Remembering Studs

I asked Linda to put the candy away because I kept going back for another piece of it. There are little bite sized Milky Ways, Butterfingers, Snickers, Three Musketeers and Twix. Maybe others I don't know, because I like the butterfingers. She put it away and it was by an unlikely chain of events that it was the first cupboard I opened this morning. I don't have any excuse, such as that the taste of these candy bars I ate all the time when I was a kid is going to make my memory of days past open up like one of those Japanese paper sculptures that springs up full blown when you put water on it.

It just ain't gonna happen. This candy has so much sugar in it you can taste the grit. At least I hope that's the gritty taste. It might be melamine. Have we exported candy manufacturing to China yet?

Today I honor the passing of Studs Terkel, bless his heart. Studs was a radio actor who, when told he could just say he was confused and stupid for signing petitions for workers, refused, and accepted blacklisting. He said he wouldn't do it not from some moral principle, but because it endangered his ego to advertise himself as confused and stupid. He knew what he was doing and his sympathies were with the unions.

He liked to describe how he would talk to people at bus stops who turned up their noses at the unions as too blue collar for their elevated status. He would demand to know how many hours a day they worked, and how many days a week. Then he would tell them that people died getting those rights for them, and they were all union people. They were rednecks.

Union members were called communists and treated as if they were in league with foreign agents. It was a political tactic, of course, no different from what's going on right now with the right wing trying to separate everyone into capitalists and socialists, patriots and terrorists. It is all part of the same battle between capital and labor. There is no capital without labor, and so labor is prior to capital. But capital spends most of its time trying to grow more capital, which is why the good jobs the unions finally secured for American workers were shipped to countries where labor is cheap as dirt.

And when the jobs are shipped off and everybody's working in service jobs for minimum wage, the concept of giving anybody medical care or education is socialist. It reminds me of when Kaiser proposed to Nixon the HMO concept: "The less care they give them the more money they make." Nixon liked the idea because he government didn't even have to give people back anything in taxes. They could collect taxes from them and not give them health care.

Not not only do they not give any health care out of the taxes they collect, or most other social services, they brand anyone who wants to correct this situation a socialist or extreme leftist.

Tuesday is election day, and I am hoping against hope that we can get the government back from the crazies who've been trying to destroy it for ideological reasons. And I can't think of a better man than Studs Terkel to listen to just before this election. We love you Studs . May you find a home in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Posted: Sat - November 1, 2008 at 04:51 PM