Saturday, February 26, 2011

Herbert hits the mark — again

For the second Saturday in a row, Bob Herbert of the New York Times, has hit the mark. This time the reader has to get to the bottom of his column to find the target, but there it is for all to see.

Among the many heartening things about the workers fighting back in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere is the spotlight that is being thrown on the contemptuous attitude of the corporate elite and their handmaidens in government toward ordinary working Americans: police officers and firefighters, teachers, truck drivers, janitors, health care aides, and so on. These are the people who do the daily grunt work of America. How dare we treat them with contempt.

It would be a mistake to think that this fight is solely about the right of public employees to collectively bargain. As important as that issue is, it’s just one skirmish in what’s shaping up as a long, bitter campaign to keep ordinary workers, whether union members or not, from being completely overwhelmed by the forces of unrestrained greed in this society (My emphasis. RS).

The predators at the top, billionaires and millionaires, are pitting ordinary workers against one another. So we’re left with the bizarre situation of unionized workers with a pension being resented by nonunion workers without one. The swells are in the background, having a good laugh.

As George Lakoff has observed, politics is all about "framing" the issue. As long as this is about Republican politicians versus Democratic unions, the real culprits remain invisible. Herbert is rightly using a much bigger frame and hoping that the political action fills it.

It may be wishful thinking.

When will the protest move from the state capitols and follow the money trail back to Wall Street, the offices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the gated mansions of the super-rich?

When they are identified as the source of the problem.

What makes Herbert's columns so refreshing is that in very few places in the mainstream media do you see the issue framed as a symptom of a plutocracy. The reason should be clear: the media are owned by the plutocrats. When, and if, protesters direct their action against the real cause, rest assured the media will described those in the streets as "radicals waging class warfare."

Funny that all those protesters in the Middle East aren't also labeled "radicals waging class warfare." Instead they are "pro-Democracy forces." That's because they are over THERE and we are HERE, where the corporate boards are interlocked and the hefty media paychecks (from corporate advertisers and underwriters) get written and cashed.

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Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Thanks Rick. Herbert hits it out of the park with this one. Polarization of income is toxic to our nation, to our economy, and to our people.

3:45 AM  

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