Monday, August 15, 2011

The worst tweet ever written

Those two senators will go back to their districts and go back to their affluent jobs. The 40 percent of WEAC workers will likely be out of work for several months, if not a year or more, because of the complete disregard for real employment and quality education Wisconsin’s Republican Party has shown.

Families depending on WEAC for income will now likely have to face selling their homes and giving their children a less-promising childhood because of people who think like this. If all Republicans in Wisconsin consider the WEAC layoffs a victory (ASM Rep and College Republicans big-whig Johnny Koremenos re-tweeted this, so this has been endorsed by some form of GOP leadership), we have problems in our state that go beyond unemployment. 


UPDATE 8-15-11 10:19:00 EST The original author of the tweet, @wicalvin, is pissed amused.

I don’t know how expensive the WEAC headquarters is worth. I think the money spent on the recalls was somewhat misguided but, since WEAC employees obviously endorsed the recalls, they probably don’t mind it.

But this goes beyond the “taxpayer” or any conservative or liberal talking point. If we’ve reached a point in our civil discourse where we will be dancing on the graves of a Wisconsinite’s paid, middle-class job, we have a lot to worry about.

My grandfather paid his bills and raised my mother working for a union in Maryland. My mother has worked as an educator for more than a decade and works hard to support my school-aged sister. My father has been failed by the private sector and has been unemployed for years. 

I’m not a member of a union, I don’t really want to join a union, and I have no personal stake in the union crisis. But there’s one thing I know: I wouldn’t be living the life I’m living today, fulfilling my childhood dream of being a journalist at a top-tier university, if unions didn’t help bring me to the point I’m at today.

Millions of Americans and their children across the country feel this way, and to de-legitimize the sacrifices working families have made for their children as cause for celebration is a serious problem. This isn’t about the Koch Brothers or Scott Walker or “Fitzwalkerstan,” it’s about fixing a crucial hole in the way we think about political change. 

For the record, I’d have some sympathy for Planned Parenthood Pro-Life Wisconsin or NRA employees if they lost their jobs, regardless of how I feel about their organizations. 

UPDATE 8-15-2011 10:45:00 EST

John Koremenos, the College Republicans chair mentioned earlier, has responded to this post. Some highlights, with my thoughts (mostly just left-wing talking points) in bold:

[…]I understand what I re-tweeted might be a little insensitive, but let me quickly run down a few thoughts that ran through my head when I read the article about the WEAC layoffs and re-tweeted @WICalvin…

1) WEAC and collective bargaining have been responsible for thousands of layoffs over the years.
(Debatable and the central issue of this crisis)
2) WEAC has spent millions lobbying and trying to elect Democratic politicians. Granted, it is their right to do so, but that’s money that could have been put towards staff salaries and benefits. (The same could be said about corporations that donate to Democrats and Republicans, but point taken, unions do—or did—have power in Democratic politics) 
3) WEAC’s president, Mary Bell makes a great salary; somewhere in the ballpark of $200,000. Again, another possible source for saving staff members from layoffs.
4) Layoffs are a fact of life, something my family has experienced in recent years too. These individuals can enter the tough job market and try to find new work, like many Americans have been forced to do over the past few years. 
5) WEAC has forced teachers to pay union dues, my mother, a former kindergarten assistant, included. This union did not represent my mother’s point of view and my mother had thousands of dollars over the years forcefully taken from her and put towards a cause she did not believe in. It is unfortunate that the lack of union membership renewals due to changes in collective bargaining are responsible for these job losses, but it is this liberation that is the cause of celebration for thousands of teachers across the state. (I don’t know if thousands of teachers really feel this way.)
6) WEAC’s insurance company cheated Wisconsin taxpayers out of millions of dollars over the years so it’s hard for me to have much compassion for such a dishonest group of individuals with a clear and overt bias. 
7) If the union is so great and its members feel so strongly about it then why haven’t they all renewed their memberships? The only reason these folks are losing their jobs is because of individual choice of teachers, not because of the Governor, Republicans, or any legislator or piece of legislation. Certainly Act 10 enabled the teachers, but I believe if the union had been doing its job for all those years they wouldn’t be facing staff layoffs and low numbers of renewals.

[…] I try not to take myself or my hobby too seriously and at the end of the day my politics are not placed above my humanity. (This is the kind of attitude more Republicans and Democrats need to have.)

My biggest hope: that Koremenos doesn’t endorse the anti-teacher rhetoric his party has used throughout this crisis. That’s what fuels people like @wicalvin to spew that kind of incendiary bullshit. 


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