be Management.

Companies certainly are not going to decentralize: they’re headed the other direction, with mega-merger after mega-merger. Individual employees, working individually, stand little chance of changing large multinational corporations. 

As I sometimes caution my younger female (“we’re past the need for feminism”) friends, if we don’t remember our history we’re going to have to learn those lessons all over again. No, we’re not post-feminist. Not even close to post-racial either.

Rights taken for granted and not guarded are all the more quickly lost.

IMAGES: Many thanks for the Samuel Gompers quote to IZQuotes, via Quotesgram. Many, many thanks to Denver Post cartoonist Mike Keefe for the cartoon about the middle class, and to Texas Observer cartoonist Ben Sargent for the cartoon about the right to organize–both via The Daily Kos.

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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