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Each week, the editor’s of LA Progressive pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Tom Hall, who commented on Jaime O'Neill's "American Men: Have We Lost the Ability to Distinguish the Good Guys from the Bad Guys?"

Good Guys

Well, it’s because they’re all Millenials, right? They just don’t have the common sense and sense of decency that we Baby Boomers have, right?

Except that the worst of the worst of today’s “irresponsible” men are all BABY BOOMERS! OUR generation – the generation that gave the Civil Rights Movement its greatest push forward, then turned our backs on Civil Rights to build the anti-Vietnam War Movement. Then turned our backs on that to build families and careers and enjoy the entitled lives which our parents taught us was our natural right.

Except that the worst of the worst of today’s “irresponsible” men are all BABY BOOMERS! OUR generation – the generation that gave the Civil Rights Movement its greatest push forward, then turned our backs on Civil Rights to build the anti-Vietnam War Movement.

Glossing over history does NOT make it go away, or help improve the future. Workers in early industrial America (and elsewhere) did NOT know, without being told, that their lives could be improved by unionization. They had been raised to believe that serfs had a station in life and to accept their lot.

But union thinkers and ORGANIZERS worked long YEARS (not days or the length of a twitter message) to teach new ideas, new ways of looking at society and the rights and responsibilities within societies. It took real effort, hard work, extreme risks, frustration, set backs and failures to achieve what was achieved.

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And having achieved success, the union movement, and individual union leaders let go of the educational efforts – even contradicted their own lessons by enforcing racial and sexual discrimination within their unions.

While the unions slacked off, business never did. Organized corporate campaigns, political and “educational” have run EVERY YEAR, whether unions responded or not. The effort was both to ‘teach’ people that unions were no longer worth anything, and to enact laws protecting employers against union rights.

Unions LET IT HAPPEN. Now workers are paying the price, and have been since the corporate take over of the government with the election of Ronald Reagan.

It isn’t the fault of workers, who have been told since they were young children that they are naturally entitled to color TVs, cell phones, and instant gratification, let alone indoor plumbing, electricity, running CLEAN water – all of which are things that unionization fought for and achieved, before (quite understandably) sitting back and resting on its laurels.

Let’s not cast implied blame on ‘today’s workers,’ anymore than past union organizers cast blame on the uninformed men and women (but mostly men) that they were trying to educate. Let’s work on actually educating people.

Education seems to still work. The Donald’s polls slip further, everytime even his own supporters learn new truths about him. There is a fundametal and constant reason that the corporate right ALWAYS targets schools and education – they KNOW how important education, constantly pursued, in every generation, is.

I’m looking forward to the “Left Coast Forum,” Nov.3-5, to learn some more about the state of the “Movement” – will it be people preaching to the choir, or people exploring ways to bring relevance back to what was once (and could be again) a vibrant energy for progress?