Born in the U.S.A: Disrespecting workers

I know the Republican National Convention was last week and now it’s the Democrats’ time to shine, but there’s something that’s been bothering me about last week.

In a primetime speech, rising Republican star Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) said, “(The Democrats) believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers.”

It’s hard to take Christie seriously. Christie “believes” in teachers to the extent that he thinks teachers should sit down and shut up rather than organize for higher pay, better benefits and fair working conditions. Teachers are fine in the eyes of the modern Republican Party, so long as they don’t step out of line.

It’s not just teachers that the Republicans “believe” in so long as they’re not demanding fair treatment. Police officers, firefighters, factory workers, you name it – the Republican Party will sing swan songs to these men and women all the while undermining the meager job security most Americans have.

“(Obama) says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people,” Gov. Mitt Romney said in a speech on June 8.

Helping the American people means less police officers and less teachers? Who will keep our streets safe and help our kids learn? Free-market fairy dust?

Romney’s disrespect of American workers fits in with the larger Republican theme of “loving the sinner, hating the sin,” that is, loving the coal miner, but hating on his or her only line of defense – the union.

Speaking of coal miners, they too have been a political prop for the Republican Party over the course of the last election. While public sector workers have borne the brunt of Republican attacks (they did well enough demonizing the private sector unions during the 1980s), coal miners have been given special attention by Romney. So special, in fact, that Romney held a photo-op with coal miners in Ohio that were actually forced to be there by their employer.

It’s pretty telling when your candidacy for the presidency relies on going after people who work for a living all the while accusing the president of running a “campaign of hate.”

If you’re a wage earner in this country, the choice is clear. Romney wants to either fire you or outsource your job. The president on the other hand wants to create jobs here.


Column by Devin Griggs, opinion editor. Devin serves as vice president of finances for the Murray State College Democrats.