The actual union job? I got screwed constantly. The union steward looked out for her friends, to the point of costing me a position no one wanted until they found out I could get some extra money with it ($12 every three months), and suddenly it was a violation, her friend got my post, and the program was deemed uneffective and cancelled. But hey, she looked out for her friend! The union would tell me to accept management punishment and assignments, while successfully getting the job back for a woman who would come in, go in an out of the way corner, and sleep for two or three hours. They got upset with me for telling people about the candidates that were running instead of telling them to vote as the palm cards they provided told them. Theft, favoratism, and general assholery because they held the power and anyone they didn't like got shafted.
(Payback was sweet. Just before I left, the contract was coming up for renegotiation. People were worried that the steward was going to make them strike for no real reason whatsoever (she had never turned down a contract in her life, and when pressed, couldn't tell you what was in the one she was negotiating, but was telling everyone to be ready for a strike. Around Christmastime). I knew who talked and who didn't. One day, during lunch, I mentioned "financial core" status. As the place was union shop, you had to pay the union to work there. But financial core meant you paid the dues but didn't have to do anything the union said. You didn't get union protection, which none of them did anyway, but they also didn't have to do what the union said, such as striking during the holidays. Word shot around and people looked into financial core status. Because of how I planted my seeds, the steward never found out it was me, and she was freaking out at everyone looking to tell her to fuck herself during these negotiations. How did it end? Don't know. I took two weeks off, was back for two days, started a new job afterwards. All I know is she got the boot from her post shortly afterward. Chaos. Confusion. Distrust. My work here is done.)
Don't get me wrong. Unions have their place, and they can be a great aid to workers, so I am not inherently anti-union. But they are also a collective power authority that can not only be abused, but have abused me and people I know and love. So, when unions talk about looking out for the American worker, my reaction is something like this:
Unfortunately, unions declare themselves representatives of the working man when organized labor doesn't know shit. They created a political party because they felt Bill Clinton wasn't listening to their concerns. At their first convention, instead of nominating a presidential candidate, they simply voted to continue to endorse Bill Clinton. In other words, they became a wholly owned subsidiary of the party they formed to fight. And further proof came today from James Hoffa of the Teamsters.
Hoffa was giving a little speech on Labor Day to introduce President Obama, and it included among other things:
* union fights are a "war" and a "battle" between union workers and tea partiers
* union supporters are Obama's "army"
* "Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize. Let's take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."
Does anyone else remember the days after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting when the Left was saying we all, Left and Right, need to retire war metaphors from politics and all of us, Left and Right, being inclusive instead of devisive? I tell ya, I knew that wasn't gonna last.
It's not just Hoffa, either. Conservative commentators are saying Hoffa's "Let's take these son-of-a-bitches out" is inciting people to attack tea partiers. Uh, I interpreted that as voting them out or removing their influence, not a sanction of mass murder. Tea partiers are demanding Obama denounce Hoffa's in reality garden-variety political stumping, never mind that many on the tea party's side say just as bad (if not worse), with some actual tea party heads actually suggesting assassinating politicians who voted for Obamacare like some friggin' banana republic. Andre Carson suggested tea partiers in Congress support lynching, and Maxine Waters told the tea party to "go straight to hell." Within hours of Hoffa's speech, Michele Bachmann was including it in a fundraising campain. (So, thanks to Hoffa, Bachmann is getting political money to help her become President. Thanks a bunch, asshole. Now I REALLY hate you.)
Isn't it wonderful to see political discourse being handled in a mature and intelligent manner?
Here's why the 2012 election scares me. The country was divided during Shrub vs. Kerry. It got worse during Obama vs. McCain. And it looks like it's going to be even worse this time. People are lashing out at each other for saying things they disagree with. Usually, the politicians do that when the race inevitably turns negative.
Now, the voters are becoming the monsters they deride the politicians for being.
The only thing I can hope is that, usually, the people who talk longest and loudest about politics don't vote. Because if they don't vote, that means fewer crazy people punching the ballots. Politics is insane enough, outrage like this doesn't help.