History

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way”

There are no simple solutions to complex problems brought about by greed and complacency. We can’t blame Bush alone for the disastrous situation we now find the country in today. Members of congress, both parties, assisted his administration in its creation. Democrats assisted them in approving the tax cut, drug plan etc and giving approval for engaging in two fruitless and costly wars. This is just a sketch of the sound asleep members of congress; more interested in being reelected than behaving like statesmen.

The real culprits in this scheme are the voting public influenced by talk radio hosts and patrician TV and news papers; conservative and liberal.

We have now elected representatives who promised to cut taxes and balance the budget. This will be interesting to watch as the American public wants the benefits of government, but have no desire to pay for them. This seems like a simple solution and we are about to watch a group of politicians bringing this fantasy into reality. As a generation having endured no sacrifice are about to recognize the sacrifices their predecessors made to create the life they inherited.

We’re presently witnessing the first results of the implementation the process of cutting spending without increasing revenue. The demonstration in Madison Wisconsin  is just the tip of the iceberg as this mass protest  will only  be the first group of many affected by cutting spending while reducing taxes. Voters must fasten their seat belts and the tea bags on their hats as there is more to come. Their major objective is to maintain negotiation rights

We can’t truly understand the events taking place today unless we understand history. Having lived in a manufacturing city in Wisconsin prior and after the labor movement the fury of the demonstrators is understandable, so will by memory give a short history lesson glossed over in text books.

Before the union movement and collective bargaining the working man and his family lived on the fringe of poverty with no benefits or rights. Poor and unsafe working conditions, low wages, no pensions, vacations, health care, overtime pay, unemployment insurance or job security. They lived a life a short step above slavery.

When workers organized they were able to negotiate with management for a safe and humane working environment, plus benefits. These conditions were gained by workers shutting down plants through striking. The strikers and their families made great sacrifices as many of these strikes lasted for many months. My father worked at The J.I. Case Company that had two separate plants manufacturing farm machinery and tractors. He was one of a group organizing a union to fight for humane treatment of labor. The company refused to negotiate resulting in an 18 month strike resulting in a victory that improved the lives of the working class. This could be one of the factors creating the middle class.

Organizing labor then realized that they were as important as management and management understood they could not exist without blue colored workers so were forced to negotiate with them. Wisconsin became a strong union state which is probably the reason for the huge number of protesters in Madison today. The Governor is carrying out the promises he and his legislature made to be elected; so who is responsible for the cuts being made, the Governor or the voters. His actions have been a goal of industry since the Reagan administration. The new education reformist’s goals are another example of union busting.

The interesting aspect is how a former progressive State elected an administration in stark contrast to its history. Even Russ Feingold, labor’s best friend was defeated.

Wisconsin’s Senator Robert La Follette organized the Progressive Party to run against  William Taft, but was sidelined when Teddy Roosevelt decided to run on the Bull Moose Progressive party. The split of the vote gave the Presidency to Woodrow Wilson. La Follette died shortly after the election and his son replaced him and served in the Senate for many years. Another son Phillip served as Governor as a member of the Progressive Party.

Robert La Follette was a long time Republican but very progressive in his philosophy. He could be considered the father of the Progressive party in Wisconsin.

Americans must realize that the hole all of us, including our government, helped dig. The style of life they have experienced may not return due to human nature and the power of the money changers. The outrage in Madison may be an image of what our future has in store for the country. Our mediocre elected official makes them incapable of making any substantial progress.

Obama has good intentions, but is butting his head against a brick wall and his head receives more damage than the brick wall. My advice to him and fellow Democrats is let those elected by the voters have their way in making cuts and lowering taxes. If they are successful, great, but if not let the voters hold them responsible for their actions. The Southern bigots won’t be cooperative until they have a white male president.

Compromise and conflict will accomplish nothing.

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2 responses to “History

  1. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    Thanks for that interesting article. It’s good to have your perspective born of experience. I was thinking of Grandpa Victor when hearing of the protests in Wisconsin. It’s horrid to think of the sacrifices so many made to create the “middle class” as it is now being unraveled.

    Last night we watched a BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North & South which portrayed the cotton factory conditions in England in the early 1800’s as the labor force was experimenting with organizing unions to secure some rights for the workers. The current generation has no memory of how things were before the unions, and I expect some real ‘eye opening’ as they learn that, as you said, “The style of life they have experienced may not return due to human nature and the power of the money changers.”

    From my understanding, the protesters in Madison have said that they are willing to accept austerity measures; but see it as underhanded and unnecessary to destroy their unions as a part of that action. It seems like a ‘union busting’ agenda taking advantage of this moment. It is going to be interesting to watch the reaction of the American public in the coming months and years. Congressmen were elected to cut programs, and everyone is happy to have that done as long as it doesn’t affect them personally.

  2. Amen!

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