Apr 082008
 
Authors: Phil Elder

For the past eight years, and indeed several more before his presidency, Bush has repeatedly attempted to paint himself as a working class hero – masking his trust fund arrogance, governor daddy and old money upbringing, attempt at a Yale education and complete and total physical removal from anything working-class with a $500 cowboy hat, jeans with bits of dust on them and a complete ignorance of and disdain for basic English grammatical structure.

This adoration of the American laborer has been reflected ad nauseum in his economic policies. His attempt to completely dismantle Social Security in 2005, his annual financial breaks for the wealthiest 5 percent (97 percent of the benefits from the 2006 tax policy affected only those with a gross annual income of $200,000 or more) his savage assaults on public education and affordable healthcare, and his persistence in destroying the working class labor market, are just minute examples of the titanic levels of compassion Bush vaunts for the American proletariat.

Now concerned with the homogeneity of his legacy, Bush hopes to internationally perpetuate his love for laborers everywhere. He has rushed Congress into voting through a free trade agreement with Colombia, to strengthen our national security, boost ourselves economically and send a clear message throughout the rest of the world.

Colombia was an excellent choice for this trade agreement, as they are world-famous for sharing Bush’s commiseration for the working class.

Said compassion is represented statistically by the 39 trade unionists murdered in 2007, the 11 (to date) in 2008, and the fact that only 70 cases of union murders since 1986, around 3 percent, have resulted in convictions. Union membership in Colombia is now below 5 percent.

Not to mention, of course, that the Colombian government has repeatedly failed to bring its labor laws into compliance with international norms, has failed in many cases to enforce its laws protecting workers from anti-union discrimination and has erected bureaucratic and legal obstacles to union registration and collective bargaining rights.

Of course, there are whiners and freedom-haters, as there are every time Bush tries to help our country.

Like possible communist Harry Reid, who voiced his, and other spineless Democrats’ concern about a treaty that “creates the highest level of economic integration with a country where workers and their families are routinely murdered and subjected to violence and intimidation for seeking to exercise their most basic economic rights” and where “the perpetrators of the violence have near total impunity.”

What the Democrats, and even some traitor Republicans, fail to recognize is the amazing benefits that the American laborer would receive from this agreement.

For example, the perpetuation of the current economic trend, encouraging American companies to transfer their manufacturing operations to Colombia and adding to the woes of sagging Rust Belt areas in the United States (over 3 million jobs lost to Bush’s trade policies since 2000.)

Finally comes the message that will be sent to the global community. A message of hope, of promise, of cooperation. A message that says we could care less about how you treat your citizens, as long as you oppose communism. A message that says we’re willing to sacrifice millions of our low-income jobs to bolster the collective revenues of our, and your, financial elite.

A message that says that we’re ready and willing not only to ignore the insignificant pleas of both foreign and domestic working class citizens, but even to destroy our own economy with rushed, short-sighted policies, all in the sake of national security.

I haven’t been prouder to be an American since Reagan likened homelessness to camping.

Phil Elder is a senior political science major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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