Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Calling the Hillary Clinton Question

Pay attention, teachers. 

To the exasperation of workers everywhere, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) suddenly voted to endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for U.S. president. Though the union made a similarly timed endorsement of her in 2008, this year's bow to Clinton has a growing number of members questioning its motivation. After all, there are enough people currently running for president to fill a school bus, and the destruction of public education has so far received less Big Media scrutiny than Donald Trump's hairline.

Much of the vitriol for the Clinton endorsement is justifiably directed at AFT president and Hillary backslapper Randi Weingarten. Rather than use the election to galvanize 1.6 million educators around issues that matter to lives and livelihoods, Weingarten prematurely called the question, strong-arming teachers into campaigning for a woman whose biggest donors expect her to attack labor unions and public education.

Clinton is a former U.S. senator from New York and big fan of Governor Andrew Cuomo, a neoliberal ass clown who has eviscerated due process rights for teachers in his state while simultaneously underfunding and overtesting students and their schools.

Clinton condones Cuomo

Weingarten is also close to Clinton, and this hasty endorsement appears as nothing more than nepotism run amok. Though she would follow Clinton to the Hamptons and back, the same cannot be said of many of her members. 

Weingarten claims this endorsement was pushed by union leaders in swing states, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has drawn bigger crowds than anyone in those states, and don't think that a teacher or twenty in the crowd does not nod whenever Sanders speaks of removing the influence of Big Money from politics, for example. 

The conviction that Clinton will easily win the democratic nomination so we might as well support her plays on our most superficial and cynical political paradigms; inevitability builds tyrants, not leaders. Similar to Barack Obama in 2008, Hillary clearly views Sanders as a threat to her inevitability, and has reached out to her friend Randi to dam his progressive tide. 

Clinton has no credibility in the fight against Big Money in politics, however, unless and until she decides to offer Eli Broad and Bill Gates a refund. As a result, should Clinton receive the nomination, campaign finance will merely graze the stratosphere of the presidential debates, with both the moderators and candidates obsessing over psychos on the other side of the world instead of the corporate sociopaths along our shores.

Education will likely also receive its usual brusque treatment in 2016, since it will be in the best interests of both major parties to disregard the plutocrats behind the curtain. If Clinton wins the nomination, vital debate about issues such as Common Core and high-stakes tests will be tempered by phrases like "Education reform is a bipartisan issue" and "Let's agree to disagree on that one." In the meantime, public education will sink further into oblivion, ignored in favor of nonsensical arguments about deleted emails and the constitutionality of health care and marriage. 

Randi Weingarten has a lot of work to do if she expects the AFT to work for Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders is a successful and seasoned senator, former congressman and mayor. He is not going away soon.  

If anything, the AFT 's endorsement of Clinton will only stoke the fires of Bernie's campaign, with working teachers everywhere poking its embers.

It will be up to Weingarten and others to tamp down the flames of dissent and disgust engulfing corporate Clinton.

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