Aug 16, 2012
Michael R. Drew
We’ve been looking at historical “we” cycles, in particular the one 75 years ago, during the 1930s. The zenith of a “We” is when “working together for the common good” becomes:
- Duty. (“Be loyal to your union brothers. Don’t be a scab.”)
- Obligation. (“You have to be a union member to work here.”)
- Sacrifice. (“Yes, union dues are high. But we’ve got to stick together.”)
The power of organized labor in the United States peaked in the early 1940s, wielding unbelievable power and influence. In 1941, 10.5 million workers belonged to a labor union; by 1945 that number had reached 14.7 million men and women.
Likewise, the armed forces enjoyed a surge in enlistments prior to the zenith of “We” in 1943. By the summer of 1942, men disappeared in vast numbers from the workplace. More than six million women took wartime jobs in factories or filled in for men by working on farms, three million volunteered with the Red Cross, and more than 200,000 women served in the military.
“We” is looking for problems to fix.
Ah. Sound familiar? What’s going on now? Unemployment, a need for jobs, social inequity. You name.
So, if “we” is looking for problems to fix, then the focus of every “We” is to identify problems, catalogue them, assign blame and elevate regret. “We” tends to look over its shoulder at the past. (Paging the “original framers” as the Tea Party calls the Founding Fathers and the writers of the Constitution.)
It would be easy to say, “Well, that behavior was just due to the war effort.” So why do we always feel more justified in a war effort during a “We?” The wars of which America is most proud – The Revolutionary War and World War II – both occurred during the upswing of a “We.” The wars we barely stumbled through all happened in a “Me.”
Does a war cause the “We” or does a “We” cause the war?
A “We” is merely a hunger to come together and work for the common good. It has no agenda of its own. A “We” can easily be aimed at any problem a society chooses.
What are the problems today that you feel our “we” society no only should, but can address?
Thank you for sharing!