Give Thanks in the Holiday Season

Yes, we know Thanksgiving was a month ago, but the holiday season is also supposed to be one where we’re giving thanks for various blessings befalling us.  With that in mind, we offer a few:

• For the nation’s unions, and unionists: Give thanks for the decision, developed over the last year, that the union movement will become a labor movement again, speaking – or trying to – for all workers, whether they hold union cards or not, in the words of new AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre.

The old model of representing organized labor suffers from atrophy in the private sector, due to a combination of globalization, technology, the shift to service sector jobs, offshoring, outsourcing and vicious, venal and sometimes violent corporate labor law-breaking.  Add to that a conspicuous Right Wing crusade to totally destroy unions and reduce workers to serfdom, and it was obvious labor had to try something different.  Representing all workers is, hopefully, the answer.

• For the Democratic Party, be thankful you could sit on the sidelines and watch the Republicans self-destruct as a responsible political force.  When the GOP wasn’t alienating women, Latinos, African-Americans, students and workers, it was busy in a circular firing squad pitting the Tea Party/Radical Right against its pro-business – but still-conservative – wing.  Now all Democrats must do in 2014 is remind voters of the GOP’s record of obstructions, government shutdowns, debt limit brinkmanship, etc.

• For the Republican Party, be thankful that your congressional leaders finally, at the end of the year, decided to lead.  There is little that workers that can agree on with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, except this: It is time to publicly defy the pitchfork-wielding wingnut crazies and zealots of the Tea Party and work on solutions for the country’s problems.

To Boehner: Now that you’ve beaten back your crazies on the budget, with Democratic help. do the same thing for comprehensive immigration reform.

To the GOP leaders: We may not agree with your solutions; indeed we probably won’t.  But working on solutions is better than trying to rip the country into warring tribes, smashing people’s rights and livelihoods, and throwing us back into a Great Depression – which is what the wingnuts and their tear-everything-down schemes would produce.

• For President Barack Obama, be grateful you’re left out of the GOP warfare, even if much of it was over trying to destroy your 2010 health care law.  Also be grateful that a lot of the law’s benefits kick in next year.  Now remind voters of that.  Because otherwise, you had a lousy year this past year.

• For the nation’s workers, be grateful you have found your voice in mass protests against income inequality, low wages, bad benefits, the race to the bottom, corporate greed, lack of democracy and other ills that afflict us.  You put the issue of the 1% vs. the 99% on the map and kept it there.  Now, keep it up.  Unions are joining you.

• For everyone, be grateful for one big positive development in the economy, even if it hasn’t shown up in your paychecks.  Unemployment, which hit 10% at the height of the Great Recession (aka The Bush Crash), declined from 7.8% at the start of the year to 7% now.  Let’s root for it to keep declining.  Lower joblessness is supposed to increase demand for workers.  Otherwise, be grateful 2013 is over and done with.

-PAI