Saturday, March 12, 2011
I Stand with the Unions
I don't want to say a lot about Wisconsin; though it occupies a lot of my attention. I don't want to say a lot because I really believe this thing could get ugly. While it may seem that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin legislature hold the upper hand; the fact is, they are left with NO OPTIONS in this; they took it too far to reverse course; it's way too late for them to back down, and the threat to fire anyone who strikes was the trump card. After playing that card, there are no options left for Governor Walker. If the protesters do NOT back down now, in the face of that threat, Governor Walker has one choice: violence, or the threat of violence; he has to intimidate the protesters; and the only way to do that now is to draw blood. Real blood.
But here's what little I will say about Wisconsin:
The Wisconsin decision to strip public workers of their right to bargain collectively followed a long campaign by right-wingers to create a stereotype of public workers as lazy, overpaid, bureaucratic paper-pushers who contribute nothing, and whose very jobs don't matter. They were attacked only after they were first weakened; a group of people they thought no one else will put themselves on the line to defend.
Except, people are paying attention and standing with Wisconsin's teachers, and not just public service employees. A lot of people are offended by the rightwing portrayal of government employees as public welfare recipients.
I am VERY proud of Wisconsin's firefighters for standing with the teachers; Governor Walker made it clear that they would be exempted from any attacks on the teachers. The firefighters chose on principle to stand with the teachers; or maybe they just realized how this kind of thing works, and knew their turn was coming.
All of us need to stand with Wisconsin's public workers. On principle. We don't have to march, or carry signs. We don't have to go to Madison. We can do it simply by sharing our support with those who know us well, and respect us. Our stated opinions are needed.
- Charles A.