Republicans should get their story straight

I am so sick of listening to the non-sequiturs out there, including those coming from Gov. Rick Walker himself.

First of all, it has been repeatedly pointed out that the vast majority of public and union workers "did their job" and did not come to Madison to protest. So, am I to deduce that the only people who want the bill killed skipped work and came to Madison?  Obviously the swelling numbers who weathered the cold are only a small fraction of those who oppose the proposed bill.  It is not a stretch to assume that there are countless people in Wisconsin who, because they have been so beaten down by the powers that daily exploit them, can't afford to take off of work (if indeed they are working) to come to Madison. The fact that there is such a large subset of the public workers who did show up clearly demonstrates how significant this movement is. And given the fact that the right wing has laid down millions of dollars to air commercials in Wisconsin attacking the protestors shows that there is a concern that this movement is more widespread then the rhetoric indicates.

Second, it has been argued that the people have spoken: after all, they elected Walker and a Republican majority in the legislature. So we are to suck it up and accept "the will of the people." That isn't democracy, that's stupidity. Hitler came to power with a majority; would the Germans be out of line to challenge his subsequent proposals?  There are many reason people vote for this or that candidate.  But this is a specific bill with long-term ramifications that people who voted for him, or not, can accept or reject. To connect the election results with the reaction to this bill is ultimately asking people to bury their heads in the sand until the next election. However, if people were inclined to do this, then our lawmakers would not know how their constituents feel about this or that proposal. They would be operating in a vacuum, which of course undermines the democratic process.

Third, many in the private sector have argued that their benefits have been cut, that their wages have stagnated, that they have been making countless sacrifices and that it is high time the public workers do the same.  Putting aside the fact that the unions are willing to make cuts to help the economy, it should be pointed out that if it is the case that public workers are "doing better" it only shows the power of collective bargaining.  Perhaps there should be more unions in the private sector and more of a positive attitude toward unions in general.  If the public workers who are "compelled" to join a union now have it better, those opposing this disparity should put aside their jealousy and follow the dots.  When we are organized, when we have one voice, we can stand united against those who want to run us into the ground because of their greed and reckless behavior.  Workers, both public and private, did not cause this recession; Wall Street did.  But private workers are helpless to defend themselves from Wall Street's (and our state and federal government officials who sleep with them) "remedies" to make those who are already hurting to fix the economy.

Fourth (and last), it has been argued that the Democratic senators that left the state are being "childish" and "irresponsible." What is childish about preventing a bill you and your constituents think is morally wrong? Is it irresponsible to buy time to see how many people see things the same way? It was a brilliant move to take advantage of a procedural loophole to delay the process in order to foster a dialogue about the long-term significance about what is being proposed. Is it so hard for critics to see the similarity between this move and the many filibusters the Washington Republican minority staged to slow down legislation these past two years?  And yet opponents of the Wisconsin Senator's "stunt" have snorted, "Do your job!" How can they not see that they are doing precisely that? Haven't they heard the old bromide: what's good for the goose...?

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  • Mike,

    Excellent rebuttal to those who don't take the time to really stop and think, instead of falling back on the anger and frustration of their plight in our country today.

    Also, good reference from Jim Brown on Pres. Eisenhower's farewell address.

    Glad you guys are supporting the cause for equality, fairness and social justice.

    F

    Posted by Francois, 02/27/2011 3:07pm (3 years ago)

  • The article is fantastic and important when trying to discuss opposition arguments with workers who have been fooled by the anti union,anti worker press. Thanks Mr. perlo for you very fine educating clarification.

    Hey 50 states had support demonstrations yesterday for the Wisconsin workers. Not a word in the major press. I get the Washington Post. 500 people and Rep. Congresswomen Edwards stood up and addressed us. Where are the rest of the electorate? Not a word in the press. Plenty of cameras though.

    Posted by Viviana, 02/27/2011 11:00am (3 years ago)

  • The author is correct -- it is wrong to say the demonstrators should shut up because Walker is following the will of the people since he got 52% of those who actually voted. By that logic, the Tea Party should shut up about healthcare and other programs supported by Obama, who got 53% of the vote. And while Obama campaigned for an even stronger healthcare proposal (among other things) than was finally passed, Walker never said during the campaign that he was out to destroy unions.

    But the author makes a historical mistake. Hitler did not come to power with a majority. In the final somewhat-free election in January 1933, the combined Socialist and Communist vote was larger than the Nazis, who were already declining in popularity. The big German industrialists felt threatened by the increasing strength of the working-class parties, and threw their support behind the decision to appoint Hitler to head the government. Kinda like the way the Koch brothers and other big corporate interests are supporting a drive to enact a Tea Party agenda in many states, even though the Tea party is far from representing the majority.

    Posted by Art Perlo, 02/24/2011 3:49pm (3 years ago)

  • I am encouraged to read the stance of organized labor being put forth so eloquently, all we ask is a living wage for an honest days work. Perhaps there should be a punitive tax on people who earn more than twice the median wage, punishment for their greed. Then there might not be budget shortfalls, and there would be plenty of room to hand out tax abatements for foreign corporations to benefit from our infrastructure, built with the taxes of hourly wage earners. Let's face facts not everyone is meant to own a business, not everyone is meant to be Scrooge!

    Posted by James H. Pittsford III, 02/24/2011 3:39pm (3 years ago)

  • PS, it's Scott, not Rick, Walker. Like the toilet paper.

    Posted by Jim Brown, 02/24/2011 2:53pm (3 years ago)

  • The analogy is not Egypt, or Tunisia, but 1932 Germany. Read Pres. Eisenhower's farewell address. Creating economic scapegoats, demonizing unions, threats of violence against citizens by authorities, industrialists writing policy, it's all there. This is much, much bigger than union busting.

    Posted by Jim Brown, 02/24/2011 2:52pm (3 years ago)

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