Left In Alabama   Follow leftinbama on Twitter


by: DemoGirl

Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:55:05 PM CST

Well, it's been a really long time since I have had the ability to write with free will. Though obligations have hoarded my time, the heart has held my priorities close. I miss my liberties to speak freely and came really close this last election to having many of them stripped away from me.

Many things contributed to that... both spiritual, fiscally and politically... Being part of a union, there are uphill battles; participating in the ADP in a bloody red state is nothing less than a challenge; being employed by a company that is 60/40 blue/white collar (mining) has been a struggle to say the least... all of which has taken its toll on me for the past year.. but nothing compared to the persecution I faced as a woman during these elections.

Working in a 7,850 employee organization with 90% white men and 10% female I could have been found with my pins ON needles. My defense high, my guard wide and my firewall in overdrive! All I gotta say about this is... WHEWWWWW (exhale and wipe the sweat off my brow)...


After I went back to work full-time; a decision supported by the AFL-CIO officers, I found freedom to be me a little difficult.. but it was because of my husband's union job security treading on thin ice, that I made this choice... I had to for us.

During the campaigning season for unions, there were way too many "labor" issues internally that I yearned for the power to expose. However, understanding the detriment to sharing the weaknesses of a united front, I wasn't willing to give ammunition to the republican party or non-union believers at the time... because while many sniff snuff, and others cocaine... I can imagine the detonating sniffing gun powder that would go into an unbeliever whether anti-union OR GOP... and just wasn't ready to tear down what I could not rebuild. With that being said, this DemoGirl had a heart palpitation over democracy this go around and well... have been having brain blogging moments ever since.

The things I have wanted to say couldn't be printed fast enough. And though I laid low and back for so long, suppressing my voice of expression; it didn't make the stifled words go away... but only bold embossed them in my head... and thought to myself the past few days... I have GOT TO GET THIS OUT THERE! So, being a creature of habit, I did the next thing... my very first morning off of work in months, I grabbed my 5am cup of coffee, laptop and went to my place of serenity we all recognize as my back porch. Where I wrote my first article for LIA...in a very long time... (which is forthcoming) and well, here I am - AGAIN!

Being full of stuff to say, and only knowing one place I have the freedom to express it liberally.... I flipped and I flopped... Romney style; where to start, how to begin and if I should even do it with so many irons in my fire right now.

My Thursday thought was about Peeling off Labels and knowing the value of them. Just thinking about a well placed label and how it can either build an otherwise tarnished image or destroy a reputation. Labels can immediately classify a person or evoke a particular emotion. While there are many good uses for labels as a method of classifying or ranking, there are also self serving uses. So, I decided in a world of people renaming sin, overexposing lies and underreporting truths... I would redefine some labels of my own.

First being LABOR. Though DemoGirl meant to describe this democratic girl... this last election found me navigating toward democracy in general and stepping outside of the democratic realm and dipping my toes into other political perspectives. It didn't necessarily mean I was ready for treading into a more progressive or liberal pond, but more so about splashing around in a republican river... crashing waves of uneducated, misunderstood and wrongfully deceived people that were modifying scripture and misinterpreting its verbiage for their personal gain and justification.

Many who are good at heart, but given bad teachings about democracy and being labeled republican when they clearly are not... it is our job to be teaching them that want to learn, not hating them... well, at least not all of them! Because of my husband's employment situation and how he was horribly wronged to be let go a few years before his retirement by a vicious and vindictive employer in the name of NOT having liberties to exercise the democracy right to choose with his vote... he was let go unannounced and unforewarned. 27 years in this industry, it's all he's known and the decision to let him go fell on the aftermath of quite a few other union representatives forced to vote against their will or suffer the agony of repercussion.

Being a vocal and public voice of truth, it stifled me. How could I write about LABOR when the very wrong thing I saw happening in the country was happening in our own back yard, among the very brothers I stood and fought with all my life and within the walls of my very own home! These liberties, justices and freedoms I have picketed, striked against, wrote about and stood for tainted and poisoned my world. How did it all go so wrong? When did union organization become corporately greedy and sell out a brother for a buck?

Was I that naive to believe it would never happen to us? The answer is YES. My faith in LABOR had wavered. And until this morning, when I made a conscious effort to stand by my integrity and keep doing what is right... I decided to redefine

LABOR and what it means to write about in this blog. Those that once interpreted my blogging for labor as union organized; can modify their perception starting now... to me, going forward... labor will be about productive activity for the sake of economic gain, PERIOD. Bodies of persons engaged in such activity... with or without a green, credit or union card!

And finally, LEFT IN ALABAMA.... was assumed to mean liberal or radical views in politics.. unqualified and not quite as experienced in worldly affairs, I clearly did not fit that mold, however, a misconception on my part for not deep thinking what LEFT IN ALABAMA meant to me, personally and what I represent as a woman paying taxes in a state like this led by people like that! LEFT to me is stranded; a missed opportunity to go out of or away from the RED, GOP, MISGUIDED, MANIPULATING CONTROL of MISREPRESENTATION for the people of ALABAMA I have grown to love and support.

The country LEFT us to fend for ourselves on so many political levels and though I love my president... he didn't come here during his campaign to learn there were supporters here that believed in his candidacy... and though I voted for him, I REMAIN BEHIND (LEFT) in the red state of republicans that do not support him. And because he never got close enough to see the Blue speckled dots located throughout this state, he couldn't hear the cries.

Therefore, as time permits and as my priorities are reassessed.... I will find ways to de-muzzle the means by which some continue to silence my voice and REDEFINE through words, what matters most to THIS DEMOGIRL.... while trying hard to hold steadfast to the truths in my heart...

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Welcome back, Demogirl! (4.00 / 2)
We have surely missed your insight into labor issues.  Get some rest & get back to blogging regularly, girl!

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

It's wonderful to hear from you again! (4.00 / 2)

I've been concerned by your absence, but understood there were things simmering that you just couldn't talk about. 

I love how you're redefining LABOR: labor will be about productive activity for the sake of economic gain, PERIOD. Bodies of persons engaged in such activity... with or without a green, credit or union card!

That covers just about all of us ... and working people need a louder voice in this state.

Work harder and work smarter!

Well, good luck or whatever (0.00 / 0)

"LABOR and what it means to write about in this blog. Those that once interpreted my blogging for labor as union organized; can modify their perception starting now... to me, going forward... labor will be about productive activity for the sake of economic gain, PERIOD. Bodies of persons engaged in such activity... with or without a green, credit or union card!"

Please explain to all of us exactly what all this blather actually MEANS.  "With or without a green, credit or union card!" means what?  Essentially what I'm getting from your somewhat stream of consciousness entry is that labor could actually include the very corporate vultures who spent several months threatening to lay off workers if Obama was re-elected and it now seems that at least one of those vultures is following through on his threat.  This state, in case you haven't noticed, is a "right-to-work" state which actually means that IF you're in a job that's covered by union representation, the union has to protect ALL the workers--even those leeches who DON'T pay union dues.  And even then, what happens when the workers vote to go on strike?  Does the State step in and help the workers?  No.  It sits back and lets the greedy owner simply fire the striking workers and replace them.  And thanks to a still-weakened Labor Dept, nothing will really be done to stop it.  And, when you've got state leadership that hates unions anyways, the state will then step in and "protect" the "job creators" from the "evil" Labor Dept (witness Nikki Haley's little shenanigans in South Carolina with the Boeing plant). 

"The country LEFT us to fend for ourselves on so many political levels and though I love my president... he didn't come here during his campaign to learn there were supporters here that believed in his candidacy... and though I voted for him, I REMAIN BEHIND (LEFT) in the red state of republicans that do not support him. And because he never got close enough to see the Blue speckled dots located throughout this state, he couldn't hear the cries."

Whine, whine, whine.  Like that's going to do any good.  I don't recall hearing Obama spending any time campaigning in Texas (with its 38 votes) or in Georgia (with its 16 votes), despite both states having MUCH larger pockets of "blue"--in Texas which went for Romney by 16 pts, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley all went for Obama; in Georgia which went for Romney by only 8 pts, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, Athens and the Georgia Black Belt went for Obama.  But, Obama spent almost no time in either state.  Now, you complain about his not coming to Alabama. well, Obama only won the Black Belt (including Montgomery) and Birmingham and Romney won the state by 22 pts.  Romney only won Mississippi by 12 pts (Obama won the Mississippi Valley and the Mississippi extension of Alabama's Black Belt).  Of course, Romney didn't spend much time in any of these states either.  Nor did he spend much time in California (which went for Obama by more than 20 pts).  It's a simple fact of modern political life--at least as long as I've been following politics.  The candidates are going to focus 90+% of their campaigns in "battleground" states (and that applies to primary campaigns as well--Romney didn't spend a lot of time or energy in South Carolina or Georgia because he knew he didn't stand much chance there while Santorum didn't bother with New Hampshire for the same reason) and the states which are considered "safe" are somewhat ignored.  The primary reason is the Electoral College.  BUT, until the whole College is abolished, I'm not going to support the "reform" proposals (especially not the idea that the states should follow the Maine/Nebraska method nor the "follow the winner" proposal where the "winner" of the popular vote nationwide gets the state's EVs regardless of how the state's people actually voted).  As long as the EC remains the key to winning the presidency, the candidates are going to play the calculation game--if they don't absolutely have a need to campaign for a state's votes, they won't campaign there.  (Similarly, I don't really remember Romney or McCain or Dubya doing too much campaigning here during the GENERAL elections.  IF they bothered campaigning, they sent surrogates.  They knew they had the state in their camp, so why waste their time visiting?  Who were State GOPers going to vote for?  Obama, Kerry and Gore?   Bwahahaha.  It's also worth noting that, in 2008, Sessions got more votes for US Senate than McCain did for President.  But do you think McCain was sorry he didn't spend more time in the State?  Hardly.  He won by a sizable margin without wasting time in the state.) 

I'm sorry you're so distressed about the problem of being a blue in this sea of red but I'll guarantee you there's probably some deep red person, living in deep blue Massachusetts or Vermont bemoaning how "their" candidate never visits to hear their cries.  But striking out against those who share your values is NOT the way to get your goals accomplished.  Especially when it comes to labor.  The labor movement is not a monolith as long as the people it represents aren't a monolith.  I belong to APWU (the American Postal Workers' Union).  And in one of our local's newsletters, one of the officials (who represents the maintenance workers) wrote that he was going to vote for Obama DESPITE his personal views on same-sex marriage and gay rights in general because he felt that Obama was the best candidate to keep the Postal Service from being destroyed.  He also said he was going to vote straight Democratic for the first time because the Democrats represent the best chance of his being able to keep his job.  However, another local union leader wasn't quite as supportive.  From other things he's written, he sounds very much like a Teabagger (ironically, he retired from the Service a few years ago--due to APWU's constitution, elected union officials can be retired from the service); his last pre-election column actually said he hadn't decided on how he planned to vote but that he felt Romney had the best vision for the future--of course, since he's retired and taking the benefits from his government job, he doesn't really have much to lose (at least, not until the right-wing manages somehow to do to his benefits what private companies have done to their former employees' pension plans; of course, at that point, it'll be too late for him to do anything about it).  But, don't forget that even in the glory days of the union movement, unions had die-hard conservatives as members (Archie Bunker wasn't the exception) who couldn't understand why the Union "took their money to support left-wing candidates."  And if you think that the labor movement is the problem, you've let yourself fall into the trap the right-wing wants.  If the right-wing gets enough people to think the unions are the real trouble for the country's economic woes, and the unions are destroyed, then where exactly will we be?  It's no surprise that you don't find unions in most Burger Kings and McDonalds--and look at how well-paid (not only in wages but also in benefits) those workers are.  Without the unions being supported by supposed progressives and liberals, we'll all be working in the minimum-wage, no-benefits service industry while the CEOs rake in the millions in profits they don't have to pay their workers.  And if the workers get uppity, well, they're easy to replace.

Whatever, indeed... (0.00 / 0)

When I first began writing for LIA, I believe I was asked to share my passion for labor UNIONS... My knowledge, experience and 30+ years in the movement for organized labor, it's support and understanding of the industry... helping to share the vision of unions for Alabamians in a well aware of right to work state. I thought as I campaigned and traveled this state, I could help share with Alabamians the need to organize and come together for economic equality for all Alabamians.  My intentions were not that of a whiner, but rather that of an independent thinking fighter for the rights of all men, regardless of their gender, race, financial bracket or sexual orientation. And as I spent all this time sacrificing time and money that I could have invested in my own home, believing that as a born and bred union democrat married to a union organizer, I was safe. Protected from the wrong doings of injustices. I allowed myself to believe that it WAS personal when so much had been invested. I truly did not believe fighting for candidates that swore to take union issues to Washington would ever forget us. I traveled and trained for free, union workers who needed computer skills to be certified to get into power plants to work for free for years. My husband cut every corner he could to save his union Hall in Birmingham from financial hardship. He didnt drive the big car, outsource janitorial services to clean after himself, for 9 years he and I did the administrative work to cut costs so his union wouldn't bare the expense of a secretary. He bought his own supplies, coffee and cleaning agents.. Mopping floors after hours and forwarding phones during hours while he both played receptionist and organized.  My husband who by the way won't pay a bill or order online just to keep the USPS busy pushes and promotes your union as much as any.. Though the benefits of a snail mail carrier are minimal, every one to him count. Multiplied by his kids, his members, his family and anyone that will listen, he encourages doing the things that keep jobs at home. That includes less than 15% of our purchases coming from products not made in the USA... So to suggest I'm anything but pro union and Obama means my diary was totally misunderstood or I wrote a poor diary.  I don't give a flying flip about the other states Obama did not visit... I care about the state I live in and the sacrifices so many here made for him. Not because their vote was in vain, because some gave up their lives eating, sleeping and breathing ALObama. From expenses, and people cashing in their 401s, traveling to FL and hocking their great Grandma's ring for a bus ride to make calls for him, the thought he might make a drive by after the oil spill, the tornado and the support he still got from our state was merely that... A thought!

The bottom line to all my blathering was that I have emphasized only writing about union labor and remained narrow minded in my writings over the years and had decided to redefine the label Labor when I write going forward. I have come to realize labor can entail a wider range of subject matters and I should not feel so bound to labor unions that I suppress myself from free expression... Especially after my own experiences.  And if my writings insinuate I have reasons to question the integrity of labor unions and their movement, that is my perception and I'm free in this blog to express it... But know this... Very seldom will there be many threads I post that are not backed by facts and if the state of Alabama finds themselves in the line of compromise because of their own actions... That's on them, not me.
Call it blathering whining, whatever you like, that does not discount my labor union experience, exposure or being a subject matter expert on the topic and no interpretations can alter my point of view when based on facts as I know them... And in my own professional line of work, numbers and stats ain't nothing but a thing... So throw out as many of them as needed, but they won't waiver my stand. If you knew me.... You would know you barked up the wrong tree, so save the novel of interrogation and demand for an explanation... Or take a number...NEXT....
P.S. wine, wine, wine.... If spelled right, does do good!



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