I wrote in an earlier post that if you ignore your rights, you will lose them. There was a time we believed in something, a cause bigger than ourselves, and we were willing to fight for that cause. The cause was us, the American people.
We have all watched and listened to the protesters in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states. Protests that have renewed and reawakened the feeling that at long last we have found our principles, convictions and willingness to stand up and fight for our rights. It is encouraging. Unions have been portrayed by the Republicans as one of the main obstacles to structural reforms needed to save our economy. The neocons, Republicans and the Teabaggers have told us that the unions are in fact the source of all our problems. We should know that is false. The financial crisis was not brought on by the unions. Government spending is not primarily driven by union wages. If anything, unions are the one thing that have prevented this disaster from being worse than it might have been – they have pushed for extended unemployment benefits, and more stimulus spending and the like. They have succeeded in making us afraid.
Fear – whether it is fear of darkness, mice, aliens, death, terrorism or any other fear is the core of the human condition, prompt us to do things or not do things. It comes as no surprise that this powerful motivator has found use in politics, as an instrument to influence, and sometimes to directly manipulate public behavior. Government has often stoked fear to scare us to embrace decisions and policies that we might otherwise reject. They have used fear since 9/11. Fear has convinced us that we don’t have any power, and in convincing us of that, we enhance the power of those who are wielding power over us. Our fear has finally translated into political action.
What is happening in Wisconsin and other states goes beyond collective bargaining. They threaten everything we hold dear. Until now, we have allowed them to continue to try to restrict or take away our rights. We have allowed them to believe that what they want is what we want. We put them in office on lies they told us. Lies we wanted to hear. The Pledge to America. Which America? The America of the political elites whose only interest is power, or the America that promises a better America and fights and works for that cause. Save us from the ‘saviors’.
Make no mistake, we have only ourselves to blame. And not just now, but for the last decade. We bought into the idea that they knew what was best for us, and we let them have their way. The fear that they have created in us has finally bound us in a common purpose. It is now the vision of the common good that is uniting us. That is what these protests have ignited in all of us, the common good. Something to fight for, remembering that we are the government.
The time has come to make the fear mongers afraid. We have to remind them that we also know the Constitution, that we believe in it, and that we will fight for our rights. We have continue to tell the truth to power. We need to protest not just for unions, but freedom of the press [which is no longer free], religion and most importantly freedom of speech.
We are the independent press and we must do the work of the press, who have forgotten their mission, which is to tell the truth. We must continue to encourage the American people to fight and to take back their government.
How I do miss the old days.
- Leo W. Gerard: In a Democracy, Freedom of Assembly Trumps “Free Enterprise” (huffingtonpost.com)
- George Lakoff: The Real Issues: A Wisconsin Update (huffingtonpost.com)
- Battlefield Ohio, Union Thugs invade (votingamerican.wordpress.com)
- UPDATE 2-Republicans push anti-union bills across U.S. (reuters.com)