A few weeks ago, on Labor Day, I turned to C-SPAN, knowing that the occasion would provoke discussion of organized labor, relevant to my specialized legal practice. Among the guests that day was Jonathan Tasini, executive director of a new front group for union bosses, called “American Rights at Work.”
From a professional perspective (I represent individual employees for my “real” job, attempting to vindicate their rights against compulsory unionism abuses), it was actually pretty humorous to watch as Tasini attempted to justify the latest strategy in the efforts of union bosses to gain the power of monopoly control over American workers: the so-called “card check” recognition.
It is a device by which an employer agrees (often as part of a misnomered “neutrality” agreement) to recognize a union as a monopoly bargaining representative if more than half of its employees sign union membership cards, avoiding the “trouble” of a secret-ballot election at which employees might privately express their true desires regarding “going union” or remaining union free.
Tasini actually had the gall to suggest that in order to preserve “workplace democracy,” employees should rightly be denied this right to vote. It seems that “workplace democracy,” so far as American union bosses are concerned, doesn’t include the cornerstone of the American democratic republic: a secret ballot.
It seems American union bosses have the same disease of the rest of their friends on the far Left: excuses of all manner for their failure to win elections (in this instance, to persuade more than 10 percent of the private-sector work force that their interests would be served by union representation). And only in the frequently Orwellian world of American labor relations and academia could it seriously be suggested that “workplace democracy” is served by denying a vote.
Unfortunately, the Left’s drive for power regardless of the unpopularity of their agenda is not limited to American workplace.
But then again, that’s exactly what our friends on the Left have done for years.
The subject arises because they’re doing it again. And no, I’m not referring to the gerrymander, the process by which legislative district boundary lines are imaginatively drawn to advantage one or the other political party. A tactic used since the beginning of the Republic, it has its roots in Massachusetts politics. Used by both parties, it’s not pretty, but it doesn’t frustrate voting.
It’s difficult to square the tactics of the Left with any consistent philosophy other than the naked lust for power. Indeed, it becomes ever more clear that hypocrisy is a left-wing social[ist] disease.
After all, it’s clear that objective, neutral principles like respect for the law or the Constitution don’t guide them. Witness the treatment of abortion. No fair reading of the Constitution would convince one that the document addresses the issue. Nevertheless, the left celebrates the constitutional perversion which is the “right” to abortion, discovered by seven Supreme Court justices in 1973.
The few honest liberals left favoring abortion as public policy – for instance, constitutional scholar John Hart Ely – concede that abortion is not a constitutional issue. Those desirous of making it a constitutional right pursue efforts to amend the Constitution, like former Delegate David Brickley did during his tenure. Of course, many on the Left are afraid of the debate and/ or revealing their pro-abortion stances, and cloak themselves in the judicial snake oil of “penumbras” and “emanations” to conclude with the debate-ending rhetoric of constitutional “right.”
That’s the rub, though, for many of our friends on the Left. They fear the democratic will, expressed in 1973 by 50 state laws restricting abortion to varying degrees, and hence, pursue many of their unpopular political nostrums through the least democratic branch of government – the courts.
More dangerously, it is utterly clear that, so long as their power is subject to it, the left – whose political party in the United States is mainly, and ironically, the Democratic Party – fears and loathes democratic will even as expressed in elections.
The most recent manifestations of this fear and loathing manifested itself on Monday, when three of the most liberal, Democrat-appointed judges on the nation’s most liberal circuit court of appeals, the Ninth Circuit, enjoined the recall election set for 7 October to determine whether California Gov. Gray Davis will remain in office.
Never mind that a good case can be made that such a recall is an excess of democracy, it nonetheless is permissible in California. Nevertheless, the supposed guardians of “democratic” values in the Democrat Party hate the recall, because it threatens one of the most left-wing governors in America.
Davis, of course, is the governor who early on in his tenure ordered the dropping of California’s appeal from the injunction issued against the functioning of Proposition 209, which would have barred state-mandated and enforced race-based preferences in California.
From the election of 2000, with selective vote “counting” to reverse the results of Florida’s presidential vote, to Democrat efforts in Colorado and Texas to frustrate decennial congressional redistricting against newly elected GOP legislative majorities, it’s clear that no effort is beneath Democrats in their drive to gain or maintain political power.
The situation is particularly egregious in Texas, where Democrats hold 17 (53.125 percent) of 32 congressional seats, even though their candidates garnered only 44 percent of the statewide vote. Were districts not gerrymandered to protect Democrats by earlier Democrat majorities in the state legislature, Republicans would hold 18 seats.
Yet it’s big-D Democrats who claim to champion democracy, and feign outrage over Republican efforts to utilize lawful processes, or to demand integrity in those processes.
The Wall Street Journal’s Robert Bartley has got it exactly right: Democrats are engaged in “projection,” casting their own faults upon their enemies. In this case, it is Democrats who fear and loath the emerging Republican majority who are attacking the very “democracy” they disingenuously claim to champion.
An attorney, Young lives with his wife and their two sons in Montclair.