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On The Road Again February 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — wiunion @ 3:18 am

It is a long road from Maine to Madison. Ironically, it is a public investment from taxpayers that is allowing me to drive on interstate highways to get there. It has been giving me a lot of time to really think about what is important in life.

I grew up in a trailer in Bryant Pond, Maine…known for being the last town in the country to have crank phones. The wealth gap never really struck me. We were all working class and all our parents worked incredibly hard to provide opportunity for their children. My dad worked what seemed like 95 hours per week as a long haul trucker. My mother worked as a public health nurse and just got her PhD in nursing a little over a year ago. We were part of the working class, just barely able to keep up with the piling bills.

The old adage, “I started out with nothing. I still have most of it,” truly applies.

I now represent a small community in Portland, a respite for the weary advocate. It’s a place where working class values are celebrated almost as much as the cuisine we are renowned for. My roots are deeply grounded in the perspective that can only be carved through experience. I know what it is like to savor an elegant dinner and I know what it is like to choke down the last of the rice because that is all that is left to eat. I take no meal for granted.

To be traveling cross country to a city I know nothing about is perhaps one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Will that trip mean anything to anyone? Will my voice be drowned out by the Glenn Beck of the world or could it possibly rise above the sea of anger.

Does hope really haven chance anymore?

Onward we drive past towns and cities where parents are pinching their pennies and where grandparents are rationing out their prescriptions. Amidst it all, children sleep, dreaming of a world of opportunity. . . A world we are obligated to prepare for them.

Will Madison have the answers I seek? Or will it be a total bust, a disappointment… Or will I be forced to face the truth that we have already lost?

Still hope calls me, beckons me like a siren song. It is like our collective unconscious is awakening. We all know something is wrong, but we cannot put our finger on it. Young people around the world are rising up and demanding justice, equity and economic opportunity.

My dad always quips, “hunger makes a good sauce.” I think hunger makes a good strike.

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7 Responses to “On The Road Again”

  1. Ann Says:

    My thoughts and hopes are with you on this journey. I admire your courage and am feel your actions matter. I’m afraid of the corporate tyranny that seems to be overtaking this country. The corporate owned media is convincing the poor that those who are middle class (often union members) are getting too much. Why don’t they see that instead of trying to pull the unions down and have union members lose their benefits, they should be fighting to get higher wages and benefits for themselves? Without people like you there is no hope for a strong middle class. And without a middle class, there is no hope for this country. Thank you again for your action. –Ann

  2. Vincent Geary Says:

    Hi Diane,
    I’m so touched and inspired by your life and by your unselfish willingness to help in this fight. I sent you a contribution and sent your blog website to 33 of my political friends. They’re people who I know are committed to changing our world for the better. The quicker we get out the word, the better. Your actions speak so much louder than my words.
    Thanks so much,
    Vincent Geary

  3. Ernest Says:

    Please take this quote to all the Union Brothers and Sisters, as words of encouragement.

    “History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  4. It’s GREAT to see resistance to planned and purposeful deception and repression of the working class! You are surely now being followed by thousands, and that number will increase. Thanks for your determination, your effort and, most of all, your empathy and compassion.

    “Today we are all Diane Russell.”

  5. Jarrod Says:

    Thank you, Diane, for representing Maine proudly. Travel safe, and we’ll be ready to support you when you get back to Maine.

  6. Ed Lachowicz Says:

    I’m so proud of you guys, and I chipped in too — at least I assume the money sent to Buffy is part of this.

    My son’s grandparents live in Bryant Pond, and I’m there at least once every couple of weeks. Certainly I understand what life must have been like growing up there, as it really hasn’t changed much.

    We need solutions for those in Portland AND those in Bryant Pond, and eliminating collective bargaining certainly isn’t a solution for either, let along both. I’m glad you’re out there doing this, Diane, and may you find the words you’re looking for in those halls.

  7. Deborah Says:

    Diane, We will never run out of hope as long as their are courageous and articulate people like you. You will win your medal. Thank you a hundred times over for taking this journey and being such a great example!


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