Use the damn bully pulpit!
by Sasha Abramsky
As I write this, I’m listening to
music from Woody Guthrie -- a gentle folk song about the honor
of hard work and the dignity of working people. I feel a rustling of
ghosts from America’s past
stirring -- the victims of New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, for
example; the men and women
who fought (and sometimes died) for union recognition at car
manufacturing plants and other
factories; in mines; in fields; and in schoolrooms across the country
and the decades.
Walker’s machinations in Wisconsin
sure ought to be riling those ghosts up. After all,
theirs is a noble history, and these days it’s being crudely violated,
President Obama is the only person in the country with the clout to
reframe the debate on public
sector unions in a more sensible manner, and he seems to have wrapped
himself in a radio silence.
One can only assume it’s a deliberate, tactical, decision, an attempt
to win back anti-union,
conservative independent voters. After all, when the president wants
things said, he has a
remarkable ability to make himself heard...
So, how about using that bully pulpit? How about telling Americans the
stakes that are in play here?
How about treating Americans to one of those history lessons that
candidate Obama, talking about race,
civil rights, or the country’s complex legacy of struggle and dreaming,
unleashed to such devastating
effect back in 2008? After all, FDR’s words on the importance of
protecting organizing rights for labor
are as true today as they were in the 1930s.
We are sleepwalking toward the abyss. It’s time for Obama to expend
some capital shaking
the country out of its slumbers. The Republicans have crossed a Rubicon
Obama needs to marshal the pushback, and he needs to do so now.
Obama is going to do what he's going to do and nobody's
going to talk him out of it.
He's the most hard-headed democrat in my memory and he's always on the
After ignoring the economy for two years, Obama's finally figured out
that jobs count,
but maybe not so much when Wisconsin is on fire, Japan is melting into
the ocean and
Libya would like to be free of Gadhaffy - but Obama looks the other way.
And what does Obama do in the middle of these multiple catastrophes?
He goes to South America to talk trade
I really hoped we'd see a less-clueless Obama after Gibbs, Dax and Rahm
left, but no,
he continues to sell out, cave-in, or bungle most everything he touches
- I wonder why?
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