Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Marie Antoinette of Wisconsin

Here's a news clip in which Wisconsin Republican senator Glenn Grothman makes a ridiculous statement in the face of workers protesting the loss of their ability to negotiate their working conditions and the fact that the government is tearing up their contracts and forcing them to take an 8% cut in their salary by saying "People who are saying they can't live with an 8 or 9% cut in take take home pay, I think my goodness, you should be happy to have a job".

I think the people of Wisconsin should burn down his house and then tell him "Senator you are saying that you can't live without your house, we think my goodness, you should be happy that we left you and your family alive."

In short, the Republicans of Wisconsin sound more like the Mafia than they do a political party. As I understand it "politics is the art of compromise". That the "majority rules, but it has a moral responsibility to respect the rights of minorities". But in Senator Grothman's world, if the Democrats win the next election and ban the Republican party and seize all the assets of anybody who previously belonged to the Republican party have no ground to complain because "they lost the election". In fact these Repulbicans should say to themselves, we've lost everything but we need to think my goodness, we should be happy they didn't gouge out our eyes or chain us to a wall in a dungeon for the rest of our days".

This kind of vindictive, uncompromising, block-headed Republican "politics" in Wisconsin fails to recognize the fundamentals of democracy. Democracy is not "mob rule". Democracy is not a lynch mob. Democracy is a system in which there are limits to state power. Where contracts are honoured. Where people have inalienable rights. You can't simply turn people into slaves with no rights because they have a "public" job and you, as Republicans, won the last election!


Gerald said...

Thanks for your no prisoner rant. I write for a national website on special education and if I even hint that I'm left of center (I do teach children with disabilities, what do you think?) I get all kinds of crazy's writing back. I will be blogging on Wisconsin this weekend, especially as we in Nevada are looking at something similar. No Way! Democrats, however, have small majorities in both houses.

RYviewpoint said...

Gerald: I come across as with my hair on fire, but down deep inside I'm pretty moderate. But it drives me crazy to see self-satisfied people impose solutions on others. You see it in the Middle East where the guys on top think nothing of keeping their people in poverty.

What you are seeing in Wisconsin is similar. Rather than sit down and negotiate, you have political fanatics scapegoat some (not all) public unions. (They exempt the ones that backed Walker for governor.) This is such a crass and obvious maneuver it should make honest people puke.

If you want to see the "let them eat cake" political philosophy carried to its logical extreme, take a look at this story coming out of Pritchard, Alabama on CBS's Sixty Minutes news show.

After 17 months, it's come to this: The Arnolds and Prichard's other retirees want to know what's wrong with this picture. Why handouts? Why not the pensions they contributed to? The pensions state law says Prichard has to pay?

"You can't draw blood from a turnip," said attorney Scott Williams, who represents the city of Prichard. "All the colloquialisms you want to come up with, if the money's not there, we can't pay it.

"If we took all the city's money and paid it to the pensioners, we won't have money to pay for the fire department or to keep the street lights on."

Prichard is small: 144 retirees, 27,000 residents. But what happens in Prichard is being watched by much larger cities - Chicago . . . Philadelphia . . . San Diego, to name a few - and by many states.

They all would like nothing better than to dump their staggeringly underfunded pension plans.

It is disgusting that the Pritchard city government continues to pay itself while disregarding the law and refusing to pay its retirees. Rather than negotiate, and spread the pain. They simply dumped on one group of people. Ugly!

Wisconsin is doing the same on a smaller scale. Rather than cut budgets across the board, i.e. make Governor Walker give up 5% of his salary, they pick on just some of the public empolyee unions. It is wrong. It is immoral. That's why people are in the street protesting. Like in the Middle East, in the end it comes down to personal dignity. You can push people for a long, long time, but at some point they say "enough!" and fight back.

thomas said...

My goodness! I can't stand the old "you should be thankful" or "people should be happy" line of rhetoric that really is saying, "don't stand up for your rights, just sit still in your homes and let us take everything away from you". This is what they want us to do, but I think people are about to show "them" what can happen if you push them too far. Like Marie Antoinette, their education may be just beginning (hopefully).

RYviewpoint said...

Thomas: Thanks for the vote of support. Go see this post where I take apart the ABC News show This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Hopefully I've shown people how outrageous this maneuver is by governor Walker in Wisconsin. I walk through that discussion point by point making comments to show people what is going on. Hopefully this will open people's eyes.