It’s whose fault?
Caution – this is a bit of a political rant – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Watching the events unfold in Wisconsin has gotten me pretty upset. The reason why is because the Republican attack on unions and teachers is an extreme tactic used by extreme individuals and it doesn’t bode well for the future of our democracy.
The Republicans are arguing that the reason we have a deficit is because the unions want workers to get paid actual living wages and to have (gasp) medical and retirement benefits! Apparently if the workers didn’t demand decent pay and health care – we wouldn’t have a deficit. So it’s their fault! Stupid workers wanting to get paid.
They are also arguing that workers are the reason businesses aren’t hiring. Again, workers are demanding to get paid and everyone knows that paying your workers a living wage cuts into corporate profits and that just isn’t fair to the wealthy.
The Republican solution is to take away the right of individuals to join together in a union to better advocate for their right to not be made into indentured servants. Oh, I’m sorry, they can join a union, the union just isn’t allowed to negotiate on behalf of it’s members anymore. To say this is anti-democratic in principle is an understatement. People have the right to peacefully assemble to demand redress of their grievances. I think that’s written into the Constitution somewhere.
Here’s why this worries me. To actively argue that people shouldn’t have the right to join together and make their case for whatever it is they want to argue for is inherently anti-democratic! You don’t have to agree with what they want – but we should all at least be able to agree that individuals have the right to join together to make their case. That Republicans are trying to take away that right from citizens of this country is terrifying!
I hate to seem like a douche bag for making a Nazi comparison – but one of the first thing the Nazi’s did when they came to power was to take over the unions. Trade unionists were amongst the first to be rounded up and murdered. Describing unions as if they are anti-American groups who need to be stopped and their rights taken away is horrifying reminiscent of what the Nazi’s were doing. And yeah – making Nazi comparisons is not good, but in this case, it’s a fair comparison. Nazi’s went after the trade unions and now Republicans are going after them as well. And I think we all should be asking why? What do they hope to accomplish by shutting down the unions who are simply a group of people who have joined together to better advocate for their interests? Why don’t Republicans want American workers to have the same rights that other Americans do?
My best guess as to why Republicans would be opposed to people having the right to join together to fight for their rights is because much of the leadership of the Republican Party is involved in a religious group called “The Fellowship” also known as the Family. (See article here). The theology of the family is pro-leadership. They believe God has chosen our leaders for us and wants us to submit to our leaders and anyone who questions their leaders is guilty of a crime against God – and no – I’m not making that up. Labor unions are a problem precisely because they challenge the owners of businesses and those owners are God’s chosen leaders. And yes, this theology is inherently anti-democracy. And yes, members of the Fellowship actually admire Hitler because he had the right idea in terms of creating a Christian dictatorship to which all the churches and the entire society was subordinate. And no – I’m not making that bit up either. Read the friggin book! The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
The war against education
The other aspect of the Republican attack on unions centers on their attacks on the teacher’s unions and that also upsets me for a whole other set of reasons. Their attack on teachers is very similar to the attack on worker’s rights, but with the added dimension of attacking the value of education itself.
As an educated person who values public education and what all that provides our country. They have already been attacking science education and scientists. They make fun of educated people for being, you know, educated. And now they are attacking our teachers. For me, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We cannot tolerate this anymore.
I hate to go back to the Nazi comparisons, but once Hitler got control over the unions and purged his political opposition, he then took over the schools. They got rid of all “subversive and unreliable teachers.” The Republican attack on teacher’s is very similar to the Nazi purge of “subervise” teachers. They don’t mind kids being taught – they just want them taught an approved curriculum that supports their worldview. Don’t think it can happen here? Then why did the Texas school board re-write the social studies curricula to omit Thomas Jefferson and his subversive ideas about Democracy in favor of John Calvin – the religionist?
Of course, after the attack on the teachers the Nazi’s also attacked intellectuals, those people who were educated enough to challenge the propaganda on factual grounds – they had to go. And lets not forget anyone who wasn’t Christian. They had to go. And while Jews don’t seem to be in the cross hairs of the Christian Nationalists who make up the Republican Party at this point, they are trying to make being a Muslim illegal in Tennessee.
Scared yet? You should be. If we don’t stop the Republican attempts to restructure our country in favor of a nation ruled by a Christian oligarchy, we will loose our democracy.
To recap = what the Republican Party has in common with the Nazi’s of Germany
I normally don’t approve of Nazi comparisons because usually what is happening is that one thing is compared. But here we have a pattern of similar behavior – and that is why I think the comparison is valid. Here they are.
- First they went after the unions
- Then they went after the teachers
- Then they changed the curricula
- Then they went after people who aren’t of the correct faith
- They are supported by and support an oligarchy
- and most importantly, they admire Hitler.