02.28.2011 0

Who Speaks For the American Worker?

  • On: 03/11/2011 08:31:51
  • In: Uncategorized
  • By David Bozeman

    Who speaks for the American worker? Populist-leaning politicians, public-sector unions? As a part-time pundit, I could try to pass myself off as a spokesman for the average worker, but contrary to the blather of MSNBC and other news outlets, even the most humble of citizens is perfectly capable of making his or her own voice heard.

    According to the latest gem of conventional wisdom, the average American is angry, and justifiably so. The protestors in Wisconsin and other states inflate their cause with the notion that they are crusaders not just for labor but for the working class as a whole.

    At the Feb. 27 Academy Awards ceremony, the Best Documentary winner (for The Inside Job, an expose of the financial meltdown) noted in his speech that “three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that’s wrong.”

    Without a doubt, the Left is gaining traction from an undercurrent — no, a tidal wave of animosity not just for those supposedly responsible for the meltdown but for the wealthy in general. Another documentarian (or so he calls himself), Michael Moore, is now claiming that Wisconsin and the United States are not so in debt that union power should be curtailed. Surely the wealthiest, he argues, could be tapped for just a little more. And in a stroke of hyperbole for which liberals are so notorious, they are now comparing the union protestors in Wisconsin to those in the streets of Cairo who recently ousted Hosni Mubarak.

    Cairo? Um, I don’t think so.

    I do not purport to speak for the working American, only for myself and maybe the few with whom I share most weekdays. First of all, we don’t think of ourselves as units of a collective. Each of us is seeking our own path in life, and while the economic collapse has left us all cautious and unsure, we carry on with the hope that, through initiative and hard work, we can make our lives better.

    Some of us, in our 40’s and 50’s, are planning new careers or earning extra cash on the side. Some of us are signing up for college classes, and far from hating the rich, our goal is to join them in their country clubs and on their golf courses. We are not anti-union, and we do hold grievances against management, but we consider those complaints our own to be dealt with one-to-one (and we do not rely on celebrity agitators such as Michael Moore and Jessie Jackson to speak on our behalf, thank you very much). We take pride in our work and feel that if we are not rewarded properly, we can still take our talents elsewhere.

    Justice is always a concern for ourselves and our country. For anyone who broke the law and fleeced the American people, we expect the system to hold them accountable. But neither are we shouting in the streets for anyone’s head — life is too short, and we would surely never get away with abandoning our posts and occupying the state capital for days on end. Note to the leaders of both parties: the American people, by and large, are not propelled every day by rage. Retribution is not our aim, freedom is.

    We do not hunger for another two-bit huckster to stoke the flames of class hatred. We seek a leader who invests his or her faith in the spirit of freedom-loving Americans, not in the discontent of identity politics. Sadly, we are far too attentive to politicians who offer pity and request a catalog of our grievances. Ultimately, however, we never forget those who speak to us as individuals, who sternly but with a gentle demeanor raise the bar of expectations and push us toward our potentials.

    As for collective bargaining, it may well serve a purpose, but the workers I know, at the end of a forty-plus hour week, are leery of yet another body out to rob them of their time, money and identity and are ever mindful that just one plus righteousness always equals a majority.

    David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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