Thursday, January 31, 2019

Howard Schultz, New Anti-teacher Gazillionaire on the Block

You have to hand it to Tevye the milkman. Every time Michael Bloomberg, or Donald Trump, or Howard Schultz opens one of their overprivileged mouths I remember what he sang in If I Were a Rich Man:

And it won't make one bit of difference, if I answer right or wrong,
When you're rich, they think you really know.

So I'm not surprised when Schultz, with no political experience, who rarely even votes in elections, is all over the news saying he wants to run as an independent for President. He's running as an independent because he knows the Democrats won't vote for him. When you're planning to buy yourself an election, you can't fret over whether or not people want you. When Bloomberg couldn't make it locally as a Democrat, he became a Republican. Now that he can't make it nationally as a Republican, he's become a Democrat again.

You kind of hope that Schultz and Bloomberg will cancel one another out. Schultz paints himself as a centrist. He's not in favor of wacky notions like making sure all Americans have healthcare. Nor is Bloomberg. They've got theirs, so screw you and your family. Schultz is also not in favor of raising taxes on earnings over ten million. Why fritter away money no one needs on healthcare for Americans when it could sit in his enormous pockets and help no one whatsoever?

But that's not remotely what's got me writing about Schultz. Clearly he's just another clod pushing corporate crap. But the other day, he said this, while urging we negotiate drug prices:

"We have to realize what's wrong with the political system is that pharma has as many special interests as the NRA [National Rifle Association], as the teachers union. Let's get rid of that," Schultz said.

Wow. Let's look at who he's comparing us with. We know that people are going broke trying to pay for insulin because the drug companies have rampantly raised prices. We know that there have been sweetheart deals so that they could keep their prices ridiculously high, fleecing us and insurance companies. We know that, right over the Canadian border, the same drugs cost considerably less, and they lobby to keep things bad for Americans.

Then there's the NRA, which has been in the business of blocking common sense gun legislation, so that any lunatic can pick up an AR-15 and shoot up whatever or whoever he feels needs shooting up. We know they've brainwashed Americans that the price of freedom is tolerating mass murder in schools, and that they think sending thoughts and prayers is more important than, say, closing the gun show loophole that renders local law ridiculous and impotent. They represent themselves as the voice of the people when really they're just a lobbying arm of the gun industry.

And who else does Schultz include amongst these purveyors of death and ruin? Teachers. We are awful, because we lobby for a living wage, decent learning conditions for students. reasonable class sizes, and other such horrors. Schultz will put an end to all of our evildoing. Who the hell do we think we are, standing up for ourselves? How dare we devote our lives to helping children?

Really, though, we are just a bunch of teachers. I'm always amazed at politicians who get up in front of God and everybody and say, "I support teachers. I'm just against teacher unions." Readers of this blog may have noticed I'm not fond of a whole lot of GOP politicians. I kind of liked Bob Dole for a while, despite differing with his views, because he had a quick wit and could clearly think on his feet. Then he made a teacher/ teacher union statement like that and ruined everything.

Who the hell do these people think is in teacher unions? Unlike the NRA, we're not pretending to represent anyone but ourselves. Have we started any opioid epidemics lately? Not to my recollection. Teachers are in teacher unions, and teachers are teacher unions. When we stand for better wages and working conditions, we don't only make things better for ourselves. We make things better for our students as well. 

When we stand for union, for collective bargaining, and for collective voice, we stand to preserve a route to middle class. There are at least two people in my building who've been my ESL students. The one I know better is the first of her family to attend college, and the first of her family to reach middle class status. I will fight to keep her there, and to save that opportunity for other students of mine, and yours, and for our children.

To that end, I have no use for people who stand up and say, "I've got mine, and the rest of you can go screw yourselves." That, in a nutshell, is what Howard Schultz is selling.
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