Published December 23, 2008
Ring out the bells again
Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when September ends
When I first heard this song, from American Idiot, it connected with me immediately. In 2004, I wanted more than anything to move on from the climate of fear that had pervaded the national mood after September 11 and which mood had been relentlessly pumped up and leveraged by the government ever since.
Don't trust anybody else on national security… We're turning a corner in Iraq… Don't change horses mid-stream… We've always been at war with Eastasia…
This song, "Wake Me Up When September Ends," played on my iPod last night, and suddenly it connected with me again that with Barack Obama's election and transition into office, it feels like the long national nightmare of that metaphorical September has finally ended. There is, yes, hope again. Hope that in these difficult economic times, there are smart people taking charge who will seek solutions and seek them honestly and for the benefit of the people and not corporations.
I may be naïve; I probably am. But this feels like the beginning of a new era, and I'm looking forward to the New Year and the new era.
I have long been concerned about the decline of unions. Organized labor helped ensure the people of the Mahoning Valley earned a livable wage and labored under a reasonable work environment. But the power of the union nationally has been on the decline. This month, what might be an important turning point was reached, as a fifteen-year organizing push at Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, North Carolina was won by workers who sought to unionize the world's largest hog-killing plant with The United Food and Commercial Workers.
In the article linked above, it's posited that the new national environment ushered in by Obama's candidacy encouraged workers to stand up and speak out.
As for me, I'm thinking about flying an American flag from the front of my house. I could never bring myself to be as proud of my country during the past eight years. For now, there's hope that as September ends, a new light has been lit in that shining beacon on a hill.