Democrats Desperately in Need of a Course in Civility

22 Feb



I have a great idea of who should be the first enrollees at the new National Institute for Civil Discourse that recently opened at the University of Arizona.  The National Institute for Civil Discourse – a nonpartisan center for debate, research, education and policy about civility in public discourse –  was created in the aftermath of the Jan. 8 shootings in the city where six people were killed and 13 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords(D-Ariz.).

“One of the institute’s first events will be a conference with members of the media, foundations, academic institutions, government and corporations to discuss advancing the national conversation about civil discourse, said Meredith Hay, provost of the University of Arizona.”

From the looks of what is happening in Wisconsin, I think that the Democrats and their accomplices in the public sector unions, should be the first ones to attend these courses in civility at the University of Arizona.  It probably would not hurt for members of the Democrat media to join them.

This is a great piece contrasting the NY Times’ coverage of the Tea Party with the coverage of the Wisconsin union protesters.  Basically, when Tea Party members peacefully protest, they are called angry mobs, extremists, and racists, but when union members angrily protest, they are praised.

“According to the Times, the activities of the Wisconsin public sector unions — whose expensive benefits have put their state on the brink of bankruptcy — are nothing less than the moral equivalent of the demonstrations in Tunisia that brought down an authoritarian dictatorship. As the headline “Wisconsin Leads the Way as Workers Fight Cuts” indicates, the whole focus of the piece is an effort to portray the unions and their Democratic allies as revolutionaries who are on the cutting edge of a movement that will, in effect, reverse the verdict of last year’s election…..

There are two points to be made about this coverage.

First, the portrayal of the unions and their Democratic Party allies, who have attempted not so much to defeat the Republican program but to prevent the legislature from even meeting to vote, as the progressive movement that represents the will of the people is absurd. This fight is about the will of the people but it is the public sector unions and the Democrats who are trying to thwart that will. As is the case with many other states, Wisconsin is going broke because past governments have let public employee unions have their way in collective bargaining. The result is an extraordinarily generous package of health-care and pension benefits that few, if any, in the private sector (where workers rarely are paid as much as government workers these days) enjoy. Governor Walker wants those public employees to begin contributing to their health-care costs and their pensions the way almost everyone who is not a government employee must. And he wants to curb the ability of these unions to hold the government hostage by ending their right of collective bargaining. That is a setback for unions but the alternative is the budget chaos that is bankrupting state governments around the nation. The unions may use the rhetoric of the workingman but they are actually seeking to retain benefits that enrich their members at the expense of hardworking taxpayers who aren’t as lucky.

Moreover the idea that these unions are fighting oppressive Republicans is a joke. Contrary to the Times, the governor of Wisconsin and the Republicans in the legislature there are not the moral equivalent of Tunisian or Egyptian autocrats. They were voted into office by the people and what they are doing is exactly what they promised the electorate they would do once they gained office. It is the unions and the Democrats who are the reactionary defenders of an untenable and frankly undemocratic status quo, not the Republicans who advocate change.

Second, and just as important for those who watch the media, the Times’ flattering portrait of the protesters ignores the extremist and violent rhetoric that has characterized the union demonstrators. As we noted Friday, unionists and the Democratic Party activists who have been bused in to help them have compared Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler and the Republicans to Nazis, as this video illustrates. Yet the Times has ignored that aspect of the story even though such rhetoric and demonstrators’ signs were the focus of much of their coverage of Tea Party protests. One can only conclude that in the liberal universe of the New York Times, left-wing union protesters are judged by a very different standard than the one they employ to report and editorialize about the conservatives of the Tea Party.”


 

 

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