While it certainly inspired me, I can’t say I felt any deep connection to the Egyptian people. The protests in Wisconsin, on the other hand, hit close to home. Their new governor, Scott Walker, pushed a plan to cut public worker pay by 7% and more importantly drastically reduce the collective bargaining rights of the public-sector unions.
I heard a few liberal pundits say this week that this is an attack on the Democratic party since unions are one of their primary financial supporters. While this may be true, it’s irrelevant to me, since politics is ugly on all sides. What is relevant is the fact that this plan is an attack on the middle class. The idea that the “free market” should decide the wages of the worker is a blind disregard of human rights, of the minimum standard of living required for a healthy stable society, of the kind of ideals this country was made into a superpower on in the 20th century. Unions have their bureaucracy, their corruption, their inefficiencies, so does any organization. Their ideal is noble and in my opinion an effective mechanism for giving some power to the otherwise powerless.