Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Worm Has Turned



Well, it seems as though the youth of America is joining in the fun.  University of Wisconsin students are coming together with the teacher's union being 'busted' by Republican governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Democratic leaders have left the state in order to hold off a vote on legislation that would gut the last remaining vestige of American worker-bee power. Our jobs are oversees, our homes are being foreclosed, our savings and our pensions have been gutted, we are in two wars that are wreaking horrifying havoc on the peoples of those nations, not to mention the treasure being spent on the madness, and Wisconsin wants to break the teacher's union.

Fury is now spreading to Ohio. Tennessee and Indiana has already curbed the power of the unions in their states to be able to bargain for wages and benefits. And we all know how big business worries about our wages and healthcare benefits, when left to their own devices. Most workers have been hired at wage levels a decade old, as we watch the prices of basic goods go through the roof. All the while the banks, bailed out by us, give huge bonuses, refuse to lend to small businesses or provide housing loans, for that matter. Most businesses are laying people off, hiring temp personnel so they don't have to pay benefits, and now they don't want to pay teachers their paltry $35,000 a year to teach - usually with Master Degrees!

I'm not saying all unions are good. There has been plenty of serious issues related to unions. But what are people to do? There really is no other alternative to being treated fairly in the workforce. Unions have set standards for non-union employees as well. Without the unions, workers will have zero bargaining power. And it seems the GOP in this country is determined to see that happen. A concerted effort is underway to cut the budget for all expenditures (especially for the people), yet military spending seems to be high and dry.

I think the American worm is about to turn, just as it has in other nations around the world. Led by youth that cannot see a future for themselves, or their families, they are taking matters into their own hands. If the US thinks major demonstrations cannot happen here, then they need to think again. The parents and grandparents of this youth are also angry. Very angry. Just look back at the 1960's to see what can happen when enough people hit the streets.

There is great power in the young. In America, once they turn off the distractions, they have a vested interest in making sure they have a future. It is time to give power back to the people, all over the world.

Addendum: Here is a great article regarding the incestuous power of a ruling elite in Wisconsin .

38 comments:

m. heart said...

I completely agree with you, people are fed up, and rightly so.

ellen abbott said...

we need to take to the streets again.

Brian Miller said...

this is exciting news for me...the wormhas just been waiting and now the catalyst has come...

Nancy said...

m.heart - It's time to let our legislators know just how unhappy we really are.

ellen - I agree. I wouldn't hesitate if the right demonstration came along.

Brian - It is certainly time.

JeannetteLS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Sadie said...

My fear, and the fear of others, is that America will simply implode, and degenerate to the status of a third world country, probably fighting a civil war. (Think Mexico as one example.) If that American collapse happens, the US will take Canada down with it.

Not a pretty scene. Actually, it's downright scary. As the Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."

BTW, have your read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale?

JeannetteLS said...

I deleted a ridiculously long comment. You were articulate ENOUGH, Nancy. It just brought up some old memories when Connecticut was busy trying to bust teachers' unions and state workers...

Not only are the current trends from our government destroying our children's futures, they are punishing those who are already struggling, and playing on fear--the irrational fears, not legitimate worries. THAT, to me, is immoral as well as dangerous. The rage I read at American citizens who are in dire straits--as if it's always their own fault ... toward "Cushy" jobs of state workers and teachers--my rage is barely containable. But rage solves nothing either. The judgments without information: we have to stop this somehow, and I want to LISTEN to those far younger than I, and wake up to their cries.

EVERY profession has lousy practicioners, unionized or not. EVERY system is flawed. It has to be, since it was designed by imperfect people. But when so much that would remove us of any power or say in our personal futures is couched in legislation that is supposedly about balancing the budget and maintaining our independent democracy... I just get livid.

SO. Now this is just too long, instead of insane. THANK you for your entry.

Nancy said...

Miss Sadie - I believe in peaceful demonstration. Hopefully your fears will not be reality, but the feelings of being left out of a system that seems to benefit only a few, is starting to show effects. I couldn't get through Handmaid's Tale - it just depressed me so much I had to quit reading it. I think we need to come to the realization we are one people, one world. We need to be there for each other, no matter where the other lives. Basic human rights for all, not just a few. Okay, now I will get off my soap box. :-)

Jeannette - You articulate many people's feelings. Somehow the media has turned us on each other — in order to be distracted from what is really going on. It's worked great. We now blame people for the atrocities rained down on them. It was a brilliant hatchet job done by a very organized group, in my opinion. And I think it is fine to discuss it in these types of forums. Thanks for your comment.

The Blog Fodder said...

Read Noam Chomsky, William Blum and Chris Hedges if you want to be depressed. The Handmaid's Tale is fiction; their stuff isn't. Manufacturing Consent is a good place to understand how the Media helps divide and conquer. My fear is an (extreme religious) fascist government taking over as happened in Germany post WWI as left and right battled for control. The Right won because they were more extreme. In Russia the Left won because they were more extreme. Put them in a bag and pull one out and you would be hard pressed as a common citizen to tell the difference. Good luck, America.

Nancy said...

Blog Fodder - What I see different here is the general age of the protestors. It is the young being energized throughout the world. They are connected in many ways, and they are energizing each other. I don't think this is about one country, or one issue. This is about a cohort group that has had it with it's rigged systems. I see this as a world-wide phenomenon. Thank you for your comment. I will check out those books.

Miss Sadie said...

Unfortunately, there is a profound difference between what's going on in the middle east, and what's now happening in America.

In the middle east, you see people clamouring for democracy. In the US, you already have the chimera, the illusion, of democracy. That illusion "legitimizes" what is going on — the internal (and so far mostly non-violent) warfare by the rich against the rest of us.

Imagine; the attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords could be "the first shot heart around the world" in the Second American Revolution.

We wish you well!

Oh, and I can thoroughly understand your inability to finish Atwood's book. It really does mess with one's mind.

Nancy said...

Miss Sadie - I think you said it well - "illusion of democracy." The people have been under attack for a very long time from a very organized, elite, group of individuals who are very well funded.

Miss Sadie said...

I rest my case.

Now, we watch and wait.

Linda said...

great post, nancy...hoping you are right and they will turn off their distractions and finally use the power they have to make a difference.

blessings...

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Totally agree. And loved atwood's book. It may be fiction, but fiction has a way of depicting what could be headed into reality.

Nancy said...

Linda - It certainly is time to start paying attention.

Trish & Rob - I know, that's what scares me.

Pam said...

I hope it's turning. I am so tired of teacher bashing. I used to say I was a teacher, loudly and proudly. Now, I feel like I should speak it softly, like it's something to be ashamed of.

Nancy said...

Pam - I think that is how the working man/woman in this country has felt for a long time. They've been hammered down for many years now. The lack of respect for teachers and the enormous challenges they face in the classroom everyday, has been glossed over. We are ripe for an evolution in this country.

DJan said...

Yes, we are not immune in the US, thank God. The young are our salvation, as they are everywhere in the world. I am hoping I will be around to see our country after...

Nancy said...

DJan - Yeah, me too.

Jayne Martin said...

Outstanding, my friend. I'm so glad to see a post on this. I'm touching on it in my Sunday Recap this week, too. I think you're absolutely right. The war on the middle class began with Reagan. Remember the first thing he did was break the air traffic controller's union? Eventually, people always reach a point where they've been beaten down enough and they rise up to topple the tyrants. I'm praying our time has finally come.

ain't for city gals said...

I thought I was the only one that felt this way...it is not just the young..it is for all the hard working people that have worked so hard for everything they have ...they (me) are through...no more for the way the government wants to spend our money...and that includes both Dem and Rep....

Nancy said...

Jayne - I couldn't agree more.

ain't for city gals - Absolutely. It goes for both parties. Our Congress is full of very rich people, and they for the most part, have no idea what it's like to work for a living. They are so far removed from the average constituent in America, and so out of touch, they just don't relate to us anymore.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Yay, Nancy! You have placed your heart and words so well. My mom, a retired teacher from Wisconsin at blogpost OldWhoMe? has also written a very passionate post on the situation there.

Of course, living in Texas, we have our own embarrassment by our current governor. Gail Collins (New York Times) wrote an editorial the other day highlighting his feats regarding education and birth control. Thank goodness I live in the one county in Texas that thinks.

I would write a post on all of this, but so emotional I can't organize my thoughts. I thank you for putting your opinions in such solid form.

susan said...

Do you ever wonder how someone like him got elected in the first place?

Union busting could indeed be the trigger that starts a national movement. We know something will.

Nancy said...

Midlife - I'll definitely read your mother's post. The 'good 'ol boy' relationships in Wisconsin are appalling.

susan - The energy seems to be firing up the well-educated youth of the world. I think they are going to change things. It's time for the old to make way for the new.

Emom said...

The pendulum swings....history repeats itself.....all will be well, because good people continue to have civilized discourse....thank you for a nicely balanced point of view.....smiles.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

great post. i tried to write a more detailed response and decided that i really didn't have anything else of value to add. you hit the nail squarely on the head.

leilani said...

it is, as was said, " an illusion of democracy.. i refuse to buy into the gunk the government, unions and big business rapists spew out. I will probably die first... scary.. National Security agaisnt terrorists? yah right.. it so set up to quickly quiet Americans also.. SOO lolol now u know why im underwater alot! lolol =)

Nancy said...

Emom - I agree with your point - there is a continuum to things. Courteous discourse is of upmost importance.

Teresa - Thank you.

leilani - I agree with your point about quieting Americans. We have lost so many of our freedoms through Homeland Security. I like to be underwater in Hawaii, too. I'll bet our President thinks about that often! LOL

gayle said...

Speaking as a mother of a teacher who is almost finished with her Master's Degree and is National Board Certified....they don't pay our teachers enough. After all teachers are with kids longer than their parents are.

Nancy said...

Gayle - Not only that - but the cost of their educations alone should guarantee a decent living. Most other careers pay much more than what a teacher makes with much less education. This whole thing is maddening. Our country just doesn't value education anymore.

Marguerite said...

It would be great to see more protests, but I'm not sure that our young people are up to the challenge. They have too many distractions, as you said, but it is in their best interest to do so.

Miss Sadie said...

One other thought. If there is going to be real change, the "not-so-young" are going to have to stand with the "youth of America" to make their common point. It's easy to write off the young; not so much the un-young.

The Good Cook said...

Nancy,
Can you feel it? Change is happening all over the world. It is time for all the good people all over this globe to stand up for their rights - be it humanitarian or workforce, healthcare, economic rights.
Change is coming. Change is here and I for one will take to the streets (peacefully) and do my part in forcing our leaders to listen.
Linda

Gaston Studio said...

I just hope that these demonstrators will keep it up long enough to do some good because in the past, they usually give up after it becomes tough. And that gets you no where.

Nancy said...

Miss Sadie - You are absolutely right. It may time to get ourselves off the couch...

Linda - I do feel it! I was so impressed by Egypt when their families all came out together - little children with their parents, grandparents, etc. I think that is why when they sent out the thugs, it just didn't work. Their military wouldn't fire on the people. Remember what happened at Kent State when our military fired on the students? It shocked all the adults right out of their seats. It brought the end of Vietam! I would happily hit the streets (peacefully). This is a world-wide movement - it has nothing to do with nations or old-world politics. This is something new and it has to do with basic human rights and not wanting to be controlled by corrupted governments. Including ours.

Nancy said...

Gaston - I think it's the energy out of the East that is fueling this. This is youth-led. They are fighting for their very lives, but ours needs to fight for their future. (Peacefully, of course.) I hope they get that, too.