Monday, May 19, 2014

We the Workers!

There was a time, twenty years or so back, that I thought the soon to be Democratic dean of the House of Representatives, Charlie Rangel, was a reasonable fellow. Forgive me if I cannot remember why. But then I came across the following information.

Defending himself from primary challengers attacking his pro-union credentials, Congressman Rangel has put some interesting spin on the origins of the United States Constitution.

“I challenge any union member, if they have to ask: Who doesn’t just vote right? Who has fought with unions on picket lines in Alabama and Mississippi? Who has been there not because I love unions and living wages–I can say in my heart if it wasn’t for labor unions there would be no damn Constitution, they built the middle class, they built America,” he railed.

No damn Constitution? 

That made me reflect back on James Madison, father of the Constitution and, now we learn, architect of the United States labor movement. That has a nice ring to it. So I looked it up, using family photos from an excursion to James Madison's Montpelier estate -- sure enough I found proof all around.

There we found the bronze statutes of James and Dolly Madison, gazing on their copy of the Manifesto.

At the high point on the grounds, there was Montpelier mansion -- the house that labor built.

And down the path there was the garden gazebo, where Labor Day picnics have been held the first Monday in September in remembrance ever since Jim and Dolly passed on.

To preserve historic Montpelier for posterity, and the role it played in the labor union movement, it was purchased by labor leader William duPont in 1901, and then transferred to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by his daughter Marion duPont Scott.

To support Congressman Rangel and contribute to the preservation and restoration of this iconic labor union history resource click here.

Thanks to everybody and good luck to all.

US Constitution -- James Madison's paean to "We the Workers"

No comments:

Post a Comment