Wednesday, 19 November 2008

When Liberals Eschewed the Limousine

The past couple of days, we've been treated to the spectacle of the heads of our automotive industry (the no-longer-so-big-three) with hats in hand before the Congress, begging for some money to keep their respective shops open. They have faced a great deal of recrimination, and rightly so. The market share that GM alone once held apparently has eroded from 53% to 20% today. There is plenty of blame to go around, from poor quality, bad designs, foolish contracts, greed by executives, laziness from union workers.

It's a Whitman's sampler of misery, really.

But what seems missing from a lot of this discussion is, "Just where are the unions and their advocates?" Do the unions actually stand up for the working man any more? Do the Democrats who have just been swept into power by a tsunami of righteous anger at the corrupt GOP stand for much more than being mouthpieces of various grievance groups? Believe it or not, there once was a time when unions actually advocated FOR their rank and file.

All of this puts one in mind of the term "limousine liberal," which is apropros, considering that if GM and Ford go under, who will be left to manufacture the Town Cars and Cadillacs, and at that point, Palo Alto liberals may be forced to actually take mass transit.

We are now just over two weeks beyond the 4th November election. Amid the hoopla and good feelings was one dark spot - out in left wing California, Proposition 8 was passed, easily as it turns out; it's an amendment to the California state constitution that explicitly forbids homosexual marriage. Turns out, the "get out the vote" campaign in support of Barack Obama planted some ACORNs that yielded mighty oaks that were not so gay-friendly. Who knew that (largely) Catholic Hispanics and Black people are not on board with gay marriage?

Now, whatever ones' feelings on Proposition 8 (for the record, I would have voted NO, just as I voted NO on Proposition 22 almost a decade ago, which was more or less the same thing), looking at the list of who the big NO on 8 givers were, must strike one as odd:

  • The California Teachers Association (more than a cool million)
  • The local SEIU (a half million)
  • The hotel workers' union (small potatoes at only 100 grand)
Proposition 8 is, in my opinion, nothing more than just plain meanness by people who don't like gays. And stupid, of course, since it is just a matter of time until it, like Prop 22, is found unconstitutional.

But what this has to do with the needs of the teachers or hotel bus boys, or the guys who pick up the rubbish escapes me.

My sister is a teacher in California. She faces layoffs because the state so foolishly squanders its money. The schools are already among the worst, if not the worst, in the country. The abysmal state of education was a big contributing factor as to why my family decided to leave California.

You would think the CTA has more pressing matters; apparently, they don't. More than a million dollars was taken from dues-paying teachers and donated to a cause that has nothing to do with education. My guess is that rank and file teachers, or dustmen, or hotel workers were not even polled before this happened.

But Prop 8 is a pet, liberal cause of the union "leadership," so the money was appropriated.

So the next time I see one of those nauseating ads from one of the teachers' unions, one about how they are "there for our kids," I cannot help but wonder how blowing more than a million dollars helps my kids.

I've said it before - the idea that the teacher unions are advocates for good schools is equally as laughable as the idea that the auto workers union is an advocate for the motoring public. The difference is now, I say it with an increased cynicism because neither union really even cares about its actual constituents.
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