Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. King Saw Janus Coming

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated in 1968. He's famous for his work in civil rights, but when he was assassinated he was supporting working people. He was protesting that black workers got partial pay on a day they were sent home while white workers got paid the whole day. But he knew what "right to work" was all about.

Almost half a century later, we're moving backward. Our lying, racist President labels countries of color "shitholes" and wonders why we don't get more people from Norway. Why Norway? Well, they're white over there. Why would someone from Norway come over here anyway? In Norway, they have cradle to grave health care. How many of them go bankrupt due to catastrophic medical emergency? As in most of the developed world, that number would be zero. How many of them can't afford college? Again, zero.

While few US citizens have pensions these days, Norway, rather than pump energy profits into private corporations, uses it to fund pensions. We teachers are very lucky to have defined pension benefits, and they are under assault by reformies who'd like us to use 401k funds and hope for the best. In fact, even the inventor of the 401k says it wasn't meant to replace pensions.

It's disgraceful that the President of the United States is so woefully ignorant that he regularly blurts out preposterous nonsense, and not only about Norway. Dr. Martin Luther King is likely as not rolling over in his grave. This is a man who literally gave his life for his ideals. Donald Trump has no problem rattling sabres over Kim Jung Un, another lunatic world leader, but took five deferments back when his fat ass was on the line. His feet were no good back then, but now that he's sitting around the White House watching three television screens and eating cheeseburgers before he goes to sleep, he's in perfect health.

I don't know how many states were "right to work" back when King made the above statement, but right now there are 28. After Janus, there will likely be 50. Mulgrew tells us that our new best bud, Andrew Cuomo, will work with us to circumvent Janus if possible. I'm not sure. The fact is Cuomo also enables the IDC, a bizarre arrangement under which Democrats help Republicans control the NY State Senate. Without them we might be looking at universal health care in NY State. With them, Cuomo might be able to say, "See, I tried to help, but I was blocked by those goshdarn senators."

The first thing we need to do to get closer to MLK's vision is to dump the GOP Congress and Senate. If we attain a Democratic majority, it's possible Trump could change his positions. After all, he has no moral compass, no integrity, and cares only about winning. And yes, I know we're all tired of winning, but if the only way our child-man President can win is by doing the right thing, maybe he'll come around. Of course, we have to get rid of the President ASAP too, because he's a blithering lunatic.

The next thing we have to do is let Democrats know that, if they want our votes, they'll have to start representing Americans rather than corporations. Americans want universal health care. Americans want tuition free college. Americans want better wages. I always marvel at how many of us watch the garbage on Fox and buy ideas that ultimately hurt us. I always recall being in East Berlin, seeing Pravda sold everywhere, and seeing no one buy it. What did they know that we don't?

We need to honor the memory of Dr. King. To do that, we have to fight our racist, nazi-justifying President. We need to fight for better lives for all Americans. As teachers, we need to foster critical thinking. That's a tall order considering the national movement toward reforminess, nonsensical tests, and charters that specialize in Drudgery 101, 102, and onward ad infinitum.

We need to stand together and fight post-Janus. That's a tall order, particularly considering local union leadership that opposes democracy almost as much as Donald Trump does. But it's 2018, and I'm up for both fronts.

What about you?
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