This post was authored by Ljubica Sarafov and is part II of a series entitled: Let’s Replace we the corporations with We The People; Restore the Middle Class, and Have Fun!
Let’s Restore the Middle Class
The Tea Party is a movement made up of ordinary, blue collar, hard-working Americans (at least on the ground). Tea Party supporters are laborers, police offices, firemen, postmen, and teachers just like liberals. That means that we should be able to find common ground on middle class issues, and worker’s rights.
Right now the labor movement is being attacked in this country. With governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana not just demanding that unions members give up their benefits, but they give up their right to collective bargaining. Its so serious that democratic representatives are fleeing those states in order to avoid giving republicans the quorum needed to pass the vote.
It shouldn’t just be those of us on the left standing up for workers rights though. Tea Partiers should be there too! This is a real grassroots movement. Plus the stakes effect all working people. I know republicans want to bust unions (Wondering why? Its all about money and campaign donations. Check out Rachel Maddow’s excellent analysis–here). But the Tea party is supposed to be a populous movement. And I think that the tea partiers need to be reminded that the people in these videos are people like themselves, their neighbors and their friends. Unions protect worker’s rights—all worker’s rights. And without collective barging we would not enjoy most of the basic rights we enjoy at work today.
It seems to me that this is a topic we should all be able to come together on. Support for unions, public workers, and green jobs initiatives all of these issues should not divide the right and the left in this country.
There is no reason why every tea partier in America shouldn’t be for green jobs. The problem is the framework of the discourse. Right now conservatives don’t like hearing about a green economy, or green jobs because they see no benefit. Beyond the fact that many don’t believe in global warming, green jobs are seen as an enviornmentalist thing. Those associations shut-down the conversation with most conservatives.
But what if we re-craft the discussion? What if we present green jobs as jobs for everyone, which they already are! We need to make it clear that you don’t need to be a lefty-environmentalist to support this issue. It should be clear that this is an economic issue. What if we remind people that Roosevelt built an infrastructure for this country that lasts to the present, and got us out of a recession by putting people to work? What if we remind our fellow citizens that we can create a new green infrastructure for future generations but we need their help. Rather than environmentalists (though we are awesome) we need engineers, electricians, train operators etc. Basically ordinary, blue collar, hard-working Americans (like those in the Tea Party). We need to remind them, that creating such an infrastructure is more than an incredible opportunity to jump start our economy and put millions of people back to work (though thats pretty great!). They need to be reminded that green=conservation. The same root word of conservative. That conservation breeds efficiency, and that they love efficiency because it creates healthy, competitive markets! We could remind them of the massive subsidies big oil and other dirty energy producers get. Money which could make investment in the green economy deficit neutral. I mean all we have to do is cut those subsidies, and re-invest that money into green jobs.
We need to stand together, and demand a power shift in this country. We should demand investment in green jobs because we need to build infrastructure for the future in this country. We should stand with our public workers, and union members, because we are one in the same. And an advancement for them is an advancement for all.
I think that if we can unite and stand together on issues like this then we can began to create a dialogue in this country. A dialogue that is clearly needed and lacking between the right and the left. If we can come together on some basic issues, then we can begin to bargain and negotiate, on more divisive issues. And maybe we can even begin to attempt to solve problems like the deficit, which require compromise, dialogue, and foresight.