March 15, 2011

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 19:39 PM

Seems like the professional football season just ended but, already, talk of a lockout for the coming season is dominating the world of sporting news. Another millionaire’s club (like the investment and banking giants) fighting, tooth and nail, to hold on to more and more of the profit…

You know things are getting bad any time NFL football players (who do pretty well, compared to Wisconsin public employees – or anyone else) are willing to refuse to grace a desperate public with their talent in order to get their list of demands met. In all fairness to almost any professional athlete, when putting your human body on the line is a part of your job, there is no such thing as job security and the dream can end, very suddenly, at any time. Are the top stars truly worth their salaries? If the public says so (which can only be measured by how they vote, with their hard-earned money, in the market place of supply and demand capitalism) then I guess they are. Why not?

In addition to the emotional letdown, for even the casual fan, we’re being told that the financial ripple effect can be devastating to a local NFL franchise city (meaning mostly businesses in the liquor/bar, restaurant, hotel and retail industry – none of which are known for providing particularly well-paying jobs.)

We’re appealing to both of the parties involved in this latest, looming labor dispute… Please don’t make us suffer through another season of less talented performers who are willing to cross a picket line, for a lot less money, just to play a boy’s game! Strike seasons are ugly, on so many levels, in any sport.

Everybody seems to forget that American professional athletes are union members – until they strike or get locked out. Technically, the athletes belong to players associations, which are not exactly unions but very close (at least in spirit.) Since many professional athletes even come from the humble middle and lower classes, you would think they’d be lining up to volunteer their celebrity status to help the American Labor movement. But where are they? Where was a single member of the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, publically standing up for workers’ rights, on the steps of the capital, when things started going sideways in Madison? Where are professional athletes, in general, when it comes to fighting the good fight? I know that many donate time and money to charitable organizations (The Boys and Girls Club, The United Way, etc.) but what about standing up, once in a while, for the collective bargaining process from which they all benefit?

By the same token, where are the big name celebrities from television and film (besides Michael Moore) who are all SAG members? I’m not sure why either, professional athletes or actors, have any credibility, on any subject (besides their area of expertise) but that’s another problem all together. As long as they do, why aren’t they, especially with the influence that their millions could flat-out buy, sticking their necks out for Labor? I’m pretty sure it’s because the only solidarity the rich exhibit is for each other…
I think that we (the people) need to go on strike against them and simply turn elsewhere for our entertainment. I know the math says that Labor needs the numbers to be taken seriously but I’m getting pretty tired of supporting the richest of the unionized work force who, oddly enough, seem to do very little to further the causes of working people (let alone unionism) anywhere. After all, when the governor of Wisconsin thanked his Republican cronies in the State House for standing up to the status quo, most people have no idea, whatsoever, that the clown is referring to less than 15% of the entire country’s work force. The fact that he can get away with such nonsense is nothing less than a testament to our country’s historical ignorance. While I would love to take this up with teachers, I also know that they are not the ones responsible for what doesn’t make it into American history text books. History, as we all know, is written by the winner (which explains the virtual absence of the American Labor movement from it.) Labor won a lot of battles, and will continue to, but never even came close to winning the war. Even when American union membership was at its peak, in the 1950s, the percentage of unionized workers was only in the thirties – not exactly the status quo either…
For the time being, when it comes to caring about the make-believe, pure distraction/entertainment problems between rich people and other rich people, I think I’m done caring (until I see Aaron Rodgers and Clay Mathews, holding hands with George Clooney and Johnny Depp, on the steps of the capital building, in Madison, singing Solidarity Forever.) Still holding my breath (on those plane tickets) and turning blue in the face – about to pass out…

Thig Ar Latha!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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