Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coverage & Context

There has been some of coverage of the protests in Madison. Not nearly the same amount as the Tea Baggers saw when they were bullying and disrupting town hall meetings, whilst also, oddly enough, being referred to as patriots by the FOX mouthpieces. Primary coverage of the union-killing legislation in Wisconsin to a broader, national audience has been left to Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Schultz.

Right-wingers and other anti-unionists have claimed most of those in Madison are out-of-towners, others dismiss the protesters as a small number of individuals in a state of over 5.6 million. Although, it should be noted, over 1.4 million Wisconsin citizens are not eligible voters

Roughly 73 percent (4,136,000) of the total Wisconsin population is eligible to vote. Just over 15 percent of Wisconsinites are represented by a union (380,000). Which means, 9 percent of eligible voters have a direct (economic) interest in opposing the Scott Walker's agenda. And that doesn't take into account that directly-linked union workers also have a wife, husband, voting-age children, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister. You get the idea. There are a lot of other people who have benefited from having a unionized family member.

When it's all said and done, many eligible voters are directly or peripherally linked, and thus, have a positive opinion of unions. Which helps explain why over 60 percent of Wisconsinites polled support the protesters, and support collective bargaining. As more have discovered the "details" of Walker governance, the majority wish they had voted for Tom Barrett.

Just considering those within or close to a union, that's a large base of voters to have consistently in your pocket. Democrats have traditionally garnered the steadfast support of the unions. Which gets to the heart of why Republicans want to destroy unions. This will weaken Democrats. And, ultimately, weaken the public sector and enable a more vigorous privatization schedule for public sector services and property by Republican politicians.

If allowed to succeed, Republicans could be putting us on the slow and steady road to the complete selling-off of public goods. Selling public lands and buildings, turning over public services to private cronies, and dismantling regulatory agencies. Back to the days of unfiltered and unfettered market fundamentalism, similar to the late 19th century, that frenzied time of speculation and accumulation which led to the Great Depression.

But (regarding the "they're out-of-towners and only a small number of people anyways" meme) if there were actually more Tea Party, anti-union, pro-Walker, etc. voters who really wanted this Walker agenda passed, why haven't they descended onto the Capitol and outnumbered the supposed out-of-towners and labor activists? Republicans know this isn't the case. Hence, they and their corporate-backers are left to use their money-advantage to flood the airwaves with highly misinformed and reality-distorting ads in support of Walker.

More Wisconsin citizens support collective bargaining than oppose it. Also, knowing what they know now, most Wisconsinites oppose Walker's budget and its draconian cuts. Thus far, even with the Koch brothers organizing and providing bus transportation, pro-Walker-ites have only numbered in the hundreds at any one location. Talk about a small number of people.

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