Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday ~ For the Workers

For our sins we watch NBC's The Voice - a singing talent show. During the current season something non-musical ruffled my feathers (again). Two of the contestants happened to be ex-miltary men. The host uttered the usual "thank you for your service" to each of them on more than one occasion during the shows. It's flippin' Pavlovian! Someone says, "I'm in the army" or "I'm a veteran" and the other person says "Thank you for your service" in hallowed tones. I know, I know - I've ranted on this topic before, in a post just over a year ago (see "Thank You for Your Service"). On that occasion, blog-buddy and regular commenter "mike" added his, somewhat opposing, but insightful views on the matter.

I can't change my own feelings on this. As I wrote previously, it leaves me feeling queasy. It's another American oddity. I have the greatest, and enduring, respect for all soldiers, sailors and air force personnel of both sexes who fought alongside Britain in World War 2, they're almost all gone now. The military today, in what passes for "peace-time", is a completely different animal.

Anyway, not to labour a point, or maybe it does "labor" it, (pun intended) I've picked out a few video songs to honour those who seldom get a "thank you for your service", and who deserve it as much as those in the military these days.

First, one for the guys I feel deserve empathy and praise and "thank you for your service" now and in years past. The coal miners. They kept us warm, they fuelled trains, industry......and yes, we know now that coal has not been helpful regarding global warming, but we were darn glad to have it back in the day. Men risked their lives every day, all their working lives to dig the stuff out of the ground. Many died in the process, many others suffered work-related diseases.

A Working Man sung here by The Dubliners

This, by Bruce Springsteen, was written as a tribute to the fire fighters of nine-eleven, but it can apply to all who risk their own lives to save others.

Two for all the moms and dads working 2, or more, jobs to keep food on the family table - She Works Hard for the Money- Donna Summer; and Nickled and Dimed from a documentary movie American Ruling Class

For doctors, surgeons and nurses - hey it's not their fault the insurance corporations have the USA by the short and curlies.

For teachers (of both genders) - Lulu, To Sir with Love:

For all office workers doing stuff we might not realise has to be done:

And a special one for anyone else who never, ever, gets a "thank you for your service":


mike said...

Reference: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

121.2 per 100,000 full-time workers in 2011
2. Loggers/related job titles: Death Rate 102.4 /100,00 in 2011. Still in second place, but with fewer deaths.
3. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers: 57.0/100,000 in 2011. Up from #6 in 2008.
4. This one was Number 7 Most Dangerous in 2010, but became deadlier: Refuse & Recyclable Materials Collectors: 41.2/100,000 in 2011.
5. Was # 6 in 2010,but became deadlier. Roofers: 32/100,000 in 2011.
6. Structural Iron and Steel Workers: 26.9/100,000 in 2011 -- Not even in the Top 10 in 2010.
7. Was #4 in 2010, becoming safer. Farmers and Ranchers: 25.3/100,000 in 2011
8. Same rank as 2010, but higher in death rate. Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers: 24/100,000 in 2011.
9. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers: 20.3/100,000 in 2011. Not in the Top 10 for the last several years. Workers in these occupations have been complaining that the work is deadlier than people think it is from seeing the BLS Dangerous/Deadliest List.
10. Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs: 19.7/100,000 in 2011. Not in the Top 10 in 2010.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Interesting!

We should thank people in all those occupations too. Not many appropriate songs come to mind though - "Wichita Lineman" - I almost did include that, and I almost included the hymn "For Those in Peril on the Sea" but for lifeboat crews rather than fisher folk - I stand corrected- kind of!

Really though, apart from the miners and firefighters (both of whom could well have less dangerous jobs these days than in the past) I wasn't thinking of the danger involved - more the fact that we take these people for granted most of the time, and they deserve a "thank you".

mike (again) said...

Well, the next time your trash is picked-up, you'd better run out there and thank those folks for putting their lives on the line for your waste, Twilight! LOL

Way back in my younger days, most people in service industries always said "thanks" to the customer...the customer may or may not have replied "you're welcome". Now, most customers say "thanks" and the worker doesn't respond one way or the other.

Way back then, if change was due the customer, the money was counted backward: you paid $5.75 for goods and paid with a $10 bill, then the clerk would give back a quarter and say "that makes $6, then a $1 bill for seven, $1 for eight, $1 for nine, $1 makes ten dollars". Not anymore...just a lump of coins and bills with no explanation or thank you.

I would say that fire fighters are the most thanked and rewarded. Most municipalities are going broke, due to the city's contributions toward the FF (and police) retirement funds. I don't see the FF or police as any different than our volunteer military employees, except that the FF and police go home to their families after their shift. And I don't perceive fire fighters, police, or military as different from so many other professions.

I do tell each individual that I interact with "thanks", regardless of the type of assistance or service to me, the customer, whether they thank me or not. I don't differentiate by their job title or type...I'm an indiscriminate thanker!

Vanilla Rose said...

I have a roof and get rubbish collected! I wish to thank roofers, recycling and landfill waste collectors, etc. The ranchers and fisherpersons are not putting their lives on the line on my behalf because I am vegan. But I am sure someone is going to point out that agricultural workers are often exploited. It would be nice if governments did something about that. I think part of the problem is the ethnicity and nationality and immigration status of many agricultural workers, makes it easier for them to be overworked and underpaid and so on.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Now now! Did I hit a wee nerve regarding the military? ;-)

The big difference between what firefighters do from what the military does? Guess! They do not kill people in foreign lands at the behest of the US government when war has not been declared. They save people- or attempt to do so, or try to prevent wild fires' destructive force. I'll not include the police here - although I would have included them years ago.... even now a few of 'em are still the good guys.

I wasn't criticising people for failing to individually thank those who give service, mike - I was pointing out and comparing the Pavlovian effect when someone during a public performance or interview mentions their military service. The absolute daftness of that still irritates me no end...So why not, every time someone mentions their occupation, whatever it may be, to an interviewer, say "thank you for your service" to them.
It wouldn't be any dafter.

I know, I know - it's in the American DNA, this love of their military :-/

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ Yes agricultural workers, especially immigrant workers are exploited, but it's usually the farmers who whine.
It has always been so, in Britain and here too.

mike (again) said...

No, Twilight, no sensitive nerve ending here! LOL I partly agree with you...I don't go out of my way to thank the troops. I would give-up my seat on an airplane for one, though. I liked the courtesy shown by the first class travelers that gave-up their seats for seven troops that I recently read about.

Back in the late 1960s, I could have been drafted for military service in the Vietnam war...the military used a lottery system to recruit for mandatory number was never called (whew!!!). I do recall that the well-being of the troops in the Vietnam war affected everyone at that time...everyone was either in the war or had a family member, friend, co-worker, etc actually in the mattered not what your socio-economic level was. Made it more meaningful.

I have misgivings about the USA's current voluntary enlistment. I would prefer it to be a draft or mandatory service for all. I think that any military intervention or declaration of war would have additional meaning for our congressional delegates with children or grandchildren that would HAVE to serve. I doubt that military intervention would last as long, either. It's easy to support military action in the name of freedom and fear mongering, if one has nothing to lose, except maybe tax dollars.

I do think that parents with children or grandchildren that are eligible to volunteer, but have not volunteered, may want to say thanks. The young adults that are not volunteering for duty should say thanks. Without the volunteer, we would have a draft system again.

The kids that have volunteered are young, impressionable, patriotic, etc. I can't blame them for volunteering for their "cause", whatever their rationale for volunteering. Military action will go forward somehow, whether it be by volunteers, mandatory draft, or in lieu of those, all of the citizens protecting their country and property.

I'm terribly saddened by the returning troops that are disabled and heart goes out to them.

I certainly understand your point regarding life-saving-professions vs life-taking-professions, but I can only blame our governmental policies that took us to our two current wars...I can't put blame on the individual troop carrying-out orders that your and my tax dollars support. We're all complicit in some form or other. I certainly haven't gone out to my local highway and laid down in the lanes to protest.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, Vietnam. There's that. Husband mentioned that too. But it's long ago now, and many of those being thanked were not even born when it happened.

I agree that a draft or mandatory service would make a big difference, although the 1% would find ways of keeping their young safe to carry on dynasties.

This is another tentacle of the wrongs needing to be dealt with.
The Military Industrial Complex has been allowed to grow too powerful. There's no good reason for all the military action going on now, or for all the US bases around the world.

Parents of the wounded and maimed troops who return home should be the first to head a revolt against this madness.

"They hate us for our freedoms" - Really? Really?

JD said...

My grandfather was a coal miner but he used to say he could never have been a trawlerman; far too dangerous!

Like the videos. Think I'll steal them for NO
I'll give you some credit for all your 'hard work' in assembling them :)

mike (again) said...

Just curious...what system is used in the UK, volunteer or mandatory? Are the troops thanked and-or treated special by the general public? I know that the two princes have served...has that popularized the military in UK?

Twilight said...

JD ~ Hi! I'd forgotten trawlermen, and have slapped my own hands for that. I was born in Hull where there were lots of trawlermen's families, many of whom had lost fathers and sons, I should not have forgotten them. I'll blame my current position - out of easy reach of coastline, stuck in the middle!

Of course, be my guest re the videos, spread the word, JD!

Twilight said...

mike ~ No draft in the Uk these days, only during WW2 and for some years after there was "National Service" of 2 years for young men at age 18, but it was discontinued round about the time I reached age 18.

I don't recall there being much of the "thank you for your service" in the UK, at least not to the same extent as happens in the USA. I'd have become as pissed off there about it as I am here and I never felt that way there.

I do not think the fact that young male royals are required routinely serve in the forces for a time does much to popularise the military. I didn't ever see it that way - had never actually thought about it though - it's a tradition.

Vanilla Rose said...

People in the UK tend to be quite respectful of the concept of people in the military, even though the individual wars are not always popular. And it would be noted if a newsreader or "X Factor" contestant failed to wear a red poppy around Armistice Day.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ Ah yes - thanks for that. I agree on the poppy-wearing. I always think of the poppies I used to wear around 11 November, when I lived in England, as signifying mainly remembrance and honouring of the dead from World Wars 1 and 2, though I guess that has been expanded now.
I'd have no argument at all about thanking any of those who fought in world wars - as I mentioned in the post....but they're nearly all gone now.