Duane Long: Fewer lawyers, more laborers = better lives for all

09/03/2014 1:03 PM

09/03/2014 1:04 PM

This morning at my office, I read with interest your Labor Day opinion page. Your editorial cartoon shows two caricatures of “management” drinking, smoking and talking under a moose head.

As I sit under the moose head in my office, having just finished my Chick-Fil-A breakfast with sweet tea, I take exception to just about everything on your page. I am the only one working in the office today, with the exception of my truck drivers and others who are continuing to serve America on the highways, delivering our customers products.

My working career started at age 12 as a newspaper boy for the Gastonia Gazette. At age 13, I went to work for my Uncle Bill at the Shrimp Boat in Gastonia. I totally take exception to anyone downplaying a job in the restaurant industry. The restaurant taught me the value of customers and the value of money. If we took care of our customers and they returned to get another meal and told their friends how good the food was, we made money and kept our jobs.

I worked at the restaurant until I graduated from high school and went to Gaston College. During my college days, I met the vice president of a trucking company at a Christmas party. He asked me a fateful question:

What are you going to do with your life, young man?

I told him I wanted to finish college and become a lawyer. He wondered why I would do that and said I should consider the trucking industry as a career. He encouraged me to join his company, and, as they say, the rest is history.

In your editorial, you opine that we should invest in health care and “higher education.” I take no exception to investments in health care because we should have a system to give our fellow human beings the best medical care in the world. Not a program that is a “ giveaway” or a “right,” but a program that can be paid for by the people who use the system.

However, we do not need any more lawyers or any more elite-thinking “higher educated” people telling us, the workers, how to live our lives and how we should be governed.

To serve others in restaurants, in hospitals and in doctor’s offices and to transport the food and medicine and other products we all need are honorable ways to work and to create jobs. We have shortages of trained people in all of those fields as well as in most trade jobs.

We need trained, educated workers from our high schools and the community college system. North Carolinians will flourish, and everyone who is able to work will be able to.

I am a “laborer.”

Duane Long, Chairman, Longistics, Raleigh

The writer is a former chairman of the Greater Raleigh of Chamber of Commerce. The length limit was waived.

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