Friday, July 14, 2017

The Poor Are Lazy, Suggests UFT-endorsed Fernando Cabrera

Right now Donald Trump and the froglike creature who heads the GOP in the Senate are trying to take healthcare away from tens of millions of Americans so that they can give a tax break to the very richest people in the country. This is a game we've been playing in this country for decades. It's not really something we invented, but we're taking the ball and running with it.

I'm a Democrat. I used to be a Democrat because I thought we stood for working people. Now I'm a Democrat so I can vote in the primaries now and then. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat who told us we would never, ever get single payer health care, a Democrat who criticized Bernie Sanders' idea of free college for all. This is a philosophy that resulted in her spectacular defeat at the teeny-tiny hands of Donald Trump.

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, but for Hillary in the general. She wasn't really what I was looking for, but unlike Fernando Cabrera, she looked fabulous next to Donald Trump. Trump's a despicable bigot, and I have little regard for such people.  He also snookered a lot of Americans into believing that he cared about them. The policies he pushes clearly favor the privileged at the expense of working people like teachers.

So I was sorely disappointed when union leadership saw fit to endorse Cabrera. Cabrera seems to have great regard for governments that pass anti-gay laws. He seems to believe that religion has a place in government. In a city as diverse as New York, that's particularly disturbing. I have no idea what religion Cabrera is, or whether he properly represents it. Nonetheless, I don't want to live by the tenets of any religion that endorses bigotry, and a whole lot of New Yorkers agree with me.

Recently, Cabrera went and outdid himself. He expressed the sentiment that it was harder to be rich than poor. Evidently, with all that money comes a whole lot of pressure. Poor Donald Trump is so boxed in by that pressure that he needs to take a golf vacation at our expense just about every weekend. Bill Gates has things so tough that he needs to impose his worthless ideas on the entire nation's education system. The Koch Brothers have to spend all their energy just making sure they don't have to fritter away any of their billions on nonsense like paying taxes toward a living wage for Americans. I could go on.

I'm not exactly sure why Cabrera is a Democrat. Democrats are supposed to at least pretend to care about the poor. Cabrera suggests that people who aren't rich just can't take the pressure. After all, it's a walk in the park to support your family on two or three minimum wage jobs. All you have to worry about is paying the rent, buying the food, or getting a little sleep here and there. You don't need to fret over your trust fund or portfolio.

There's a great Steinbeck novella called The Pearl. I teach it sometimes.  In it, the priest tells the churchgoers that God has a castle, and we all have positions in God's castle. Those who are meant to be rich are rich, and those who are meant to be poor are poor. Those who question these positions are heretics, in defiance of God.

It's hard for me to see how Cabrera is different from that character, and harder for me to see why UFT leadership sees fit to endorse him. Jonathan Halabi spoke forcefully against this endorsement at both the Executive Board and the DA, but leadership said he wasn't that bad. The thing is, he is that bad and worse. He's reprehensible. I'm proud to have opposed him.

In fact, the biggest problem with our country is that people like Cabrera are in charge. People who don't respect the poor want them to stay that way. They therefore oppose their organizing. They oppose unions and that's why we're likely to become a "Right to Work" nation.

It boggles my mind that we support politicians who think like that.
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