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Norman Lear Headshot

This Just May Have a Religious Sensibility

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Governor Walker, Candidate Romney and those who speak loudest for him are down on labor, down on their unions and union leaders. They are, in effect, down on the working man's right to band together and, to coin an expression, petition their bosses for a redress of their grievances. Some of them would have you think that unions are out to destroy America. Or that they have already destroyed an America that was. I think this:

The union leader, just like you and me -- and just like your boss and mine -- every corporate leader and all those who work for him, unionized or not -- are all human beings, born with the same capacities for good and for evil and for everything in between.

We humans are all born with a capacity for lust and greed, the desire for power and the capacity for its misuse in pursuit of our own interests. We are also born with the ability to ignore, discard or transcend those natural impulses and go along, as Lincoln put it, with the angels of our better nature.

We have seen labor and business leaders alike -- heads of some of our largest unions and the Chairmen and CEOS of some of our biggest banks and corporations, and a number of our most important political figures attain enormous power, and misuse it to the detriment of our society generally, and hundreds of thousands specifically and severely. Union leaders and corporate executives, even members of the clergy, humans all, are fully and equally capable of misusing power the same way -- and the evidence that some do (not all) is in front of us every day. I will leave it to you to judge which of them has the capacity to do the most damage.

If we have the guts to look at ourselves in the mirror and see ourselves honestly, and in the context of our common humanity, perhaps we can deal with human failure individually when we find it and stop demonizing by class, race, sex, politics, religion, and status. To put it in today's vernacular, and stop reading here if you guess the language could offend you, I'm fucking fed up with it!

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