Things have been quiet around these parts as I attempt to wrap my head around what is going on across the country. When it comes to politics we in the business are often so focused on what is going on in our backyards which makes it next to impossible to see what is happening outside of our immediate line of sight. Then came Wisconsin:
The labor movement is used to being spat upon and told that it does more harm than good. That workers would be happier without collective bargaining rights and that those protecting teachers are distasteful. Unions are looked upon either with confusion (why are you still relevant?) or disdain (why do you protect crappy workers?) but no one ever makes the attempt to understand. And frankly, I don't blame them. We all are so focused on our own issues and problems that we cannot seem to find the time to fix something that is happening 'out there'. I just started forcefully pointing as if you could see me and I wish you could hear the severity of what is happening right now in my voice but what is happening in Wisconsin; a Governor willing to take everything away from the people he was supposed to protect can happen anywhere. This isn't just a labor issue and if you think that it is then you have not been paying attention.
There are Governors and members of Congress who think that what happened in November of 2010 was a mandate on their agenda. Screw the minority, screw compromise, I'm here to take charge is what they say. On Morning Joe last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that he was part of a group of Governors elected to change things and they were going to make a change. Well there's a difference between change and telling your constituents to bend over.
Apologies all around for being crass but it's true. And now I'm angry because who the hell do they think we are? People aren't just going to roll over and play dead while you take away their rights and now they know, this new class of Governors, that they have woken a sleeping giant; the Labor Movement. And like hell are they going to back down. Like hell the middle class is going to back down. You wanted a fight and now you have one.
End of that rant.
On Saturday unions, community supporters, business people, and politicians got together at rallies across the country in support of what is happening in Wisconsin. I attended the rally in Albany in the capitol park and to see that sea of people, out there in the cold hours after a snow storm, while people driving up Swan St. beeped in support was a beautiful thing. I've been in need of something to get me en fuego once again and unfortunately but fortunately this is it.
Photos live here