America’s foremost Facebook pundit, Sarah Palin, has posted a new ghostwritten bulletin addressing the tumultuous situation in Wisconsin. In it she seeks to drum up opposition to unions and the working people of America who form their ranks. She advises her “union brothers and sisters” that they “don’t have to kowtow to the union bosses” whom she says are using them. In the process she offers her own definition of “solidarity:”
“Solidarity doesn’t mean making Wisconsin taxpayers pay for benefits that are not sustainable and affordable at a time when many of these taxpayers struggle to hold on to their own jobs and homes. Real solidarity means everyone being willing to sacrifice and carry our share of the burden. It does no one any favors to dismiss the sacrifices others have already had to make—in wage cuts, unpaid vacations, and even job losses—to weather our economic storm.”
Apparently Palin’s view of solidarity is disbanding organized efforts to advocate on behalf of workers. She thinks that by dissolving the collective bargaining clout that unions provide and foregoing representation so that every worker is an island without any capacity to negotiate with powerful government and corporate institutions, somehow their interests will magically manifest themselves overnight.
Palin also advances the falsehood that unions are demanding unsustainable and unaffordable benefits. The truth is that the unions have already stated their willingness to compromise on benefits, but they are steadfastly against Gov. Walker’s demand that they also give up their right to collective bargaining. So it’s the governor who is standing in the way of fiscal reform, and the only reason for doing so is to bust the unions. Keep that in mind the next time you hear him lie about wanting to reduce the state’s deficit.
Palin’s argument that everyone should be “willing to sacrifice” dishonestly ignores the fact that it was Gov. Walker who reduced taxes on corporations, causing the current budget crisis. Now, after easing the burden on the wealthy, he is asking only the middle-class to sacrifice. And Palin’s phony attempt to manufacture sympathy for those who have already taken pay cuts or lost work is bound to backfire. She thinks that she can portray union members as enjoying lavish lifestyles at the expense of everyone else. But what the working people of Wisconsin (and America) will see is the obvious value of union membership. They will see that not being in a union puts them at the mercy of well organized employers. They will see that strength in numbers and effective representation is the best way to protect the interests of working families. Those non-union workers who have suffered already are more likely to want to join unions than bash them.
The sad thing is that Palin’s ghostwritten Facebook post will likely receive more attention than the counter-arguments that make much more sense. The media is still fixated on the ramblings of this self-serving, inarticulate failure. But worse than that, the media has a pro-business bias that is inescapable. Almost every TV network and major newspaper has dedicated business coverage. There are three cable channels dedicated to business news. Where is the labor news channel? Where is the labor section in the Sunday Times?
It is due to this disparity that the Wisconsin protests are so important for the whole country. This is the only way to force labor issues into the mediasphere. And while the GOP/Tea Party faction has been duped into opposing policies that are in their own best interest, they are an insignificant slice of the populace whose views are not shared by the mainstream. It’s time that the press stop slobbering over these pathetic miscreants and pay attention to America’s working majority.