NFFE National Vice President John Obst Speaks out in Wisconsin Newspaper


“What does democracy look like?” shouted one protester. “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!!” chanted thousands of Union Sisters and Brothers in Madison, Wisconsin as they demonstrated against Republican Governor Walker’s pledge to strip collective bargaining from public employees. Madison’s only daily newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal, took a poke at the demonstrators, telling the newspaper’s readers that democracy equates to election returns. Upset by that narrow editorial stance, NFFE National Vice President John Obst wrote a letter to the editor which was published this morning. His letter is below:

“The Wisconsin State Journal stated: “election returns – more than anything else – are what democracy looks like;” and “Republicans are going to get most of what they want for the next two years, just as the Democrats got most of what they wanted for the past two years.”

Democracy requires elections, but what the Wisconsin State Journal added better describes “tyranny by the majority” than ideals of democracy. Majority Democrats never did anything to prompt immediate intense reaction from the minority as did the Republican attack on public workers.

Tyranny by the majority: Republicans did not want to listen to, or accommodate, citizens or Democrats in the Assembly. And Walker stated his plan to maneuver Democratic Senators to return to the Capitol so his bill can be rubber-stamped by Republicans.

If the Wisconsin State Journal’s “what democracy looks like” were convincing, 70,000+ demonstrators would not participate in a rally. If democracy-is-elections prevailed, activists, such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mother Jones, Susan B. Anthony, Samuel Gompers, and Cesar Chavez would have stayed home wailing, “the majority have spoken, so that’s the end of that!”

“Majority rule” never trumps injustice.

Best protest sign seen? The one near the Fox News truck: “Collective Bargaining, Fair and Balanced.”

John R. Obst

Click Here to View the Published Op-Ed