Editor’s Pick
JUNE 4, 2012 9:49AM

Talking Wisconsin Union

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Now? Now I just laugh when people tell me they don’t like Unions. I’m 72 years old. I’m Wisconsin born and bred. All I can do is laugh.

 

I know my history. Taught history for 32 years in the Beloit Public Schools. Followed the seasons from the chalk dust smells of September to the lazy, summer afternoons in June when the average child’s attention span is about a minute and a half. Been around long enough to have seen a bit of history and I read enough to know that I really don’t know all that much.

 

But I do know unions.

 

And telling me you don’t like unions is like telling me you don’t like it when the working people, not the rich people, but the working people, join together to take care of each other.

 

Course then you have to go on. And that’s fine. One thing I learned down through my years is that some people can only learn if they are talking. So you just go ahead and talk. Tell me right now. Tell me here in my little rooms here across the street from the park. The little home David and I shared, across 50 snow wild and windy winters right here on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin. Tell me about all the evils done by the unions. Tell me how there have been lying, cheating, greedy pig men---and you ever notice we are most always talking about men here, cept for that awful teachers union lady in Chicago, there have been the worst of the worst running unions. Stomping on the fingers of the little guy in ways that would make a Koch brother smile. Or at least make him send a check off to support an orchestra for a year or two.

 

Tell me that and I’ll tell you I know.

 

Tell me that there is no reason for a union if a place is well run.

 

I’ll tell you I know.

 

Then throw up your hands, just like the kids in my class used to do, and ask me in that 'why doesn’t this grown up understand anything' tone of voice. I can hear my kids speaking in that tone right now. They’d say, “Mrs. LaFollette? I don’t understand. How can you still like unions?”

 

That’s when I’d say something like, “Well, here’s a little secret. Promise not to tell? Cause in some circles, this is really radical.”

 

Kids would listen for just one second. But I’d grab that second and squeeze it hard, cause it’s in that second that you just might get someone to think differently about something. Doesn’t happen often. But when it does, it’s the magic moment.

 

So I’d continue with this, “Guess what class? I like churches too!”

 

“Churches!! They would show me faces of horror. Or nods confirming that the old bat history teacher has lost it this time for sure.

“Churches? More wars, harm, horror and evil have been done by churches than, well I don’t know. . .”

 

“Then the other Koch brother?”

 

“Still lost in the absurdity of what I believed, they would often be speechless. So I’d take that second and say, “A church can be a horrible place. In so very many ways. It can shut you out colder than the meanest winter wind. But it can also be a bunch of people joining together to figure out things that are bigger than they are. Things like, how do we do good?”

 

And they’d be quiet for a minute. Just for a minute.

 

So I’d say this about the unions. I’d tell the kids, The union is a way for a bunch of people to be stronger by sticking together.

 

“Mrs. LaFollette?” I remember once one of my kids asked me, “Were you a hippie?”

 

“Well if you mean did I have my fun? You bet I did. If you don’t know the word ‘idealist’ you will. And you’ll look back some day and you’ll think, that crazy lady history teacher. She was an idealist. Yeah that’s it. She didn’t understand the way the world works. Unions just drive up costs. And we have a budget deficit! So we can’t drive up costs. So that governor who wants to bust the unions? He’s on the right track.”

 

And I’ll tell you the same thing again. A union is a way for a bunch of people to be stronger by sticking together. And if all you can tell me is “Hey old lady, you are an idealist!” I’d say, “How we gonna get to where we want to be if we can’t say where we’re going?”

 

Now, class? Lets see a show of hands? How many of us are AGAINST a bunch of people wanting to be stronger by sticking together?

 

And after I’d tell ‘um that there would be quiet for awhile. Just like its quiet now. Now that its just me.

 

By the time you read this, it’s likely that we’ll all know whether that horrible, horrible union busting governor got recalled. If he does get recalled, well, I’ll be fine.

 

But if he’s allowed to stay?  My pension from my years of service is all I have. This guy takes it away from me? Then I guess he really is the kind of guy who would toss an old school teacher out of her rooms and on to the street.

 

Reminds me of that song that singer mailman fella from Oak Lawn Illinois wrote, that John Prine. When he sang;

 

You know that old trees just grow stronger

Old rivers grow wilder every day

Old people just grow lonesome

Waiting for someone to say

Hello in there

Hello.

 

Yeah, if we all vote to let that union buster keep his job? Well, I guess we got no one to blame but ourselves. And this idea of people sticking together to look out for each other, this idea will have just taken a hammer to the head.

 

What will I do if it turns out that the union buster wins? And he starts chipping away at the little trickle of all I have? And I lose my rooms here on Park Avenue in Beloit?

 

Oh I don’t know. Course I still have my bicycle. You know, I remember, when June would come around? The kids in my classes would get all dreamy eyed, and they wouldn’t be the only ones.

 

After school, I’d hop on my bike, and as the late afternoon sun baked the tar on the endless blacktop shimmering country roads that swirled through the corn fields, I’d go riding. And when I’d ride those blacktop roads and smell summer come to bake all my troubles into the dust of other times, sometimes I’d think about my Grand Dad. They called him Fighting Bob. Fighting Bob LaFollette. And when people talked about Wisconsin? They’d talk about him.

 

And sometimes, when the prairie wind would come rustle warm through the cornfields, sometimes when it was just the right moment, I’d hold my breath just for a moment and I could hear his voice. I’d be nine years old again and I’d hear Fighting Bob whispering just like he’d want every one to hear, I’d hear him say, “You just keep fighting Little Girl. You just keep fighting and remember, that you are not alone.”

 

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You never fail to amaze me dear.
You did not.
so well done on all accounts.
You've made an angel here...CG, you've personalized an issue that had become politicized, meaning sound-bited and sloganized. Thanks for putting a face, a face we all recognize, on the big picture. We are stronger together, for sure. thanks.

"I’d grab that second and squeeze it hard, cause it’s in that second that you just might get someone to think differently about something". Well, CG, I think you're doing it.
As the son of a lifelong Teamster, I know well the good and bad of unions. My daddy's kin were also among those who risked their lives standing up against mine owners and their goons in Kentucky coal country. Without unions, there would be no 40-hour week, no overtime, no safety regulations, no health insurance and no retirement . And that will be the case again unless young people wake up -- and soon.

Unfortunately, these days young people seem only to know the bad about unions -- and that's stark testimony to just how diabolically clever and effective corporatists have been at spreading half-truths and outright lies. The old saying seems to apply here:

You don't know what you got until you lose it.
Where are the Brothers Reuther when you need them?
Sure wish to hell this could be read on the radio, or, even better, dramatized in a TV spot between now and the election. Meryl Streep would be good for the part. Even better, Laura Linney.
“You just keep fighting Little Girl. You just keep fighting and remember, that you are not alone.”

yes...this was a wonderful thing to read today, loved it.
The irony and twist of Wisconsin at critical mass... keeping my fingers crossed for those folks.
You've put a good face on an issue that seems to be misunderstood all too often.
Excellent, Roger. The recall is all down to Turnout, now. Ithink of Heidi and her husband collecting signatures on that recall petition last winter and how they kept going even when it was discouraging, and I give Tom Barrett a few more votes.

We can't let Scott Walker and th Kochs win tomorrow. There's too much at stake. No matter how angry I get with the people who would
tear a state like Wisconsin apart for their own gain by villifying the people who have made it a good place to live, it's impossible to keep up!

Rated.
Ps I WISH I could give Tom Barrett more votes, but all I can give him is a few more dollars. Good luck tomorrow Tom, and good luck, Wisconsin!
Roger, I do not know if I can hold my breath that long...Excellent piece, getting inside the head of of this lady...The Wisconsin recall is perhaps the most important event ever for workers in the entire nation. Walker is the test case for other union busting plans. I am heartened by the folks pouring into the state to help get out the vote.
I dunno, this song ran through my head as I filled out an online job app. http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Revolution/250YUO?src=5
And watching from out here on the "left coast", I'll be hoping that the voters of Wisconsin stick together and vote in favor of all the "little guys". According to the press though, it may boil down to who shows up to vote--apparently Republicans are expected to have a far higher turnout than Democrats. That's not surprising and has been the traditional/historical way that they have prevailed. They rely on apathy and a less than full sense of efficacy on the part of Democrats to win. Dammit.
What a fantastically thought out and presented piece CG. Thanks.
Yep, sharing this one.
You have certainly done your part to open eyes on this issue. This post was especially meaningful to me. I never felt so powerful and connected as I did standing a picket line with other teachers one bone-chilling winter in Oregon. Hopefully the vote will go the way of the workers. Hopefully their voices won't be drowned out by Koch money. HOPE...
There's not much to stop the wind out on the prairie.

Thanks, ChicagoGuy ~
May that wind blowing across the prairie be the Winds of Change blowing across the seas of chaos...This was so very excellent!!! What an unforgettable face and voice you have given this issue!
Sadly, most of Walker's supporters don't even realize that they're voting against their own future and welfare, selling it all to the fat cats for pennies; just as in the southern coal mining communities, the mixed message of "being American, is being Republican" is so convoluted and deeply engrained that people head to the polls like lemmings to impale themselves on the voting machine stands.

One would think that the worldwide disdain for corporate and elitist greed would swing heavily in favor of Barrett, but it’s too damned close for comfort. Hell! Look at Ireland and their recent lost opportunities to tell the elite to pound sand. The same refusal to act, or maybe it’s the fear of the temporary results, seems to be the mantra of the U.S. as well and they’ll “go down a fightin to be a true mericun.”

Damn it’s hard to wake people up!
Words fail me at your post. Just as they fail me at saying how proud I am of all your state and how hard you've all worked for the rest of us.

B/c tomorrow IS a test, of course. It's David and Goliath all over again--and God help us all if G wins...
To baltimore. Put your proof where your mouth is. Show me several examples...using reliable public sources of information...that there are " teachers earning twice the average wage of private sector employees" for jobs with similar educational requirements and responsibilities.
Loved this, CG. Touched my soul.
Oh, dear Lord, how is it that so many working people do not understand that it is, in fact, about “working people joining together to take care of each other…a bunch of people joining together to figure out things that are bigger than they are, things like, how do we do good..a bunch of people getting to be stronger by sticking together.”

Thank you for this, Chicago Guy.
As a former teacher and union activist - AFT - who was reared in a family of union people - I salute you. All of the empirical evidence shows - for those who claim to be hard-nosed about the need for data -that there is a direct correlation between the number of unionized employees and the level of economic equality. As unions have been besieged by "right-to-work laws," out-sourcing and the myth of self-made man , economic inequality has grown enormously. It's important that workers begin to insist, once again, that their voices be heard in the workplace and that those who cravenly pander to corporate interests and accept their money - such as Scott Walker - be retired from the public sector, permanently.

I hope every registered voter in Wisconsin understands what's at stake tomorrow. If you care about your children and grandchildren vote and urge your neighbors and friends to vote out and send the Koch brothers a message that "this land belongs to you and me."
EP material once again. Keep on fightin' bro!
R
Hi Mission! I bet you had this lady for history class!

Pandora--Personalizing so often gets lost. It's not an issue. It's DINNER!

TC--Which is why we gotta keep telling the true stories of people like your daddy, the Kentucky minors, and everyone else who stood up and said "enough!" The technique of making the oppressor into the victim has been diabolically clever. But it is a trick. A sleight of hand. What's real are voices of real people. Out front!

B---Waiting for YOU to write about them!

CM--Get Laura on the phone!

Heidi---Thank you!

jmac---Critical mass is right!



Frank--See? I knew you'd get it eventually!

j---It really is misunderstood. Partially because the rush to judgement and pre-packaged opinions is louder that the human voice.

Melissa---DO NOT underestimate the dollars! Every penny matters here!
Roger,

this is great, this is really great stuff!!!
It's the courage and means to walk out which is most sorely missed. Sometime between Carter's ultimatums on global commerce and Reagan's PATCO assault, the whole framing changed. Our governments switched allegiances to those who need no defending. Blessed may be the "job creators" but not in every hymnal. This is some of your best writing, IMHO.
Gary---I can't hold mine that long either! But I'd agree---this is a real showdown.

Pandora---Hah! Perfect fit!


Walter---That's the way I read it too. Turnout.

Sweetfeet--Cool! Thanks!

Beauty--It is all about that hope!

catch 22---Which is why bourbon is so important!

JG--Hey you sure came by at the right time.


Boomer---See Cordle's comment. I agree. It's the "what's The Matter With Kansas" thing.

Baltimore--I guess it just comes down to what am individual, real person values most. In all my years at Gallup, I never saw one poll where every single soul saw something the same way.

elsmao3---Yes! David and Goliath!

Deborah--Thank you!


Karen--Wish I knew the answer to that question. Maybe because the simple stuff gets lost in the noise?


Paul--I've seen that empirical evidence first hand. And I've seen the science that goes into polling. And you are totally right. Thanks for bringing that up!


PW---Glad you are here!
Roger,
I've nominated you for Reader's Pick. You have already EP, but I think the people of OS should confirm that!
I'm holding my breath and lighting every candle I own and hope that right out shines the all mighty $. Excellent post. This is the real deal and test of the direction forward or God help us all, backwards. :D
Wisconsin being my second home state, I so know this woman from Beloit. You have breathed life into her that makes me dizzy with anticipation of tomorrow's outcome. I hope the good people of Wisconsin who understand the importance of a middle class will embrace that notion of being stronger by sticking together and get out and vote to remove this scary guy.

Lezlie
Right with you -- up against it still ...
Please allow me to add to your fine post the following:

Put Wisconsin First. Vote Tom Barrett on June 5.

\
William --

The "King Street Patriots," a group of Texas extremists, have arrived in Wisconsin. They believe that voter registration for the poor is "un-American," and would "destroy the country." They already came to Wisconsin once and intimidated recall petition signers -- and now they've dropped so-called "election observers" into polling locations across the state.

Our Voter Protection Team is on alert, but we need an additional $100,000 before tomorrow to make sure every last vote is counted. Can you chip in $5 to our Voter Protection Fund by our deadline at midnight tonight?

After emailing threats and racial slurs ahead of the 2010 election failed to stop courageous voters from turning out to vote in Houston, the King Street Patriots showed up at the polls and intimidated voters directly. So many complaints were filed that the United States Department of Justice was called in to investigate.

But it doesn't stop with the King Street Patriots. Just yesterday, Republican Attorney General and Scott Walker buddy J.B. Van Hollen announced that he would also be sending field teams to "monitor" polls in mostly Democratic wards.

Scott Walker and his cronies are looking desperate, and will do anything to avoid the loss that is coming their way. Our latest poll shows that the race is dead even, and could even come down to a single vote, making it crucial that we stop the suppression efforts and ensure that every vote is counted.

Make sure that everyone gets a fair shot at casting a ballot on Election Day. Fight back against their dirty tricks with $5 to our Voter Protection Fund by midnight tonight.

Join us in our voter protection efforts, and together, we will deliver a victory tomorrow.

Thank you,

Phil Walzak
Deputy Campaign Manager
Barrett for Wisconsin
Chicago Guy, your sentiment is nice. Unfortunately, the history of most of America's unions (since the 1960's) doesn't inspire that kind of hope.

Unions have sold out their workers at every step. Their leaderships didn't stand up against the suicidal decisions of management to disembowel their own businesses. To take a good example, the UAW did nothing to keep the automobile companies from their many wrong-headed decisions.

I'm not talking simply outsourcing, cutting workforce or closing factories. The unions could have told management that the cars they were turning out were rust buckets, that the Japanese and Germans were turning out more efficient and better quality cars, and that building stupid SUV's and luxury vehicles was ruining their mutual industry. They didn't, and now the only way to improve life in Detroit would be a couple of hydrogen bombs.

The union to which I belonged, which covered broadcast personnel, didn't even bother recruiting. They inspired no hope or belief in united effort. As a result, management "tolerated" union members as a kind of joke for a few years, then targeted them for layoff - which happened to me and the other members of the union.

Unions used to mean "union" at one time - workers recognizing that we had a common cause, and that cause had to be maintained in the face of the rich idiots with suits, ties and thugs. Well, the idiots now rule, the unions ran away, and America's people are in the same toilet as their economy.

Unions have deliberately forgotten that their members had to shed blood to get what little respect they had. They will have to do so again - shedding their blood as well as the blood of their enemies - if they ever want to help the workers again. The cowards currently running unions don't have the stomach for it, and if they don't, why should the union members?
Really well done, CG.

Unions lost the PR battle while simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot with either personally greedy or incompetent (or both) leaders. Unions lost political clout as manufacturing jobs went overseas. Unions seemed to lose heart after Reagan fired the air traffic controllers (speaking of union leaders making a disastrous decision). Can anyone name a union strike since then that drew attention beyond the local newspaper? Outside of a Major League Baseball.

“What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures,”
--- Samuel Gompers
Eljekar---Thank you!

Stacey-- "Our governments switched allegiances to those who need no defending." That says it SO well!

tg--Am with you on the candles and holding my breath too. This really is the real deal.


Lezlie-- I know the feeling. I used to live in Beloit. Loved the place. I wish I lived there now for this!

inthis--THANK YOU! I wish I knew how to highlight a comment because yours is really important to this whole discussion! I hope people are reading these comments cause they are all really insightful.


neutron--I really appreciate your passion and care and the fact that you will comment here. That means more than you might imagine.

What resonates about your comment is the fact---and it is an unarguable fact--that people have shed blood for what we are talking about! That's why this whole thing is so important.

As to all the shortcomings of the unions, remember what my old history teacher in the piece said---she knows that. Doesn't even argue it. Knows that unions have done LOTS of people wrong.

Whether its deliberate or not? I'm guessing she doesn't know. I know I don't know. That is a pretty hard judgement to make.

She'd likely tell you that she's not being sentimental. (In reality, she's a bit of a hard ass) She is being idealistic. And in thinking about that, you'd likely agree. There is a difference.

But the bottom line, the place where she'd take her stand is to say that the goal of having people stick together to take care of each other is a good goal. Which makes sense to me. How about you?

Stim---That list of losses rememinds me of a certain baseball team. . .especially since its all true! The PR battle I think is a biggie. The Gompers quote is PERFECT. It sums up ALL of this.
"that the old bat history teacher has lost it this time for sure."

That reminds me I need to post about the time my history teacher in high school lost it during a lesson about Rome.

He came in with his 'invisible toga' screaming, the British are coming!! The British are coming!!

It was a strange test day indeed!! ~:D

Rated(Going to be a strange day tomorrow I imagine!!! ~nods~)
Tink---That was Mr. Belushi. I had him for sixth period World History. He was AWESOME!
Why unions? It's easy. The boss ALWAYS has your interest at heart above anything else in the company. Not!
I taught for eight years as an adjunct, and found unions in that industry to have a rather mixed effect, for both teachers and students. One could go too far either way.
Thank you for this post. Unions can be problematic but I have also seen what they have done for my teacher mother.
Keeping my fingers crossed for today. Thanks for this post, from a teacher.
ONL--Hah!

Don---Yes. That mixed effect makes it hard to see the underlying point.

post--That's when something really hits home. When there is a real person who benefits.

green--Thank you for BEING a teacher!
Oh, good Lord....today is election day here in Wisconsin (as you all know...)

Very, very nervous. I am in a Senate recall district, too---cross your fingers, light a candle, say a prayer, send good vibes, whatever your belief system merits.....!!!
Oh, and I almost forgot: this post was amazing--sent it to most of my family members (especially those who are Walker supporters--which is an unfortunate large percentage *sigh*)....
Pensive--I know that this is dividing a LOT of families. And nobody needs that. So I tried to relate what what that history teacher from Beloit said, NOT in terms of Walker's evils---as most do--but rather in terms of the underlying human need we all have to band together and look out for each other.

That common need is different from the manipulative "trojan horse" centrism of a David Brooks, who seems so often to say that if we split the difference between good and evil, all will be well.

And the common need has no argument with past union abuses or management abuses. None of us can change the past. It simply says that there is a common need to band together and take care of each other. And so an attack on that common need---stripping the right to bargain collectively--is the worst kind of attack on ALL of us. Because we ALL have that need.
so sharing this to my fb page, wonderful piece, the antidote to drinking the 'no union' kool aid.
i've been in many unions...good and bad....retired from one.....only thing i know is unions are created by employers....if workers had the same benefits,job security,wages,etc, as unions, none would pay dues,etc for no gain....sounds simplistic i know, but i'm a pretty simple dude....
R.
Steel Breeze:

How do you explain the fact that roughly 90% of the workforce is not a not in a union? Or the high concentration of public sector employees which are in a union?

Let me offer a more rational and even simpler explanation for the existence of unions: The Democratic Party
@JF......mebbe ur right.....but politics has ZERO impact on my life decisions, so i couldn't say.
A powerful testimonial Roger. The evidence of its power can be seen in the thoughtfulness on display throughout the thread. In that way, your column(s) are a lot like a union, or at least a union hall, where every voice can be heard -- and responded to.
Steel---It is simple. That doesn't mean everybody is gonna get it.

MAWT--Am not a big fan of that kool aid either.

Johnny--Better be careful. Mrs. LaFollette is gonna make you, Venus and Andy Travis clean the blackboards! I know its hard to believe, but this piece is not about politics. And it does not argue that unions have never done anything wrong.

The piece is about people taking care of each other.

So if you are compelled to write more---kindly stay on that topic. I try real hard to answer everyone. And have only deleted comments 5 times in 4 years. But I do know where the delete button is. Thanks so much for reading the piece and commenting.
I was never in a union. I was in an industry for many years, though, that, in order to keep unions out, proffered really good pay, health plans, insurance, stock purchasing plans, good overtime rules, OSHA adherance and overadherance to health and safety considerations.

They were once the darlings of American Manufacturing.

Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Unions in other places made non-union working in the Semiconductor Manufacturing sector one of the best in the country to be working. Then they simply decided, they'd prefer MORE profit and farmed all their manufacturing out to Korea, China, Germany, the Ukraine (of all places!) and Indonesia.

While these companies now make incredible profits, can we really, in all honesty, call them American Producers? I think they need to be reclassified as American Import/Export companies and tariffed accordingly.

I sit here in Texas, one of the most godforsaken redoubts of Republicanist Idiocy, sitting on pins and needles, hoping that sanity sways and that my best friend's home state of Wisconsin defies the crazy of Tea Party rhetoric and votes in Tom Barrett.

I have no money, the Republican oriented economy took my job and kept me from getting another with any benefits, pay or future, unless I can convince some twenty three year old snot nosed kid to make me an assistant manager for the night shift.

Are you effing kidding me?

Great post. Hang in there and know that there are still sane people, holding out against hope, in even the most Republicanized points on the compass, that Tom Barrett wins this election.

--r--
and favorited-- finally!
JH---Yes! It is like a union hall. Everybody gets to talk, not everybody agrees, but the search for the common good goes on.

dun---Your story just sums it all up SO well. It makes me want to point at it and go "See? This is the way it REALLY is!" Thanks so much for that!
Very Well Done.....CG ThankYou
Johnny Fever --You got your wish! I deleted your comment. Glad I could help you out. It was your use of the word "parasites" that got you there.

Cheffer---Thanks for stopping by!
I guess simplistic minds think simply. Many who are anti-public union because we are not represented at the table. The public unions have there shop stewards, there organization, etc, but unlike private unions, there is no balancing factor. Most of the time, politicians are too darn lazy to and frightened to represent the tax payers. Making a yin and yang argument; for or against is a weak argument. There are many laudable reasons to support untions. But if we want to deal fairly, there should be some equality in the amounts of money people invest in their pensions and their medical care. An office worker at Miller should'nt have to pay for his or her medical care, and also pay for the medical care of a state worker. It's just plain unjust.
eburke--you make a really valid point. The system has to be fair for everyone. It sounds so simple---but as you say--it is not happening.
Thanks for the considered response, Chicago Guy. As for your history teacher whom you quoted...

She'd likely tell you that she's not being sentimental. (In reality, she's a bit of a hard ass) She is being idealistic. And in thinking about that, you'd likely agree. There is a difference.

But the bottom line, the place where she'd take her stand is to say that the goal of having people stick together to take care of each other is a good goal. Which makes sense to me. How about you?


The idea of having people taking care of each other is so much against the common wisdom of people that it might be funny. I am currently taking care of about half a dozen people in various ways - taking them to jobs, sometimes doing their jobs, helping them with computers and cooling and many other things. No one is helping me help them. And while they're often grateful, they'd never be able to do anything for me.

But again, that's me. I've never really seen an organization where people provide mutual aid. It's always been individuals who help, and like me, they basically do it out of spite, to spit in the face of the uncaring God who made us all selfish and cruel.
neutron---I see your point. If I'd never seen an organization where people took care of each other, I would be skeptical (if that's a fair word?) too.

But the rest of your story is interesting. If you've written about it---tell me where I can find the post. That's new to me. Thanks for writing back CG
Once upon a time management was too strong, and a strong union movement evolved. More recently the public service unions have gotten too strong, and in Wisconsin the public turned back the tide. The pendulum swings.

By the way, it's funny to hear Pete Seeger of all people laughing at the suggestion that the folks in his circle were called "damn Reds."
Roger, this is great stuff. I really like the fact that this history teacher taught in Beloit, and he was so close to the Illinois border for escape from Cheesehead nation, where the spirits of both Joe McCarthy and St. Ronald Raygun are alive and sickening. Wisconsin'e election was the best that money could buy for a couple of Koch-heads, and Tom Barrett was outspent in a nearly 8-to-1 ratio. All of the anti-union rhetoric was the result of Reagan's delusional thinking that he developed when working as the spokesman for General Electric, and he continued this when he became the spokesman for Wall Street's big business from 1980 through 1989 as the most overrated president in the history of the United States. I'm stickin' with the union, and I will be sticking it to Reagan as long as I am alive and he remains dead.
Paul Haider, Chicago
Time for the next chapter in the story.
What a bitter disappointment! I haven't felt that bad since the night GWB got his second presidential term even after starting a war and torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

I wish the Walker voters of Wisconsin deep-dyed blue-black remorse as they stand in the unemployment lines and contemplate their folly at selling out their own state.
Great fun watching the clock advance on these comments, knowing that a massive defeat was coming (and has now gone).

First it was all about turnout. When that didn't work, it was all about money, as if a voter makes a decision on the basis of which party spent the most on the campaign. Silly.

I fear the above losers are going to have to face the fact that a recall -- itself a highly extraordinary measure that should be used with extreme restraint-- launched by those who couldn't abide the spectacle of a political figure actually doing what he promised to do and doing it well, just didn't work.

It's a new dawn coming as today's spectacular stock market performance reflected. How appropriate it happened when the Obama campaign is falling apart.
What an excellent perspective from which tell this story and relate one's experiences.
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