avocado_tom (avocado_tom) wrote,
avocado_tom
avocado_tom

People want to work

"We gotta all git together an' find out some way ta build this country up. Make all of this here dust quit blowin'. We gotta find a job an' put ever' single livin' one of us ta work. Better houses 'stead of these here little old sickly shacks. Better carbon-black plants. Better oil refineries. Gotta build up more big oil fields. Pipe lines runnin' from here plumb to Pittsburgh, Chicago, an' New York. Oil an' gas fer fact'ries ever'where. Gotta keep an' eye peeled on ever' single inch of this whole country an' see to it that none of Hitler's Goddam stooges don't lay a hand on it." [said Woody, to the mob.]

"How we gonna do all of this? Just walk to John D. [Rockefeller] an' tell 'm we're ready to go to work?" The whole bunch laughed. [...]

"You aint' no prophet!" one big boy yelled. "Hell, any of us coulda say that same thing! You're a dam fake!"


      - Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory

There was a time in this country where people wanted to work, and they wanted to work because they wanted a better life for themselves, or more often than not, they wanted to put food on the table. Woody took that perspective one step further: he saw economic growth as a means of people having jobs and creating a better nation. In this way, I feel that he was visionary: people need work to feel fulfilled, and through this the whole country will improve.

What's funny is that he was just about the most pro organized labor guy out there, and maybe even the most pro-socialism guy out there, because he believed we had to work together to improve all of our lots in life. But he was also someone who understood that it took economic growth, and that meant putting steel in the ground. He didn't view energy or development as a bad thing, he saw it as feeding people who desperately wanted a job and to be fed.

I know lots of people who still like to work with their hands, who still like to make actual, physical products. I know people who understand that energy keeps our economy going. That said, there are many who think that we can have the status quo and never have any environmental impact, but still be fat and happy. I think...well, I think those people don't know what it means to be poor or hungry.

I also understand that there's wealth and wage inequality. It's something we have to fight for, and should fight for. But people need to work along the way, and we need to band together to raise all ourselves up. Change has to come from the bottom, from the people.

There will always be people who disbelieve. People who bitch, but who don't have a vision for how we can improve ourselves. The answer is to be a part of the solution and to be the change you want to see. We might not ever correct all the inequalities, but we can point the ship in the right direction.
Tags: america, woody, work
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