Letter to the editor: Response to Wisconsin

By Christopher Fontana, Executive Director, Global Visionaries

Like the working and middle class Americans who were asked to help pay for the Wall Street bailouts, Wisconsin state workers are asked to pay a deep price.

They are asked to sacrifice their inalienable democratic right to speak, organize and ask for fair treatment from employers. They are asked to relinquish their right to collective bargaining. In short, they are asked to give up their 1st Amendment rights.

Consider the following examples from the past decade:

Following the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, our government began to create “protest zones” to keep voices of dissent away from critical locations.

Following the 2000 election, we learned that African American voters in the state of Florida were denied equal access to voting booths.

Following 9/11, we were asked to give up our right of free speech as the Pentagon perfected the art of “embedded journalism” and our mainstream media became the mouthpiece of illegal war and state-sponsored torture.

In the name of national security, we were asked to give up our 4th Amendment rights as our government needed to see the books we checked out of the library and who we called on the phone.

In Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, our government justified surrendering our 5th through 8th Amendments rights.

Last year, in Arizona, U.S.-born Latinos were asked to give up their 14th Amendment rights in racist legislation that targeted citizens based on what they looked like.

Now, in Wisconsin, we are asked to give up our right to collectively bargain.

What we see on the streets in Cairo and Madison is a new generation hungry for mutual respect, human rights and dignity.

We who cherish our Constitution will work to reinstate that which that has been lost: that we all may earn a fair wage, speak our minds, vote and know that our vote counts.

We shall unite until all people are afforded equal protection under the law.

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