February 2005


The current administration is at war with its own stated ideals: while espousing democracy in glowing terms as a mission from God, their failure to support and defend the democratic institutions in their own country flatly contradicts democratic aims.

People have a lot of funny ideas about unions. One of the kookiest is the notion that a union is some kind of Mafia-like organization with bosses and lieutenants, with the membership totally divorced and unconnected to the leadership. In the overwhelming majority of cases, this portrayal is completely at odds with the facts. Unions are democratic institutions. Members elect the leadership. In fact, the organizations that most closely conform to the Mafia-like stereotype are our major corporations, which are entirely undemocratic in structure, theory and practice.

There is a good reason for this: a concerted effort on the part of the business community to discredit unions. No, this is not just another conspiracy theory -- you can document this for yourself from the pages of Newsweek, Time and Business Week. The campaign started before WWI when the business community perceived a threat from Communism/Socialism, and many business leaders concluded that the threat needed to be opposed by a campaign to "win the hearts and minds of coming generations."

President Bush's inauguration speech was all about supporting democracy, but when you look more closely at what he said, you find it composed of:

  1. Things that were not true: such as, saying that the founding fathers opposed slavery, when in fact the majority (including Jefferson and Washington) were slave owners.
  2. Things that are conclusions based on items in 1., and are thus unfounded and nonsensical.

But it sure sounded good if you didn't think about it, didn't it? A good test for this kind of balderdash is to determine how much you need not know for it to sound pretty good. You can be pretty certain it is disingenuous lies if the less you know, the better it sounds.

I like it when people ask my opinion and listen to my answer. That's the good part about democracy. That is why we vote. Got an opinion about unions? Here's a good place to tell them what you think: I can certainly tell you that if any union election was fraught with as many irregularities as the last national election (on both sides), they'd throw out the results and hold the election again. But that is because unions and union people have a real commitment to democracy that is not shared by most of the top people in our government today.

Our leaders today are only interested in sounding good, not doing good. They want the freedom to do as they please, without constitutional restraints or the oversight of a concerned and informed electorate. They are pathologically paranoid of dissent, which is the real bedrock of any true republic. Face it, what do you think Jefferson or Lincoln would have said about an imitation-only inauguration? Judge your leaders not by their words, but by their deeds and the effects those deeds have upon the weakest and most powerless of citizens.

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