Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Protesting Too Much

As I sat in our building atrium yesterday, on the top floor, eating my lunch and finishing up on the abridged version of John Marshall’s The Life of Washington, I listened with satisfaction as a hard and heavy rain beat on the windowed ceiling of The Atrium. It was noon and the union protesters were at the New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton getting soaked.

Tea Partiers, led by Americans for Prosperity, were gathering themselves up to go down to counter-protest. Initially, I wanted to go. But I wanted to remain in my present employment as long as it is possible for me to do so (it will be a long summer but when fall arrives, it appears I will be at my leisure to join the Tea Party protesters).

I snuggled into my seat with the warmest satisfaction knowing that the union goons were getting soaked to the skin. I was equally satisfied that certain parties who complained at an April 2009 Tea Party rally when I spoke of education reform and the heavy price New Jersey residents were paying for the privilege of having their children taught that America is a terrible place were also being soaked to the skin.

Then this morning, I woke up to the The Record’s banner head line of “Cries of Middle Class ‘War’!” Are they kidding? According to NAACP of N.J. James Harris, “If it wasn’t for the unions, there wouldn’t be a middle class.” This is the state of education in New Jersey: that seemingly educated people don’t understand that the unions are mob-ruled (literally) and communist-inspired. The communists despise the middle class, the proletariat, and are seeking to create a “class-less” society. The chief means of doing this is by destroying the economic system that makes it possible for individuals to succeed in life: capitalism.

Individualism is another concept communists despise. Naturally, they’re upset at the notion of states giving individuals the choice of joining a union – or not. They’d lose an enormous of amount of revenue in terms of union dues. Their power would also be diminished. Good teachers don’t need a union to bargain with administrators for a raise; they can obtain a raise by their own talent and hard work. Students would go on learning, crooks would be caught, fires would be put out, patients would get the care they need, and commuters could get to their jobs on-time – and within budget – to pay the taxes for the bus driver’s salary.

What’s more, public sector employees would be working at roughly the same wages, with the same benefits, and under the same scrutiny to perform well, as the rest of the middle class of which they claim to be members. You can be a member of a union or you can be a member of the middle class; you can’t be both. Just read up on Karl Marx.

When I spoke of educational reform – meaning, that taxpayers were being soaked by teachers’ unions and teachers who got better benefits than we did and got to retire at age 55 – it was really quite a mild rebuke, in retrospect – the organizers had a fit and put an end to my speech. The crowd really wasn’t all that big by that time, but they got the message and spread it.

Only that wasn’t the message this particular Tea Party wanted spread. They wanted to focus on fiscal responsibility. What falls under the heading of fiscal responsibility more than communities reining in teachers’ union excesses? That the salaries we, the taxpayers providing them, were transferred into union dues to support political parties that support their unions?

I thought there was something very wrong with all that and that it should be an issue and did speak to fiscal, not to mention political, responsibility. What they’re teaching is crucial too, and of interest to parents and education-minded but childless citizens like myself. We’re paying good money for outrageous schoolbooks that promote false science, anti-Capitalism, and the “evils” of liberty and freedom.

Nearly two years later, they finally figured it out. Still, I would have gone if I could have. Since I could not, but did my part two years ago (for all the thanks I got), I sat eating my lunch in the Atrium with great equanimity. Warm, dry, and completely free of a guilty conscience, I meditated for a few minutes while listening to the rain, on the victory in the Wisconsin Assembly.

The fight isn’t over yet, according to the Media. The Wisconsin Republicans approved the Budget Repair bill, which ends collective bargaining rights for nearly all public workers and forces them pay a higher premium on their benefits, with a vote of 51 to 17. As they voted for the bill, the sleepy Assembly Democrats jeered them as they walked out of the Assembly, yelling “Shame! Shame! Shame!"

According to a report in The New American: “The vote now moves to the Wisconsin Senate, but the Senate Democrats have fled to Illinois in order to prevent a vote on the bill (their absence denies a quorum). Senate Republicans went so far as to send out state troopers in search of the Democrats at their homes for the purpose of bringing them to the Senate chamber, but to no avail.”

Shame, shame, shame!

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