Occupation

Apropos of the protests

I was in Madison, Wisconsin during the dust-up over the collective bargaining rights of public employees. I wandered out unto the steps of the capitol building before sunrise. There were posters in the windows and a few people on the streets with signs in support of public employees.

Occupation

The fervor over the budgetary demons compounded with the exclusion of police and emergency workers from the new bargaining rules gave the air of a political power play to the governor's demands. That collective bargaining rights were eventually stripped in a vote outside of budgetary issues makes the political nature of the underlying motive all the clearer. The discussion, after all, wasn't about whether unionization of public employes is a good idea, constitutional, etc or if a government has the power to dictate the rights of its employees; instead the narrative, even in the media, drew a false equivalency between fiscal solvency and public employee unionization.

I am, in many ways, unapologetically liberal and found myself discouraged that, during the fervor of the debate in southern Wisconsin, the nation missed an opportunity to ask why it is that we've become more and more prosperous while shrinking the middle class. I find the Occupy Wall Street protests encouraging because they represent the start of that discussion and the political counterpoint to the Tea Party. No movement deserves unmitigated support, and not all should be immediately understood in their demands.

The promise of our rights as laborers, citizens, and photographers are only as good as our resolve to honor those promises and demand others do the same.