Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why o why o why o did i ever leave Ohio?

Believe it or not, that used to be a song. Seriously.

I've been reviewing Rachel Maddow's show over the last week or so (I don't spend ALL my time on the computer) and have been delighted at the news of the vote in Ohio.

And no I don't want to go back except to visit. But I am proud of my former childhood home for defeating SB5 which the Republican legislature and governor rammed through last year. It would basically destroy the idea of collective bargaining, would have reduced the power of unions to nothing, would have been a boon to the corporate oligarchy as proved by the amount of Koch brothers' money that went into the fight for that vote.

I don't know where the hell Gov. Kasich got that idea from. He's got an Eastern European-sounding name. Eastern Europeans are plentiful in Ohio. And they are laborers and belong, in large part, to unions. Doesn't he know any steelworkers (former steelworkers—all those jobs went overseas)? If any place is a union state it's Ohio. At least I can say that about Northeast Ohio. My father was a steel mill worker (until someone dropped a palette full of bricks on his foot—he walked with a limp forever after and lost his job—in 1917 or thereabouts. I wasn't politically aware enough when he was alive to ask if he got workmen's comp or a severance pay. Snort. It was 1917.)
And almost everyone who was a friend of my family was a union member. Usually steel, but often also police. Only wives and priests were not union members. Priests had a different kind of organization which did not empower them, alas. They coulda used a good union.

My father had a thing against blacks because they were brought up from the south in an effort to break the union-forming activists. He never realized that the blacks were being used by the corporate owners just as he was. That's the way capitalism works.
Where was I? Oh, Ohio shot down that attempted legislation decisively. And good for them. If someone in that state doesn't belong to a union, they have a family member who does. Chalk one up for Ohio.

And chalk one up for Mississippi. They shot down, again decisively, a law declaring a fertilized egg a person.  This meant if you were raped, you had to bear the rapist's child. This meant that if you might die if you went into labor, tough luck, you're going into labor. This meant if  you used birth-control pills you were a felon. And Mississippi, that anti-abortion, conservative state, saw how wrong-headed this legislation would be and shot it down. Way to go Mississippi!

It's way beyond wonder, way beyond snark, way beyond disgust, what the Republicans all over the country are doing to try to put down the majority of people in support of their corporate money pot. So far they are trying, sometimes succeeding, to destroy working people's bargaining rights, create barriers to voting for the minorities—who may vote Democratic, insert the federal government into our personal lives, insert very conservative religious beliefs into our laws and basically sucking up to the likes of the Koch brothers.
How can anybody vote for these wingnuts?

I know someone who thinks that things aren't going to get better until we "break the unions." Hello?
If you think that unions are getting too much in the way of benefits, take  look at how much 1% of our population is sucking up at the expense of the rest of us. If we can even things out about THAT, then I might consider looking at whether or not working people are getting too much from our society. But only then.
If it weren't for unions we wouldn't have the weekend, we wouldn't have workmen's comp, we wouldn't have even the pathetic (compared to the rest of the western world) health care we have (just ask my dad's ruined foot). Are there excesses? Yep. But are they worse than the excesses of the richest among us? Nope.
I mean, this is a no-brainer.
As far as I am concerned, you can't pay teachers ENOUGH!

Aagh, here I am  bitching about politics again. I don't want to do this, but it is getting really important to be aware of what is going on. It seems like Republican leadership (not necessarily the Republican proletariat—see Ohio and Mississippi—those votes weren't from Democrats alone) has just swallowed all it's corporate masters' kool-aid and is entirely oblivious to the needs of the rest of us, and oblivious to the idea of what America is supposed to be.
We were not meant to substitute the rule of corporations for the rule of kings. Really— to take the Suprenme Court at it's own (misguided) word—if corporations are persons, then they shouldn't be kings. Getting rid of kings and giving power to the people, not corporations, is what the American Revolution is all about.

Think about that next time you go to a voting booth—if a Republican-sponsored restriction doesn't keep you out of it.


Ronaldo said...

Your right on all counts.My grandfather was a coal miner and a steel worker and also a union organizer in Cleveland. he would take me to meetings when I was four or five. I still remember having to drink water out of a crude spigot at one of the meetings. I was in the laborer's union myself as a teenager.
Unions are definitely two edge swords being both beneficial and suppressive depending on which union and which era you care to exammne.

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Ohio have spoken, and we aren't finished.