Civil Rights Protests/Union Protests: Apples and Oranges!
I read an article today about a black man who marched for civil rights in the days of Martin Luther King. You know, back in the days when American citizens were not only protesting to get real workers’ rights, but also ‘fighting’ for their constitutional civil rights; back in the day when people were being killed simply for demanding that the government recognize their constitutional rights. This man’s name was Herbert. In this article Herbert compared the protesting in Wisconsin with the civil rights protesting of the sixties. In this story Herbert mentioned about how important it was for “the people” to “stick together.” (I ask, “Who are the people he is talking about?”) Then Herbert mentioned that “we need to become strong.” (Again I ask; “Who is the ‘we’ Herbert speaks of?”) Then Herbert mentioned that if “We don’t become strong we will lose our rights.” (Herbert, what do you mean if we don’t become strong? What do you mean if we don’t stick together?)
Well, I need to help Herbert get a little perspective. First of all I am saddened by how black people were treated in America for many years. I did not grow up in a prejudiced home, or a prejudiced society. The people I hung with as a teen-ager and young adult treated everyone the same. It still tears my heart out to know that there was a day when one race of Americans could hate another race of Americans simply because their skin was a different color. Those were issues that once split this nation in half. Well for the most part, those days are over. (Unfortunately prejudices of all types still exist in this world. You can’t fix stupid!) Black Americans today have the opportunity to walk the dream of Martin Luther King. The American dream is open to anyone who willing to work for it. The ultimate example of that is our own American President!
Herbert, the budget battle going on in Wisconsin these days is not between “we the people” and the Governor of Wisconsin. The protestors are not protesting against the ‘evils’ of Big Business. The protestors in Wisconsin are not protesting the right to vote, the right to work wherever they want, or the right to buy a home. They are protesting the ability to keep their union privileges. (Notice I said privileges not rights!) They are protesting to such a point that they would rather have these union privileges than help our state survive economically. Herbert, you were right about one thing in your story. People do need to stick together. In this situation the people of Wisconsin need to stick together in order to help their state. And the people in Wisconsin should also be sticking together as they work to remove the vermin who are striving to destroy this state. The budget crisis in Wisconsin is genuine. The only way “we the people” are going to solve this crisis is if we all stick together and do what is best for all the people of the state, not just public union people. The protesting in Wisconsin is not between abused, over-worked, underpaid minority workers and greedy corporate owners. The protesting in Wisconsin is not between poorly treated workers who want safer working conditions and better benefits and big business. The protesting in Wisconsin is not between the poor, oppressed working man and the filthy rich business owners. The vast majority of workers protesting in Wisconsin involves middle to upper class public union employees; citizens who already enjoy incredible union perks. Most of these ‘poor’ ‘woe-is-me’ protestors are union people with two to three cars in the driveway of their $200,000+ homes. The protesting that is going on in Wisconsin today is by people who want to do what is best for their wallets or for their unions before doing what is best for Wisconsin.
Herbert, I too am a union member; have been for thirty-five years. So even though I am a private union employee I need to let you know that I am not part of your “we the people” who must “stick together” to save our union privileges at any cost! I definitely believe I need to help this state because that will help everyone in the state and not just a few. I am simply a tax-paying Wisconsin union-member who is sick and tired of paying for both my benefits and someone else’s! I am a union member who cares more about helping all the people in this state, and the state itself. Herbert, contrary to what the big AFL-CIO tells you, if the state is not economically healthy, the businesses which provide jobs will not be healthy. And again, contrary to what the big AFL-CIO tells you, raising taxes to pay for higher and higher public union employees’ wages and benefits will not attract more businesses to our state.
It really saddens my heart when I read articles written by black people who foolishly compare the public union protesting (i.e., whining) that is going on in Wisconsin to the seriously denied civil rights protesters of the sixties. It is so disingenuous to see people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton showing up to help highly-paid, luxuriously benefited public union workers. These men know what worthy, honorable protesting is all about. Jesse and Al are similar to old hippies who show up at protests hoping to re-kindle the days of old when they protested the Vietnam War. (These boys also like seeing their faces on the nightly news.)
Herbert, don’t bring shame on yourself by comparing what real suffering black workers had to endure in the sixties to what is going on amongst the well-paid, lavishly benefited public union employees of today! You lessen what black people did in the sixties if you continue to compare the legitimate protesting that the black people had to endure to get their civil rights enforced, to the whiny protesting of rich, spoiled public union workers.
SIDE NOTE: I constantly hear these public union people whining about being fed up. Fed up with what? Public union bus driver, what are you fed up about? You made over $100,000 last year! And union teacher Joan, what is your beef? You work a few hours a day, nine months a year and you still make more money than what a vast majority of Americans make. Mr. and Mrs. Public Union Employee, you make more on your check and in benefits than most private union sector workers make. So again, what are you fed up about?
If you public union employees need something to be fed up about, be fed up with something genuine. If you want something to protest, protest something that benefits all Americans. Protest the high taxes that most Americans are paying! Protest how your taxes are being used for useless pork barrel projects. Protest the billions of dollars in ‘aid’ that we send to countries that don’t even like us. We could use that money to help our own people! If you want to unite people to a righteous cause, unite people to protest elected politicians who are ‘owned’ by unions; politicians who no longer do the bidding of the majority but instead are led by union thugs. If public union employees want to protest their ‘difficulties’ they have that constitutional right to do so—just so long as they do it legally. I say, these public union protestors should use all their energy and use their vast numbers to protest the illegal aliens who come into this country and steal jobs from Americans and receive a fortune worth of tax-payer funded ‘freebies’! There, go protest that!
Today there is another group out there who wants to try to control a free people. The very thing that was once wrong—terribly wrong—with this nation. There was a time when many in this nation once believed they were a better race of people. They believed they had the right to treat fellow citizens with contempt. These arrogant people believed they were above the law of the land. They actually believed they were the law. This race of people got too powerful. They saw nothing wrong with abusing the constitutional rights of others. They got so powerful they even tried to control the ability of a free people to think and act for themselves. Many unions and union people today have become that prejudiced, unlawful people. Many of these unions have decided that they should be deciding what is best for all Americans–just as they decide what is best for their members.
So again Mr. Herbert, I encourage you – do not cheapen the difficult, sincere civil rights protests of the sixties by comparing them with the selfish, whiny worker protests that are going on in Wisconsin.