Febuary 16, 2011

Posted on February 16, 2011 at 19:40 PM

More Like The Will of The People With Money

It’s funny how, as a society (through the expression of our government, even) we support the will of the people in other countries, like Egypt, more than our own… But not much funnier than the word democracy being tossed around in a country that has just replaced Hosni Mubarak, their dictator of 30 years (who the United States had unconditionally supported) with a military general with the nickname, Mubarak’s Poodle… Sometimes, if it wasn’t for double standards (or really low standards) I’d feel like there were none, whatsoever. Still, I am excited about what just happened in Egypt, with relatively little blood shed (so far.) It’s just a shame that I won’t be able to check back with them in 235 years, to see how it all worked out. An uphill battle, to be sure, with the same recycled joke: If it works out for ________, maybe we should try it here.
Democracy and that whole will of the people thing are tricky, especially when the results do not seem to serve the purposes of the masters of the new, global economy. Sometimes, the will of the people ends up being Hamas, or the Muslim Brotherhood, and the major players in the global economy (like the U.S.) either have to step back, watch it play out and be honest enough to say: this wasn’t what we had in mind, but we claim to be committed to this idea, so we’re willing to accept the will of the people at face value and see where it leads. But that’s not even what happens here, so how can we honestly expect such a transition to take place smoothly anywhere else, especially in the geographically unstable area that we call the Middle East?
Here’s a good example: if the people favor peace more than war, and I think most do, that could be seen as detrimental to those who profit from the manufacturing and sale of weapons, weapon systems, ammunitions, surveillance technology, and on and on… Does our defense budget really reflect the will of our people? Absolutely not and, yet, this budget will only ever increase, while, simultaneously, other spending will be reduced to Eisenhower era levels in order to reduce the national deficit – even at the expense of job elimination and reductions in many important social programs. Like I said, it’s tricky. Besides, walking like you talk isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be…
Another example: The governor of the great state of Wisconsin (home of the NFL’s only publically owned stadium and Harley-Davidson) is about to try to legislate a ban on collective bargaining for all public employees in that state (with the exception of Police and Fire Fighters, because they’re the real heroes.) He has already informed the National Guard to be on the ready to put down any demonstrations or uprisings that may result from his populist decision. Today marks the second day of protests there but that’s hardly a news-worthy item. No one has been killed yet but let’s just remember that the National Guard doesn’t have a stellar record (here, in Colorado, and lots of other places) when it comes to labor dispute arbitration. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Collective bargaining, the very foundation of unionism, is all that’s at stake and it’s not really even a partisan issue. You either support the idea, along with third-party arbitration (just like the judicial system) and a somewhat level playing field, or you don’t. If you don’t, you’re most likely not reading this but (as usual) you still need to understand how things work bestest, for the mostest peoples…
I think the National AFL-CIO should be sending round-trip tickets to Madison, WI, for every unemployed Union member who wants to make the trip – in the spirit of a national display of solidarity. Considering what just went down in Egypt, and now that the world can watch (thanks to the internet) as the situation unfolds, I think it’s important for Big Labor to take a stand, at the steps of the capital building there, and shut every business (with the exception of bars, restaurants and liquor stores, of course) in Madison down – for as long as it takes to send the message that we’ve been pushed far enough. Who’s with me? I’m sending Rich Trumka an email as soon as I’m done with this. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on those plane tickets…

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