Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bob King, Telling It Like It Is

Looking for positive news after what has been a pretty tough week, I ran across this story about UAW leader Bob King speaking at a Saginaw County Dem fundraiser, and I just wanted to take a moment highlight his words and how he transcends simply talking about worker's issues into the bigger picture of creating a whole social justice movement - not just for the UAW, but for every one of us.

I've seen King speak a few times now myself, and he is really something. You wouldn't know it by appearance - he looks like he should be teaching high school science, more "nerd" than that pseudo-nerd we have in the big chair now - but when he gets going...

clintonschauer6692Sounding much like a preacher in the pulpit, King referred to his Christian faith and urged political activism to bring nonviolent change. The union leader criticized former CEO-turned-GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans in the Legislature with the enactment of tax polices and budget cuts that King said would double the budget deficit while giving tax breaks to corporations. Republicans have said the changes are necessary to create jobs and eliminate those same deficits.

“Budgets are moral documents,” King said. “Don’t tell me you are for family values” and take away money from education, the poor and pensioners, he said.

“Is it right to take money from all these groups and give a windfall to corporations? Absolutely not,” he declared. “Who in their right mind goes and gives a $1.9 billion giveaway to corporations in Michigan but does not require that one single job be put back in the state of Michigan? That’s crazy.

“We need to be laying out the truth,” he added. “This is the most anti-democratic leadership, this is the most anti-Christian leadership. The Bible I believe in says you take care of the needy in society. Says that when people who (through) no fault of their own lose their jobs ... (you) create a cushion.”

The governor’s spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

No, probably not. When faced with the truth, those canned talking points lose any sort of resonance that they might have had otherwise. When speaking about the details of meeting the needs of people, the real needs such as education and jobs and food and shelter, "we're reinventing Michigan!" comes off as rather shallow and inadequate indeed. King goes on to call Congress out as well - and he certainly didn't mince his words.

King faulted congressional Republicans with a push to enact permanent tax cuts for the wealthy and a failure to invest in infrastructure and education to create jobs, he said during the speech.

“You don’t take from workers, you don’t take from pensioners, you don’t take from kids to try to give more and more to the wealthy,” he said. “They are destroying America. That sounds extreme, but I believe the facts are overwhelming. If we don’t demand fairness and justice in America, they are going to destroy America.”

Yeah Bob, I think so too. It's why I still do what I do. And I sure am glad we have leaders out there like you that will lay it all on the table in such a clear fashion. Very uplifting to see, especially after such a difficult week.

It gives me great hope. Please, keep it up, in as many venues as you can. And get those Democrats to start echoing, and most of all acting, on your words, and we will get there in the end.