Letter to the Editor: In this election, union members must keep their eyes on the prize

Mike Mazurkiewicz

I’ve been retired for a few years now. Although I don’t always know (or care) what day of the week it is, I do try to stay informed, and I brush up on national, local and postal issues – especially those affecting seniors and retirees. That leads me to some thoughts on something I do care about – the important 2012 presidential election. We have one political party saying government is the problem. The other says it’s the solution. It’s that simple, right?

I’m not so sure.

I see it this way: While government will sometimes be a problem and other times a solution, it will always be the prize. Why else would candidates and political parties spend millions upon millions of dollars on a job that doesn’t pay much? Because with the prize comes enormous power and control. The party winning the prize will have a dramatic impact on your jobs, your family, your retirements – and the future of our country.

Will they be a solution or a problem? Who deserves the prize? Cynics will say this election is a question of the lesser of two evils. Others will say it’s the evil of two lessers.

Maybe, but maybe not. I have voted in every election since I was 21, and over the years cast my vote for different political parties based on what I felt was important. But during the last few decades or so I have become increasingly disgusted with and opposed to the party that calls itself “conservative.”

Their policies turned our country’s budget surplus into a multi-trillion dollar deficit. What’s conservative about that? They continue to say that tax cuts for the wealthy will have a positive, “trickle down” effect for the middle class. But have they? No, they haven’t.

Now these “conservatives” want to double down on trickle down. I cannot simply stand by and let them run our nation into the ground and turn us into a third-world country.

I watched with disgust as “conservatives” approved (but didn’t fund) an unnecessary war, voted for wealthy tax cuts and sent American jobs to foreign countries via the passage of NAFTA and CAFTA. They warn us about their opposition party’s “socialist” policies, but they willingly sold the debts their policies created to Communists in China, and actually made socialists out of us all by using taxpayers to bail out Wall Street and the Banks. (Apparently profits belong to capitalism, but socialism is OK for losses).

“Conservatives” really stuck it to postal workers with “Postal Reform,” which put the only government agency that regularly made money into bankruptcy.

Oh sure, they say they care about us middle class people – while we’re in the womb! But after that – well, you’re on your own. Forget about supporting education, good jobs, social services, health care and a clean environment; you have to use your own personal responsibility and care for your own needs, until you’re needed for the next war.

I won’t allow the same political party most responsible for the declining state of our union try to tell me that they are the solution. And I won’t let its “Tea Party” faction try to convince me that their outdated and failed ideologies are a “new direction.” I’m not even going to listen to them anymore.

Well, maybe just a little bit. I did watch some of the Republican National Convention. What a joke! They accuse the president of not doing his job when they have done nothing but obstruct every piece of progressive legislation he proposed. They condemn the president for proposing a plan that is identical to a plan their own candidate proposed while governor of Massachusetts. They’re not just clueless; they’re shameless.

The fact is that our Congress hasn’t been doing its job – unless you think supporting an oligarchy while dissolving a democracy is their job. I’m done putting up with them.

– Michael Mazurkiewicz, St. Paul Area American Postal Workers Union retiree

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