YOUR LETTERS: What happened to compromise?

Why can’t we all get along? That’s a question on the minds of most voters in most elections. What about the middle? What happened to compromise and working together? I’ll tell you what happened – one party – the Republican Party – has unrecognizably transformed.

The GOP, which once was a party that represented a legitimate conservative balance to American politics, focused on lower taxes and minimal government intrusion into the lives of citizens – is now a militaristic cult hellbent on destroying democracy. What began as a fascination with the personality of Donald Trump has evolved into a movement known as MAGA, which is another name for modern day fascism. There is no middle.

It’s no secret that unions and the Democratic Party have long been allies when it comes to advancing public policy that puts the well-being of workers before corporations. Democrats, first and foremost, fight for fair wages, access to healthcare, good schools, and the ability of all workers to retire in peace. Because of this, strong unions have always been a bedrock of successful Democratic political campaigns.

It’s also no secret that a growing number of union workers, often driven by social interests rather than economic interests, have chosen in recent years to support Republican politicians, including Donald Trump. Nor is it a secret that union leaders have grown increasingly frustrated that social issues have come to dominate such a large space of the political debate in our country and in our state. Why is it that we can’t get along?

We will get along just fine when we stand as allies, in solidarity, against bullies – whether those bullies are corporate bosses, or culture warriors who feed on fear and division to win political campaigns.

The solidarity of working people has long been a necessary antidote to fascism. With labor’s help, Missourians have been able to reclaim some of their rights taken from them, by the Republican-controlled legislature. We repealed “right-to-work” in 2018, expanded Medicaid in 2020, and raised our minimum wage.

Those politicians who want to take medicine away from LGBT kids, make it easier to fire LGBT and Black workers – who want to force a 10-year-old rape victim to give birth and give her rapist parental rights – and who want the government to control every book a kid reads – are the same exact same politicians who forced through “right-to-work,” gutted Missouri’s whistleblower laws, tried to repeal Medicaid expansion, cut St. Louis’ minimum wage, and want to force Missouri families to pay back unemployment benefits that the government mistakenly gave them. It’s the same party, it’s the same playbook, it’s the same names.

When we have what’s ours, let’s make sure others get theirs. That is the union way. The best way to build on the success of the Labor Movement in Missouri is to stand, strong as ever, against those we fought and won. They will continue their crusade, as fascists before them, to erode the rights of communities they think are weak. If we are complacent about their attack on one community, we will learn quickly it is only a matter of time before our community is again under attack. We cannot have it both ways. What has been won has not been won forever, and we must all pull in the same direction to keep it.

State Representative
(D-St. Louis County)

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