From its very first use in our national history, collective bargaining by fiat has never been a fair or effective means of achieving justice or peace in American labor relations. The overwhelming material and political power of the financial/commercial/industrial amalgam has always wielded too great an influence over the official mechanisms set in place to police the process. Knowing this, the amalgam has used every available means to destroy the most effective defense available to American workers: their unity.
Max Frisch, the 20th Century Swiss architect, novelist, playwright, philosopher wrote of many things but on one subject, he was most intensely prescient. Of technology, he wrote—“Technology is the knack of arranging the world, so that we don’t have to experience it.”
In announcing their intention to cancel this year’s Memorial Day Parade, in Saratoga Springs, New York, last week, the annual event’s sponsoring organization, listed a number of reasons, one of which really shocked this commentator’s sense of how cheaply, beyond dollar value, many of today’s Americans assess the worth of their so-called ‘Freedom.’ The sponsors literally stated the event was too ‘dollar-costly.’
At that moment, the full meaning of just how materialistically divided we’ve become, struck home. Then, a flood of pointedly related questions arose:
Although William Ross Wallace may have coined the most ardently honest description of Mothers’ Day, before the malediction of American Marketing made a mockery of it, his brief citation still exudes a reality most humans wish was true: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
From the outset of this anomalous experiment in government of, for and by its people, vocabulary has been an essential ingredient; the distillate of how things are accomplished. Out of its need, grew the absolutely necessary First Constitutional Amendment that ensured freedom of expression. Today, that freedom is an endangered species. An explicit word, once a cornerstone of the experiment, has been banned. The word is: “ETHICS.” As an act of civil disobedience, this commentator will now repeat it:
For those public broadcasters who always ask the question: “Is classical music dead or doomed?” in interviews before every concert they air, this commentator has a simple coherent answer: “Only if you will it!” Most Public Broadcasting execs seem privately convinced but too chicken to say, what they already believe. So they ask the question, praying someone else will intone the answer they seek. Theirs’ is a suspicion fallaciously raised, ever since ‘Classical Music’ was born. In truth, as the inimitable ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong used to put it: “There’s only two kinds of music… Good and Bad
Looking back across many eventful years, this commentator can attest that life is an apt vehicle for learning but not without exemplary teachers. In this respect, no one could have been luckier than I. The eventful year was 1986 and my nonpareil mentor was an indomitable New York State Assembly-person. Louise Slaughter was elected several years earlier, as a democrat in a habitually conservative suburb of Rochester. She’d espoused an interest in the arts and legislative leaders decided the Arts Committee was just the spot to keep her involved in diversionary limbo, away from the attract