Thursday, February 17, 2011

Salute Runaway Dems

There are some who are going to criticize state Senate Democrats who left the state in order to prevent quorum for Scott Walker’s dictatorial union-busting bill. They will call it obstructionism, anti-democratic, cowardly, and so forth.

It’d do them well to reject those sentiments. What the Democrats are doing is noble, just, and a form of civil disobedience. Their actions are preventing the regressive tactics of Gov. Walker and his Republican allies, who are attempting to do away with half a century of collective bargaining rights for public service employees.

By staging this escape, they will allow more time for citizen-protesters – now numbering in the tens of thousands daily – to make their point to wavering Republicans. Rather than ramming it down their throats, Gov. Scott Walker will have to wait for his bill to get real consideration in the Senate, granting legislators more time to ponder the bill, in full, rather than the week’s time that Walker wanted to rush it through.

For those still unconvinced that the move by Democrats to prevent quorum is fair, tell me this: how was it fair when Republicans, on the national stage, prevented the health care bill on a myriad of occasions? How was it fair when they filibustered nearly every single bill that Obama and Democrats supported? How is it fair that a single Republican Senator can anonymously place a hold on a presidential appointment for weeks or months at a time?

There is a difference however between the obstruction of Republicans at the national level and the move made today by state Senate Democrats: Republicans obstruct in the name of corporate greed, while our state Democrats are preventing quorum in the name of preserving workers’ rights. One is justified; the other, rightfully frowned upon.

Our state’s Democrats are doing the right thing. They understand that a vote is imminent; they realize that their fight is probably going to be lost. But they also know that within some fights, principles must be preserved, values of how we govern and how we treat one another ought to be respected.

Scott Walker trampled on those values when he stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights, a move that violated more than fifty years of precedent. The move by Democrats to prevent this precedent from being established, to prevent the rights of workers to be denied, is just.

1 comment: