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Where is the President on Workers Rights?

March 10, 2011

If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself — I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.

– Barack Obama 2007

If there is one thing I have learned over 50 years it is Presidents make promises they cannot, or will not keep. President Obama is no different. For the idealists who helped get him elected, I think they are learning a hard lesson. The real lesson of democracy is this: it is a participatory government that requires THE PEOPLE get involved on a regular basis, not every 4 or 6 years to vote. It requires involvement in one’s community, county, and state and requires that a person remains up to date on what is going on and how PUBLIC SERVANTS do their job for the betterment of the public.

I hate to cast dispersions, but we are victims of the financial collapse largely because we did not know what was going on. We are victims of a jobless recovery because most people do not understand what is going on still. We are victims of wealth disparity and stripping of workers rights and mortgage fraud for the same reason. We must educate ourselves on issues. We are adults. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our communities and our nation to act like adults because if you think the President will charge in and take control and make everything go away, you are kidding yourself. It is time to step up. We — you and I — will need to step up and out of our comfort zone and meet these challenges head on.

I will be launching a new blog with strictly political and economic content in the next few days. I will make an announcement on this blog. Path to Well-Being will still be here and still provide content on a broad range of issues. But, for me, I must go further and do what my conscience dictates. There is unfinished business from the 60s that the counter culture was unable to correct. I was pretty young in the 60s, but I experienced the fallout in the 70s with Watergate, the Nixon resignation, post-Viet Nam bankruptcy, the oil crisis, and sky high interest rates. The economic hardship curtailed my education. I really don’t want that to happen to anyone else. Education is everything and public education should be a right, and we should move to pass a Constitutional Amendment to make it so. But in the meanwhile… I expect nothing from this President. I knew he had sold out when he capitulated on the $2 trillion Bush-tax cut extension. No one would do that in a down economy. It showed very poor judgment, or worse – selling out of his political principles. Principles are funny things; they are like your virginity, once lost never to be regained.

I have no idea what the next few months will bring, but there are signs everywhere of what might be happening and I would characterize it this way: we are experiencing a 1970s like scenario WITH 1960s activism energy, EXCEPT…. we lost $24 trillion in wealth and millions are broke, have lost their homes, their savings, and dignity AND we are under attack by the wealthy elite who want to privatize everything. For those of us who can we must take action and get involved. The stakes are much higher with assaults on public education, unions, municipalities, and the democratic process itself. This is class warfare and likely to get real ugly. The 70s had disco and drugs and my generation was still in its prime. My generation is winding down somewhat, but we must rise to the occasion and stand with all generations to wrestle the demagogues and would be usurpers of our great country.

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Categories: Politics, Trends
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