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Republicans vs. Democrats: A Fight to the Death
In the wake of several days of protest in my hometown by frustrated public employees against Scott Walker’s proposed “repair” bill, I feel an overwhelming need to use my voice to speak out against the grave injustice that is happening here. There is nothing else which compels me to write today, but these events not only compel me to write, they have also been a call to action. Not only do I stand with my fellow democrats in solidarity at the capitol for our peaceful rallying, but I will use the written word to reach as many people as I can and help them to understand the gravity of what is happening and the precedent that we are in the midst of setting as the nation looks on with bated breath.
The protests against Governor, Scott Walker’s, proposed “repair” bill continue in the state capitol today. Protesters are expecting, not only to protest the bill, but also the anticipated arrival of tea party members including ex-Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin.
This is a milestone event in which teachers, state employees, union workers and staunch democrats are fighting for the life of their party. As usual, democrats are waging a fair battle using peaceful means in order to make their point of view known. Republicans are relying on subterfuge in order to further their agenda. After all, this bill is supposed to be about repairing the 3.6 billion dollar budget shortfall that is expected in the next fiscal year, right? WRONG. This is not about the state budget at all. In fact, the state was expecting a $137 million budget surplus this year; that is, until the new Governor took office and gave away $140M in tax breaks to big businesses that supported his campaign. Consequently, we not only have to work on fixing the anticipated shortfall, we also have to make serious concessions in this fiscal year. But hey, I’m not against doing my part to help right the ship. Everyone has to cut back this year to help prepare for the next fiscal’s year’s disaster, right? Everyone, it would seem, except the Governor, who spent over $33,000 in tax payer money to travel with his security detail to the Super Bowl in Dallas. But I digress, let’s get back to the bill.
What I’m having trouble understanding is how a bill, that was framed as a means to correct the serious deficit we’re facing, includes union busting activities that have nothing to do with balancing the budget. In case you’ve been living under a rock or have been off joining protests in the middle east, let me bring you up to speed. Labor unions have existed in this country for over 50 years. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of organized labor. I worked for a wonderful employer and saw first hand how SEIU bullied their way in using lies and intimidation tactics, collected inflated dues in exchange for marginal representation, and made the life of management hell while encouraging divisiveness between managers and line staff. I have always been of the mind that if an employer is just, and offers fair, balanced and safe working conditions to their employees, there should be no need for a union. But not all employers are fair, balanced and safe and it is that sad fact that made unions a necessity in the first place. The fact that there are still unsavory employers out there and that most of them are probably supporting the campaigns of politicians such as Scott Walker, the need for unions to exist in some industries is indisputable. Scott Walker’s actions are counterproductive. He is showing everyone that unions are, in fact, necessary, because who else would have the power to fight back against a bully like Walker, if not the unions? Therein lies his biggest threat, and that is exactly why he is out to destroy them.
In every election year, there are few entities that can raise enough money to compete in the current political climate, except for the unions. Republicans consistently rely on big business and PACs to fund their campaigns, but the Democrats typically have the support of unions and disenfranchised voters, many of which belong to unions. Unions are not, by definition, democratic organizations, but they espouse the same democratic principals that make the Republicans blood boil; therefore, they are seen as a threat and they must be destroyed. This is the way of all schoolyard bullies, right? If you can’t win others over by applying logic to your arguments and unveiling sound political action plans, you may as well destroy your competition by ruthless and unethical means. I mean, in the end, all that matters is winning. Isn’t that the lesson you want to teach your children? If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up? And don’t forget to steal their lunch money first.
The fact is, that union busting has nothing to do with balancing our state budget and everything to do with eliminating political competition. The Republicans made a strong showing in the November 2010 elections. They smell blood in the water and are now on a feeding frenzy. They are out to gobble up anything that smells like a democrat and if they prevail, here’s a sampling of what you can expect your country to look like in the near future:
Repeal of Roe vs. Wade. Not only will a woman’s right to choose to outlawed, but money to organizations that educate the poor and under or uninsured about birth control, safe sex and reproductive health will be forced to close their doors because federal funding has been revoked. Yes, Planned Parenthood is at risk because they also offer abortion counseling and access to abortions. I will admit that abortion is not something that I would ever choose for myself, but I am proud to live in a country where that choice is mine to make. And Planned Parenthood should not be a target because of their pro-choice stance. After all, it is illegal for federal funding to be spent on abortions, so governmental funds are not directly funneled into that controversial service.
Our world will become a literal choke hold at the hands of corporations that spew filth into our airways and waterways as a result of the Republican decision to relax regulations designed to curb global warming. The impact of this decision makes it possible for businesses to fly under the radar while avoiding policies designed to reduce harmful emissions. They can avoid these policies, in part, by awarding contracts to overseas companies in which the regulations are notoriously lax. This not only significantly speeds up the process of global warming, but also eliminates thousands of jobs right here in the U.S. But hey, it’s not all bad. In exchange for passing legislation that makes it possible for these corporations to get richer, they will kick back some of that money to Republican candidates. At least somebody’s getting rich, right?
Your health care will continue to be dictated by insurance companies, bent on saving a few bucks while you slowly die. The funny thing is, in many cases, as a result of their bureaucratic wrangling and convoluted logic, it actually costs them more money than it saves. A case in point is that of a girl I grew up with. She recently died at the age of 41, from an aggressive form of brain cancer. When she was diagnosed, things looked grim. She underwent several treatments to no avail, until her MD prescribed an experimental drug, usually used to treat. MS. To everyone’s surprise and delight, the drug worked! Her brain tumor stopped growing. In fact, it was shrinking. She was on her way to a cure. The drug was expensive, $8,000 per month, but it was saving her life. Until her insurance company realized that a drug for MS was not on their approved list of cancer fighting meds. They refused to pay for it and gave her a list of options. Her MD had no choice but to prescribe something else, because she could not afford $8,000 a month. The irony is that the alternative drug cost the insurance company $20,000 per month!!!! Within weeks, her tumor started to grow again. It wasn’t long before she couldn’t speak clearly or walk. She could no longer dress nor feed herself. She was placed into a nursing home that cost tax payers (because she was on Medicaid) about $5,000 per month. Her insurance company relented after several months of fighting, but it was too late. Within a few weeks, a 41 year old woman was dead. It cost the insurance company roughly $17,000 per month MORE than it was already paying, to let her die.
These issues are just the tip of the iceberg. If you think the rallies in Madison are only about one issue or the other, you are sadly misinformed. This isn’t solely about balancing the budget or about preserving our unions. This is about the survival of the democratic party and our refusal to allow bullies like Scott Walker to use his new found power to generate a national campaign against liberals. I applaud the Democratic state senators for walking out in opposition. I hope they don’t come back until Walker agrees to negotiate fairly. What’s the harm in doing that? Isn’t that the American way? Whether you are republican or democrat, haven’t you always appreciated the freedom we have to make our voices heard, even when we’re in opposition? Haven’t you always relished your turn at the microphone when you have something noteworthy to share? If you think that democrats don’t deserve a turn at opposing this bill, you have to be ready to relinquish your rights to speak out as well. When the democrats put legislation on the table that you oppose, are you willing to keep your mouth shut? Tit for tat. Quid pro quo. You can’t have it both ways. Either we all speak, or we are all silent. The latter option leaves us no choice but to follow an autocratic leader. We become one step closer to communism. You can see how well those types of government worked. All you have to do is look to the middle east and what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and other countries. Think back to protests in Tiananmen Square. Remember the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. The rest of the world wants what we have and Walker’s actions, along with those of the entire Republican party, seem to suggest that we are willing to sacrifice our God-given right to political freedom and democracy in favor of a dictatorship.
That reminds me of my favorite sign from the rally, which read, “Scott Walker is a DICK-tator.”
© 2011 Jaynie2000