Our Common Good


Apparently, Mitt Romney doesn’t believe in workplace democracy. And as more and more reports of employer coercion of workers’ political rights emerge, it is clear that Romney’s disdain for workplace rights is not unique.  In fact, the employer communications to workers that we are seeing include both direct and implicit threats and scare tactics to make employees fear for their jobs if President Obama wins.  These are the same tactics that employers use against workers trying to organize a union. The Supreme Court has long recognized that even what appears on its face to be mere persuasion becomes inherently coercive when it’s an employer urging its employees to take particular actions.
Unions represent a necessary bulwark against bullying by employers, whether about the workplace or politics. That is why unions are critical to democracy, and why the right to organize is an internationally recognized human right. The recent outbreak of stories of employers bullying their workers into supporting their candidate underscores the crucial role of unions in our fragile democracy.


(via AFL-CIO Responds to Romney Call - Working In These Times)

Apparently, Mitt Romney doesn’t believe in workplace democracy. And as more and more reports of employer coercion of workers’ political rights emerge, it is clear that Romney’s disdain for workplace rights is not unique.  In fact, the employer communications to workers that we are seeing include both direct and implicit threats and scare tactics to make employees fear for their jobs if President Obama wins.  These are the same tactics that employers use against workers trying to organize a union. The Supreme Court has long recognized that even what appears on its face to be mere persuasion becomes inherently coercive when it’s an employer urging its employees to take particular actions.

Unions represent a necessary bulwark against bullying by employers, whether about the workplace or politics. That is why unions are critical to democracy, and why the right to organize is an internationally recognized human right. The recent outbreak of stories of employers bullying their workers into supporting their candidate underscores the crucial role of unions in our fragile democracy.

(via AFL-CIO Responds to Romney Call - Working In These Times)

timekiller-s:

From AU’s “Wall of Separation” blog: Krystal Myers, an atheist, and Zac Mitchell, who’s gay, are facing threats, derision and bullying from townspeople in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Some are even asking the school to prevent the students from walking across the stage at their upcoming graduation. Read more by clicking thru the head.

How do people grow up to be so mean?

shortformblog:

An Iowa newspaper takes a tough front-page stance against bullying
Today’s Sioux City Journal devoted their full front page to an editorial about a gay teen who recently committed suicide. On the death of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, which the paper called “a kind-hearted, fun-loving teenage boy,” the paper had this to say: “This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient — maybe even painful — to address. But we can’t keep looking away.”  A must-read that offers concrete solutions to a major cultural problem; check it out for yourself. (page via Newseum; thanks sarahlee310 for spotting)

What a difference it might make if other papers cared enough about their communities to be so bold.  The Sioux City Journal deserves all the recognition we can muster for it. Thanks for posting the graphic and the quote.

shortformblog:

An Iowa newspaper takes a tough front-page stance against bullying

Today’s Sioux City Journal devoted their full front page to an editorial about a gay teen who recently committed suicide. On the death of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, which the paper called “a kind-hearted, fun-loving teenage boy,” the paper had this to say: “This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient — maybe even painful — to address. But we can’t keep looking away.”  A must-read that offers concrete solutions to a major cultural problem; check it out for yourself(page via Newseum; thanks sarahlee310 for spotting)

What a difference it might make if other papers cared enough about their communities to be so bold.  The Sioux City Journal deserves all the recognition we can muster for it. Thanks for posting the graphic and the quote.

The Sioux City Journal's front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film, “Bully,” which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, “we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike.”

"In Kenneth’s case, the warnings were everywhere," the editorial said. "We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home. Undoubtedly, it wasn’t the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.

Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper has run front-page editorials before but has never devoted the entire page to one.

"A lot of newspapers shy away from putting editorials on the front page, but we feel we have to be a strong advocate for our community," he said. "And if we don’t do that, we’re not sure who else is."

Well done, Sioux City Journal. 

Earlier this afternoon, following a screening of the documentary Bully at the White House, the Obama administration officially endorsed the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

[…]

The administration is on board. Now it is time for Congress to act. Please join the ACLU in urging Congress to pass this critically important legislation today.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act would provide students with explicit federal protections by establishing a comprehensive prohibition against discrimination and harassment in all public elementary and secondary schools across the country based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Importantly, the legislation also protects students who associate with LGBT people, including students with LGBT parents and friends.

bohemianarthouse:

And schools wonder why bulling is such a problem. Even the schools themselves are bullies. Disgusting.

That is really sad. 

This incident follows a spate of anti-gay activity in Tennessee. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban elementary and middle schools from talking about sexual orientation, passed the state Senate last year and was approved by the House education subcommittee a few weeks ago. Last year, in his campaign to stop the formation of a gay-straight alliance at her school, one high school principal allegedly threw a straight student against a wall for wearing a T-shirt in support of the idea. State lawmakers also recently proposed a bill that would protect students who bully their gay peers, if they do so for religious reasons.

There have been two recent gay teen suicides in Tennessee that have gained public attention. In January, Phillip Parker, a gay 14-year-old, killed himself and left a handwritten note in his trash can, “Please help me mom,” after reportedly enduring mental and physical torment from peers. In December, a gay high school senior, Jacob Rogers, dropped out of school after what his friends describe as four years of bullying, and took his own life.

After Bond’s assembly, students complained to the American Civil Liberties Union, which sent a letter to Haywood County Schools Superintendent Marlon King, asking the school system to express views friendly to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and to let students know they have a constitutional right to identify as gay. The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, launched a petition against Bond’s remarks, which garnered 5,000 signatures in four hours.

Bond resigned later that day….

I sincerely hope that everyone following me has an ACLU membership card in your wallet.

paxamericana:

Focus On The Family’s Candi Cushman said at a CPAC panel titled “In the Name of ‘Tolerance’: Countering Sexual Identity Politics in Schools & Wait No More” said that anti-bullying policies aimed at protecting gay students have led to “thought control.”

The panel, according to CPAC’s program, was focused on how to “respectfully and practically counter activist agendas in public schools and protect parents’ and students’ rights, as well as how we can work to find ‘forever families’ for the more than 100,000 legal orphans waiting in our country’s foster-care system,” and was sponsored by CitizenLink (which was formerly known as Focus on the Family Action).

So just let kids be driven to suicide by bullies.  Those are some real family values.

In Michele Bachmann’s home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back.

This is a heartbreaking story from Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely.  We’ve had some suicides in my community - not necessarily related to LGBT issues - just bullying.  A coworker’s daughter tried to hang herself last week.  I think I need to visit my local school and see if there is anything I can do to help. Schools and parents and community members really need to start taking harder stands against bullying. 

The law includes a section noting it doesn’t abridge First Amendment free speech rights or prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints — a provision Democrats fear could be used to justify harassment of gay, lesbian or transgender students.

Fundamentalists don’t want school-kids ‘brainwashed’ to accept gays but it’s still cool to brainwash kids to despise them.
John Fugelsang on the vocal opposition to anti-bullying programs in schools from some on the religious right. (via liberal-life)

everlastingsong:

KY GOP Amend Anti-Bullying Bill To Allow Bullying Of Gay Kids

Republican Representative Mike Harmon has just amended a bill which would have prohibited bullying in schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The amendment states that kids who bully for religious reasons are exempt, as long as they aren’t violent.

Utterly pitiful, hopefully Kentucky will reject this ridiculous argument as easily as Utah did when Paul Mero and Sutherland Institute’s chunky flunky, Representative LaVar Christensen, tried to make the same amendment to local workplace and housing protections.

The amendment essentially legalizes bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children, who will have no defense against bullies in their school unless the bully throws a punch.

[…]

Absolutely sickening.

The GOP and GLBT+ rights don’t mix. It’s as clear as day.

Whatever happened to kindness and love in religion?