by Maureen D. Taylor
State Chair, MWRO
On Thursday, May 14th, 2009, most Americans woke up to the grim news that in order for Chrysler to save itself, 25% of the current dealers needed to be sacrificed. Some 789 Chrysler dealers were on a list to be closed, some as early as June 9th, after having served the master for decades. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of new families who are now facing unemployment, never mind the many community programs underwritten by these dealerships over the years, never mind the feeder businesses nearby who rely on the traffic created by these car dealers – with one swipe of the pen, they will soon be “toast!”
Next comes the dreaded list issued by General Motors who will name the fate of thousands more GM dealerships that must close to save GM. All the while these horrific announcements are being made, a psychotic Wall Street reacts by closing higher, happy at the news that the Big Two are being saved by the sacrifices of millions. Is there not something insidious, sick, and diabolical about these happenings?
Perhaps what is most disturbing is the ease in which millions of car-related workers accept the premise that for America to be better, they must starve, lose healthcare, have homes taken from them, and in other ways stand “mute” while their very lives are being wrecked. The incomes offered to the next generation of workers is woefully lower than what their predecessors earned and will not allow the purchase of these hi-priced cars of the future.
The question is, where are the blue-collar and no-collar visionaries who have the answers to these current economic issues? Welfare Rights firmly believes that the solution to this deepening crisis is not to be found in the direction which we are all being pushed that calls for us to lose everything for the sake of the company. Don’t our lives and the future of our children count? Every response to the growing international crisis is one that suggests that we must bear the pain…closing schools, reduced wages, loss of retirement funds, loss of retiree health coverage, mounting foreclosures, rising domestic violence, rising suicide rates among children and veterans, rising incidents of police brutality…all things connected to rising stress levels. What do we get for our pain?
The time to bring up new ideas is now. The time to suggest a new and different course of action has arrived. The 6.5 million workers who now receive unemployment benefits must soon decide what is to be done when that last check arrives and a job has not been secured. The only answer to this greed-driven, corporate crisis is to engage in building an organized society that rests on certain foundations. People must eat, no matter what. People must have access to clean drinking water, no matter what. People and families must have homes to raise children in, no matter what. Elders deserve respect and a level of comfort, no matter what. We take care of sick people, we educate children so that they can make wise decisions as adults, we care for animals, and we live our days to serve a higher cause that includes kindness and concern.
The time has come to make a choice – “which side are YOU on?” Massa won’t let you live with him, so we must live without him. Wake the hell up!