A few thoughts on the teachers' strikes

A few thoughts on the teachers' strikes

The news has been filled the past month or so with reports of teachers striking in deep red West Virginia and Oklahoma for better pay and working conditions. The teachers in both states have won signal victories in their fights, and are continuing to struggle to achieve all their goals.

Oklahoma in particular is a poster-child for Koch Brothers-influenced libertarianism run amok. Services have been cut to the bone, with state government existing solely to enrich the already wealthy, while the poor and middle class languish.

However, this begs the question: How did Oklahoma and many other states like it arrive at this pass?

We like to blame people like the Kochs and the Mercers for all of our travails. But the fact remains that, putatively, these states are still democracies. They have elections. The legislators who slash public spending are put into office by voters. Some of those voters are even the teachers now on strike.

Bernie Sanders, ever helpful, opined that these strikes show there's no such thing as a "red state". As usual, he's wrong.

These voters vote the way they do not out of economic self-interest, but out of cultural fear and animus. And they vote the way they do under the assumption that the tiger won't eat their faces. When the tiger in fact does, they are as shocked as Captain Renault is about gambling. These are, in fact, the stereotypical red state voters.

It would be illustrative to see, if they are honest, how many of these teachers voted Republican. I would wager that at least a large minority did. And if so, they voted to put themselves in their predicaments. This doesn't mean that their cause is less just; however, some self-reflection is called for, so that they realize that yes, they too will have their faces eaten by the tiger.

People who work for a living—and by this I specifically mean white people—have to realize that voting Republican will do them no favors. The GOP does not have their interests at heart. You can't pay the mortgage with a border wall. You can't pay your doctor with a ban on gay marriage. Voting your cultural fears won't keep your water and air clean. That the GOP has been so successful pushing these cultural memes is an indication of how blinkered the majority of white voters are. (Or, at least, those who bother to vote.)

It appears that at least the teachers in these two states are on to the grift. It will take more movements like these to drive the stake into the GOP's heart.



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