I am wondering about something here. And I have come to the blogging world for some answers.
Of course, this would be much more meaningful if I had hundreds of readers, but I’ll take what I can get. Thank you, reader!!
If you are reading this, for some reason, can you please answer and tell me what you think? Please!
See, I’ve been learning about American History for the past few weeks, as part of my professional development as a fifth grade teacher. I am loving the class, loving the books, loving the discussion.
I am learning SO much about the real story of what has made us the country that we are today.
For example, I have been reading a book called “Triangle” by David Von Drehle. It’s about the horrific fire in the Triangle shirtwaist factory in 1911, during the height of the textile mill era. I learned from this book, and some of my other reading for the course, that when the workers banded together to demand a 10 hour work day, or a 52 hour work week, the mill owners went nuts, claiming that the reduced hours would bankrupt them, and would ultimately cost the workers their jobs. They wanted, they said, to be able to “create jobs”, and these regulations would prevent that.
It sort of sounded familiar.
I learned that back in the time of the industrial revolution, New York politics were run by the infamous “Tammany Hall”. I learned that at the time, regulations were needed to try to reduce the number of children (under the age of 12) who worked in these factories for up to 60 hours a week. Regulations were sought to improve the safety of workers who labored in huge open rooms which were filled with flammable fabrics, in an age where mill owners routinely locked exit door to prevent the theft of lace and cloth. Some progressive politicians even tried to pass laws requiring fire escapes and safety drills.
Most of the regulations failed to pass, though. And I learned why: the politicians whose job it was to write and pass those laws were given huge sums of money to help with their campaigns. Guess who gave the money? Yup! You win a Kupie doll: it was the mill and factory owners who paid for all those campaigns.
Sounds just so damn familiar. You know?
So, here is what I want to ask all of you:
1) Do you think that the political system of today is less corrupt than that of Tammany Hall in 1910?
2) Do you believe that government regulations are necessary to protect the lives and well being of the average worker/citizen in the US today?
3) Do you think that free market companies will put the safety and well being of the workers before their corporate profits in the absence of such regulation? (I know, I know: the theory is that happy workers will be more productive and company profits will increase. But do you believe this?)
4) Is there anyone out there (ANYONE?) who is excited to vote for either of the major party candidates? I know people who plan to vote for Obama because they despise Mitt, and I know people who plan to vote for Mitt because they loathe Obama. Disclaimer: I am not voting for either one. Absolutely, unequivocally NOT. But please tell me if you are really happy and excited to be casting your precious vote for either one of these guys and the party that they represent.
Here is the thought that is keeping me awake at night: “Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.”
What do you think, seriously?