February 20, 2011- How can you not be inspired and hopeful viewing this video of the Wisconsin protests?
One of the dangers of solely getting your information from television news is that in the insular, rarefied air inside the Beltway from where these pundits opine, these are merely abstract concepts: deficits, collective bargaining, unions, state employees, protests, budgets, fiscal austerity, and on and on.
But look at that video. Those aren't abstract concepts. Those are real people: just like you and I, our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. They aren't fighting to keep obscene bonuses after needing the government to bail them out. They're not even protesting to get raises, just the right to keep their collective bargaining rights for the future.
And they are rising above the noise and bluster of right wing framing, and a complicit media who can't seem to grasp that there's a whole world outside of their cloistered cocktail circuit to fight for their right to a voice. And in doing so, they're exhibiting more understanding of democracy in six days than the Republicans would like to see the dying middle class exhibit in their life.
And make no mistake, there is a war going on and these protestors are not going to give in without a fight. My colleague Jon Perr writes about it on Perrspectives:
In just the latest front in the perpetual GOP campaign to divide and conquer, Republicans are trying to get Americans to turn on their neighbors who work for government and unions on each other. Of course, the Republican assault on collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin, Ohio, around the country has nothing to do with recession-ravaged state budgets and everything to do with fatally wounding a Democratic constituency. And to do it, Republican leaders are telling tall tales about rapidly expanding government workforces stuffed with overpaid, undeserving public employees.
Like so much else conservative mythmaking, it's simply not true.