Well, my girlfriend and I are about to escape NYC for sunny Florida, to spend Christmas and the first couple days of Chanukah with my family. While I am in complete and utter support of the strike and the TWU, I’m also relieved to leave the madness for a little while.
I hadn’t heard until today that Bloomberg had called the transit workers “thuggish.” How disgusting can you get? This kind of inflammatory, racist and classist rhetoric, along with this obsession with the word “illegal” when talking about the strike, is just infuriating. And the mainstream media is, of course, playing along very well. From so many of the reports I’ve heard or read, you’d really think that most of the city hates the union and is against the strike, when really, it seems like the papers and the news shows are working really hard to find the most outrageous, virulent opinions and put them in the spotlight.
Roger Toussaint wrote an open letter to Bloomberg in response to the “thuggish” comment and other issues. It’s an excellent response. I especially loved this part which speaks to the whole issue of the “illegal” strike:
But what about our conducting an “illegal” strike? What about the law? You are all over the media with high-minded talk about “illegal” behavior, castigating criminals and screaming that no one is above the law. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You must hope everyone has forgotten your biography: “Bloomberg on Bloomberg.” You boast on Page 59 on how you started your rise to great wealth, great enough to enable you to buy the Mayor’s office twice. You set up your office “…all without permission, violating every fire law, building code and union regulation on the books.”
I guess illegality is in the eye of the beholder. A confessed lawbreaker has the gall to lecture 34,000 hard working people whose only crime is standing up for their families and for dignity and respect on one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs in New York.
Right on, Toussaint.
La Mala over at Mamita Mala makes similar points about how the media (FOX News, specifically) has bought into the whole “illegal strike” hysteria:
… don’t ya think it’s a little incendiary for the logo regarding the strike to read ILLEGAL TRANSIT STRIKE.
I mean when is the last time they put up a logo saying ILLEGAL POLICE BRUTALITY or um ILLEGAL SPYING BY U.S. GOVERNMENT? Hmmm?