Thursday, November 10, 2011

appomattox, 150 years on

You may think that I, an SIUC language professional, would surely have something to say about the recent strike that gripped SIUC in the last week, ripping friendships asunder and casting this poor small one-horse town into utter chaos, until last night when it finally ended. Alas, I don't. Our own union settled at 4:30 the morning of the strike, along with two other unions, leaving only the tenure-track faculty to walk out for a week, and since we went back immediately to a busy class schedule, we barely had time to read our own contracts. What I do have to say, though, follows:
-the strike was undeniably bad for everyone, especially SIUC and its students, and I am absolutely grateful that it's over, even if someone couldn't get exactly what they wanted
-the parallels with the Civil War struck me hard, as I went to an encampment/re-enactment over the weekend (and people, namely other schoolkids' parents, where whispering in corners about the "union"), and the image of beautiful shawnee glades and uniforms, stew, muskets, cannons and such stuck in my mind, as well as reflection about what one does when close friends and family are spun out into conflict that tends to swallow everyone up. Of course, ours doesn't involve mass killing, amputation, dysentery, etc. I spent some time looking up John A. Logan (the man) and the life of people in the area who were literally torn both ways as this is a place of distinctly divided loyalties, not only in the north/south question but also in the union/non-union question. As small as the town is, we're forced to live in close proximity for years to that possible?
-as I've said, I know little about the details of the negotiations, and am best not writing about things I don't know well. No matter, plenty has already been said, and it's easily enough found. The picture below I'll leave as a monument to the week, one which would be better off forgotten, or at least mentioned as little as possible.


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