“Nothing positive happened with the closing of the mill. I think it’s a lot worse, look around.”
I didn’t live there then, so I don’t know. I lived near Livermore Falls and Jay during high school, and a girlfriend’s parents lived in Rumford years later, but there is a big difference between being connected to a mill town and living in one.
Mr. Grenier misses the jobs, I’m assuming, and he didn’t mention anything about enjoying the clean air today. That doesn’t match with my sensibilities, but I was never laid off from the mill. I am comfortable telecommuting from my laptop to anywhere in the world. Not everyone can do that. Not everyone shares my perspective, and I fear too many of the people on LPJ share a worldview closely aligned with mine. It’s time to make more room.
So tell me, please, do you miss the mill? Was the smell worth it?
The sad part is the people who lost blue collar mill jobs aren’t the ones cruising the web checking out blogs. They didn’t leave the mill to work on computers; they left to find another working class job to pay the bills. And just because they don’t have time to post 100 comments doesn’t mean their views aren’t valuable.
While my perspective prefers the clean air, my job isn’t to preach my perspective. It is very likely Mr. Grenier isn’t alone in preferring a prosperous, dirty city, where everyone made a good wage and Main Street thrived. To discount that perspective is to do a disservice to the residents of the city, even those who aren’t working class.
Middle class versus working class—the difference is clear in Berlin. There are middle class opportunities, but few working class jobs left. Look at the story I did a few weeks ago about the parts supplier running a business out of his house—how do you take that opportunity if you don’t know computers? How does working class escape the rut in Berlin?
I wonder what infrastructure the city really needs to survive. How can industry survive today in the U.S. in general ? Could it survive in Berlin? Are working class people who aren’t comfortable with computers doomed in the new economy, both locally and nationally? Or is my job going to be shipped to India, and the tradespeople will have the last laugh?
I don’t really have any answers, but I think it’s important to recognize when your worldview is restricting your understanding of the facts. My background is middle class, with a college education and lots of open doors. I value clean air, mountain views, organic food and art galleries. Not everyone does. Some people would prefer 200 jobs to a dozen more restaurants like Libby’s. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? The jobs seem more practical…
So please, in the name of science, tell me if you miss the mill. And maybe list off your education and some socioeconomic background, to see if those are indicative of anything.
Mill—Don’t miss it (How could I?).
Private boarding school for high school
Two bachelor’s degrees from a state university (I paid for it all, not my parents)
Don’t drink beer, but I do enjoy wine
5 years as a commercial fisherman; hated it because my hands smelled all the time
Favorite sports: rock climbing, ice climbing and skiing (read: rich kid sports; ever looked at the price of ice tools?)
My bias is obvious. Do other people notice theirs?