September 03, 2007

Suck On This

You know, there are many, many days when I remember my friend Lisa's description of my news habit as masochistic and think, yep, never have truer words been spoken.

It isn't just Iraq where the less powerful get told some version of Suck On This, though. And it might seem like an odd segueway, but um, how's work going for you lately? It being Labor Day and all, I thought I'd point out that in spite of people like Friedman telling people for years that unions are a drain on the economy, they're the only ones fighting against the race to the bottom. You know, where your employers always want to pay you less money for more work, because the equity represented in your time and effort counts for very little against the equity represented by the money some investor threw into the pot through your board of directors.

The unions are the groups that made sure once upon a time that more employees of a company than the senior management had time to pay attention to the news. And to be duly outraged by it. They made sure that kids could grow up going to school instead of working in factories.

They used to make sure, for a lot more employees in this country, that when your boss told you to suck on this, you could call for back up. You had someone, a lot of someones, on your side. Like I bet the Iraqis wish they'd had. Heck, the Iraqis could have benefitted from being invaded by a country whose executive paid attention to their State Department, and did things like make plans for keeping order after a shooting war.

Which is the thing to know, really. If no one's on your side, or at least the side of maintaining an environment favorable to your well-being, one of these days, someone with more power than you've got will come along and say suck on this. Just because they can. Then they'll get away with it, and you can hate them for it from now to forever without it mattering one little bit. People like to say that it's because 'life' is unfair, as though one were talking about lightning or earthquakes, but it's really because a lot of people are insufferable jerks.

And sometimes you can be protected from 'life' by some arcane bureaucracy, some union or diplomatic corps, whose only dog in the fight is to make sure that things don't go badly, badly wrong. To make sure that the majority of the principals get enough reward out of maintaining a semblance of order that you can have things like bureaucracies, and civilizations that are nice to live in, incidentally. They can, at their best, minimize the disruption caused by the myriad socioemotional cripples whose only pleasure in walking the world comes from causing misery, from using whatever type of power they can get hold of to make some poor schlub with less leverage suck on this.

And I can say that, suck on this, because Thomas Friedman said it. And he's a real, bona fide, respectable newspaper writer. A pundit, you know. Someone who's paid to have opinions for us because he's so very, very wise. Not some foul-mouthed blogger.

(h/t Atrios)

Angel: People who don't care about anything will never understand the people who do.
Hamilton: Yeah, but we won't care.

Angel, "Not Fade Away", series finale by Joss Whedon

Posted by natasha at September 3, 2007 08:47 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |