Benny's World

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fightin' Because It's What's Right

I read an amazing diary on the OAC Blog that is so powerful and moving, that I promised the blogger I would link the story here: Reflections on a 4-Year Labor Strike

Intro clip:

When I was a freshman in high school in a little town in northern Wyoming, my stepdad, one of 200+ union mine workers at a nearby mine, voted to strike at 12:01 AM on October 1st, 1987. It was a strike that would last four years and in the process, change our family, our town, and our futures forever.

From the day he started working in his first mine, he'd been a union member. He believed in unions as surely as he believed in the Bible, and preached the virtues of the labor movement like it was the Word of God. By the time he met my mom, he was a strike captain in the United Mine Workers of America, Local #1972. He was also a hardcore Democrat and as far as he was concerned, union and Democrat were one and the same: they both championed the little guy, the one who didn't have the advantage of wealth or power or fame; they both valued the integrity of hard work; they both trusted in the power of the ordinary to do extraordinary things...they both believed that together, we are mighty.

Read the rest here.

This was one of the most inspiring stories I've read in a good while. I was thinking about the movie "North Country" in which women were sexually harrassed and the case took many many years to finally rule in favor of the plaintiffs. I'm certain she and others had a tough time supporting their families.

1987 was a tough year for me too. I was newly married (to my first spouse) when my spouse was laid off within a month after we got back from our honeymoon; I was laid off a few months later. It was another year before we found employment. With the help of my in-laws and some friends, we got by, but after that, I always worried about layoffs again, and they did happen to us 2 more times. My spouse and I separated; I couldn't afford to live by myself for long because my rent and utlities took over half my paycheck, and the debt mounted up. I realized I would have to move in with some other people. At the time, it seemed so strange to move in with other people I didn't know, but in the end, those gals became two of my best buds in the world. I thank the Universe for them, as they encouraged me not give up the struggle--because at times, I wanted to. In the end, my spouse and I divorced, but we are friends today because at the time, I didn't want to divorce someone who was down on his luck at the time. It wasn't right.

Writerscramp's conviction most resonated with me with her self-evaluation:

I've always been an activist at heart, either because of the way I was raised or the way my DNA lined up or a combination of both. But in the years since the strike, my natural tendency to tilt at windmills has been tempered by the understanding of what it means: you fight every day, not because of what you hope to achieve, but because it's the right thing to do. You'll never be guaranteed a win, no matter how righteous your cause; fighting the good fight doesn't mean you get a happy ending. But you fight for what's right anyway, because it's what's right. And if you're very, very lucky, others will stand to fight alongside you.

I think that is true for me and I certainly see it in John Edwards. Two years ago yesterday, he had to suspend his presidential campaign. But he never gave up--he was and still is the "little engine that could", as I mentioned in the previous post. He and Elizabeth have come a long way in fighting her disease, fighting for those in poverty, and still fighting for those to create a voice of the America that we believe in: one that works best for all of us.

I hope Writerscamp's diary will published in an article somewhere. Thanks very much Writerscramp for your courage and conviction in believing for our America, and mostly in yourself & your family.


  • Thank you for linking it. I'm truly honored.

    ~~writerscramp [even though it says Miss Bitty because of my blogger account/blog, Rank Amateur]

    By Blogger Miss Bitty, at 12:31 PM  

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