Wausau makes it official: Wisconsin Republicans are parasites and scavengers. | Wis.Community

Wausau makes it official: Wisconsin Republicans are parasites and scavengers.

[img_assist|nid=65676|title=Bloody Pullman Strike|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=215|height=137]Does that headline sound overly harsh? Well, it needs to sound that way.

In recent years Republicans around the country have almost made a fetish out of appropriating progressive heroes, martyrs and symbols, using them for their own snively purposes. Newt Gingrich insisted that FDR was really espousing Republican ideals. Later, some Republicans quite baldly insisted that Martin Luther King Jr. was functionally one of their own (he was, actually, pro-labor union). GOP partisans even have claimed John F. Kennedy as kindred, because he once cut taxes (as if Democrats up to and including Obama have never done that before or since).

But this latest tempest in a teacup is perhaps the most outrageous of all. We're referring to GOP upset over the announcement in Wausau that Republican politicians will not be welcome to particpate in next week's Labor Day parade in that city. That's because the 30 unions making up the Wausau area labor council  -- which sponsor and pay for the Labor Day parade -- are very unwilling to invite state Republicans who just enacted a huge public worker union-busting law.

The unsurprising decision upset Republicans like Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) and US Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) who claimed Labor Day was created for all workers and is really a "family" event. Well, families sure do like the parades and picnics, but GOP lawmakers are dead wrong about the wellsprings of Labor Day. It is, in fact, very much a creature of organized labor. Indeed, the federal holiday was created expressly to observe and remember the deaths of organized workers at the hands of their own government. From Wikipedia: 

The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, in Boston, by the  of New York, the nation's first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of  and  during the , President  put reconciliation with the  as a top political priority. 

Either modern Republicans are completely crass and cynical, or they just don't know a damn thing about American history, or both. In any case, they shouldn't have the privilege of parading shoulder to shoulder with the unionized workers they have so greatly dishonored and -- directly or indirectly -- economically punished. What, are Republicans now seeking political camouflage among the rank and file?

UPDATE: The Wausau mayor today issued a statemen saying Republicans should be allowed to be join the Labor Day parade. He says that since city insurance covers the parade and similar events, the city is a "co-sponsor" and thus should have a say. I'm sure the mayor is a very fair and consistent fellow, and that the next time there's a tea party parade in his town, he'll insist that Democrats be allowed to join the entourage.

In a better America, political decorum would exist and people of different persuasions could share an event like this. But it's simply inexcusable to insist that Republicans, having just dissed the labor movement and rank-and-file workers big time, should be allowed to crash a union-organized event.

By the way, some right-wing blogs are now busy calling the Wausau area labor unions and Democrats in general "communists" and "socialists" for even daring to suggest that organizers shouldn't let Republicans crash the festivities. I hate to rain on their parade, but the fact is, Republicans need to stop pretending their party supports labor, when Wisconsin Act 10 is now on the books. After all, if someone comes along and scrapes their keys along the body of your car, you surely wouldn't say yes when, a moment later, they ask you to give them a ride.

UPDATE 2: The mayor of Wausau says the city won't help with the cost of staging the annual parade unless a decision to ban Republican politicians is reversed.

Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke earlier said Republican elected officials were not invited to participate in the parade because they supported changes to collective bargaining for public employee unions.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple says if Republicans aren't allowed in the parade, the city will require the Marathon County Labor Council to reimburse the city for its expenses including police protection. Hey, mayor: Letting Republicans march along in a parade next to angry union members is likely at this point to require higher police costs than usual, which your city will cover if that transpires.

Also, Mr. Mayor, we're assuming that if neo-Nazis ever decide to stage a parade in Wausau (as they're doing in the Milwaukee area), you'll threaten to make them pay all the city's costs unless they let anti-Nazi groups march in the same parade. I'm afraid the late entertainer Steve Allen would have referred to the mayor's notions here as an example of American "dumbth."

UPDATE 3: Statement from the labor council:

The Wausau Labor Day Parade is a time to celebrate the working men and women of Wisconsin. It is not a political event or stop on the campaign trail. It is a time for working families to come together to celebrate their hard work and a time where we recognize the labor movement for all they have given us -- the weekend, the 40 hour work week, child labor protection, a safe work environment. It should come as no surprise that organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked worker's rights or stood idly by while their political party fought to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain.

Randy RadtkePresident Marathon County Labor Council AFL-CIO

Published

August 29, 2011 - 2:30pm

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