Labor Update: No More Politics As Usual
by Ken Sagar
That brilliant white-haired physicist, Albert Einstein said many things I do not understand, but I do understand that statement. I understand that some politicians have failed to provide the leadership and live up to promises for too long. I understand that a party that alleges to support workers and advance the middle class, uses the labor movement as an ATM, as a source of free campaign workers, as a strong back to carry them to victory, and a perceived weak mind that would not notice the huge disparity between promises and deliveries. Suffice to say, we have noticed.
The labor movement has changed our programs to be more efficient, to contact more, educate more and elect more supposed friends to move issues that are important to the middle class and to workers in general. It is hard to argue that we have not been successful.
What we have not changed is the unrealistic reliance on others to live up to their commitments and move progressive legislation forward. What we have not changed is our expectations that workers have the same rights as other citizens, or even corporations.
We need to change the “how” and “who” of the electoral process. We can no longer let others tell us what they will do for us, pick the candidates, set the agenda, or otherwise control our destiny. There are other ways to get the interests of workers and middle class.
What if we joined forces – workers, progressives, teachers, minorities, LGBT and other movements – stood together to elect workers and other progressives to entry level electoral positions? What if those who are tired of the current politicos, who only stand for re-election, supported friends and neighbors for local boards and councils to get a new generation of leaders who support progressive policies that help middle class Americans?
We the people have to get off our collective couches, turn off our TVs, and make a concerted effort to support each other. We can change the game if we can make the commitment to ourselves, our children and to each other. Working Iowa neighbors can change the game.
No more politics as usual.
Ken Sagar, President
Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
2000 Walker Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50317
515-262-9571 / 515-508-9916 cell
Tracy Kurowski will return next week.