Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This picture is from the Maryville Daily Times, just over in the next county but these signs are all over the East Tennessee area, all with different names to be shamed.
The signs began popping up around Knoxville well over a year ago and I paid them little mind until one showed up just down the street from my neighborhood. The sign and the two people sitting with it were positioned on a main road, up against a brick wall, across from a middle income neighborhood. The sign obviously named someone who lived in the neighborhood across from where the sign and it’s handlers were positioned.
I was curious about the situation since all the signs have different names to be shamed. I began to look into it on-line and learned that all the protests were being organized by a local carpenters union and they are protesting the use of non-union carpenters by local developers
The interesting thing is that none of the names on the signs are developers. In fact, the name on the sign above is the mayor of Maryville. In this case, there is city money being paid to a developer who uses non-union carpenters and the union objects. The mayor represents the city so his name goes up on the sign. No one driving by even knows who the developer is.
My effort to bring this up is NOT to discuss union practices or the labor issues that have arisen from this. I am just wondering how effective they are with this type of protest.
For the last year, I have driven by these signs and paid them little mind. As the weather changed, I worried about the people being out in the extreme heat or cold. I figured they must be pretty dedicated and believe in their cause but that was the extent of me thinking about the cause.
Today, as I drove on my way to work, I passed the sign close to my neighborhood. There were two people with the sign, one sitting on each end, as always. But today, on one end, there was a person in a reclining lawn chair leaned all the way back, covered by blankets and an umbrella. I couldn’t see if the person was male or female but I COULD see that they were asleep. At the other end of the sign was someone in another chair, wearing a gray hoodie with the hood pulled around their face, slumped over to the side, asleep. Don’t these people have lives?
I began to think of the ridiculousness of it all. The signs have the name of a person that is not directly responsible for what they are protesting. No one knows what it is they are protesting. If you ask, you are told “we can’t say anything except it’s a labor dispute”. These people are sleeping on the side of a main highway in horrible weather guarding a sign that no one understands and they won’t explain.
Is this really the best way to get your message out?
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I know I’ve been absent lately but my mind has still been going, questioning, thinking, and mostly resolving things before I take the time to write them down here. I’ve missed my blog.
I have spent some time thinking about the beginning of this blog and how different things have become in the last 3 years. In October of 2007 I began this endeavor because I loved to write. I had no aspirations of writing for a living nor did I think I was particularly good at it. I was told people enjoyed my writing but that was once a year when I sent out a holiday newsletter and shared little tidbits about our lives throughout the year. This would be different. This would have people “all up in my business”.
At the time, I made a decision that I would not write about work. That would just be stupid. I would also not give details of my children’s lives that might embarrass them at some point. I only wrote things they would be ok with reading or that their children might read about them later. I also decided that I would only share personal feelings and thoughts about others that I was okay with them reading. Beyond that, everything else was on the table and open for discussion.
I wanted to tell funny stories. I wanted to be thoughtful. I wanted to inspire.
As I read through some of my early posts, they seemed a little superficial. I held back a lot, trying to find my way, attempting to achieve balance. I’m not sure I am that different now but it is getting better. My goal was never to gain thousands of followers or to have comments in the hundreds and neither of those things happened. I have a small loyal group of folks who graciously take some time to read my thoughts. I have met other bloggers across the country that I now think of as friends although we have never met.
It’s interesting . . . the people that I thought would be the most supportive are the ones that visit the least. I don’t think my father has visited my blog three times in three years and only one of my siblings reads regularly.
When I first started sharing my life here, I had to hold back from writing every day. I didn’t want to burn out – myself or anyone who might be reading. And I didn’t want to be posting something just to fill the space. I eventually fell into a rhythm of about 3 posts per week. Over the last year I have slacked off a little and am only posting about every 10 days. I miss it.
So I am trying to figure out what I want to say again. Maybe my rules have changed, maybe not. But my plan is to post at least once each week, more if I run into something funny or interesting. I hope you continue to join me here, that you share feedback and opinions, and that you enjoy it enough to keep coming back. Even through the slow times.