Bye bye, Miss American Pie. A piece of Americana, the popular union, has gone the way of roasted chestnuts, Yule logs and actual cowboys: something to be eulogized and remembered, but not something you’ll ever actually see. Political Battles Royale, however, are alive and kicking stronger than ever.
I want to be a teacher by next fall, and I am basically conservative. So the Wisconsin public sector showdown tears at me a bit, and I don’t pretend to have the answers. In the realm of education, I’ve decided to enter in with few pre-conceived notions, I don’t want to be parroting anybody’s arguments, and I want real solutions when I do figure out where I stand. Here are a few of the truths I use to evaluate this mess:
- Teachers, on the whole, are trying to teach students as they best know how. It does no one any good to bash the actual educators. If you disagree, please tell me why. In specifics.
- Public sector unions have a legitimate conflict of interest because they can hire and fire the people who decide their pay checks. Charles Krauthammer does a good job of describing the moving parts of this conundrum, although I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions.
- Unions’ singular relationship with Democrats is bad for unions. Unions were most effective during times that they were bi-partisan, because they had the popular support of the American people. You show me one (just 1) union boss who is a Republican and I will give you a dollar ($1 US currency.). No joke. This reality means half of Americans have a reason to not like you, and while the resulting grudges took twenty years or more to build up, I believe it’s part of why we are where we are today. If you disagree, please tell me why. Using specifics and hopefully numbers.
- Unions in general have been suffering and feel attacked, because public-sector unions are one of very few areas in union-dom that have healthy numbers. This is an attack by Republicans, not a response to something Democrats or unions did.
- Republicans want to cut off a funding root of the Democrat party. While I think the Governor’s bill may have merit, we shouldn’t be willfully ignorant to this reality.
So I mull and I mull, and I won’t have answer until long after this news cycle is over. I’ll just sit back with a drink and enjoy the battle like most people, with false nostalgia of a simpler time.