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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Working Class Wakes Up

By Keith R. Schmitz

For years, the NRA has multi-tasked as a supporter of gun worshippers and a front group for the GOP.

But when the NRA came to Blacksville, WV to interview miners about the election, turns out nobody was interested in the casting call:
More than 440 workers who are members of the United Mine Workers of America took what's called a Memorial Day instead of going to work.

Union officials say they took the day to protest after a film crew from the National Rifle Assocation showed up at the Consol mine last week to interview union workers.

They say the crew tried to get union coal miners to speak out against Barak Obama.

The UMWA has endorsed the democratic presidential nominee.

"This was a surprise visit," explained VP Local 1702, Safety Chairman Eric Greathouse, "and a lot of the miners felt this was a direct slap in the face of the union because they were trying to coerce our people into saying things against Barck Obama."

"Consol doesn't let anybody on their property - never," said Safety Committee Member Mark Dorsey, "And for them to let the NRA come on the property and solicit our membership was totally uncalled for. We made our endorsement to our political process and we didn't bother them and they shouldn't be harassing our membership over this."
It comes down to this.

The NRA is ostensibly about hunting. To the surprise of one dimensional conservatives, I spent many cherished times walking the fields of Ozaukee county hunting pheasant, back when those fields were available.

But like all good GOP organizations, the NRA likes to stroke fear, fear that jack-booted thugs will take away people's weapons.

Gradually people are coming around to the notion that under a Republican administration there is a greater likelihood of loosing their job than loosing their gun under a Democrat. Call it the price of success on the part of the NRA. In their single-mindedness they have done a masterful job of bullying to sleep any common sense ideas about managing the proliferation of guns in our streets, bars, homes and universities.

What the heck. Unions themselves suffered that price of success. As their members became better off, they thought they were Republicans. For many the gun issue sealed the deal. The only difference is that while unions protect their members' self-interest, the NRA insists their one issue stands supreme.

Try imaging some guy telling his family that their future has to be on shaky ground because he enjoys his hobby. But that is the size of it.

And there is evidence that the economy is depressing the number of people who can even be hunters. I'c be curious to see the numbers here in Wisconsin.

In short, you can't buy shells and pay for the trip away on $10 an hour pay, or for that matter even find the time to go hunting if that pay means having to work two jobs to keep your family together.

Sure Obama has a long way to go to win West Virginia and he probably won't. But it is a hopeful sign that these workers in Blacksville -- miners in this case -- know what is at stake and recognize that their families come before fake fears over their gun rights, or better yet over the fact that Obama is black.

Change is coming.

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