How can they sleep at night?

In the midst of the campaign can we not stand back and see the damage some special interests are causing?

We all know the special interests hold power. In the form of money. Money they give or withhold from politicians who need it to stage campaigns.

The special interests hold power in votes as well. The votes they control or influence can win or lose some elections.

But sometimes the special interests push politicians into decisions that are just plain wrong.

One of these decisions concerns the secret ballot for workers. If a union tries to organize workers, the workers vote on the issue by secret ballot.

Unions, of course, have had problems winning votes from workers. Especially in the private sector. Union membership has fallen below 10 percent with private sector workers.

The unions have come up with a simple solution to their problem: Take away the secret ballot. Force workers to vote by filling out a card in front of others. In front of union organizers. In front of supervisors. In front of other workers.



In other words, in front of people who can punish them if they vote the wrong way.

Unions have pushed politicians to allow this theft of the secret ballot. Democrats have supported it and voted it through the House. The Senate has not yet approved it. Senator Obama says he will be happy to sign this into law if he is elected.

I can understand why the Democrats vote for this measure. They feel they need the money and votes from unions.

But let us stand back and look at what this law will do. The secret ballot is one of our most precious possessions. It protects all of us. From ancient Greece and Roman times onward people have fought to secure the secret ballot. They have it in most countries. In countries ruled by thugs, they usually don’t.

In November few of us would want to fill out a ballot under the gaze of neighbors. Or under the gaze of anyone.

And yet our lawmakers and a would-be president want to snatch this from millions of workers. They are prepared to expose these workers to intimidation. We know they often “sell” their votes on issues. To sell out millions of workers here is tawdry.

They do as much damage to millions when they vote down school voucher programs. And charter school programs.

Yes, the teacher unions oppose vouchers. They worry about competition from private schools. They worry that if they lose students to private schools they will lose money and teaching slots. Yes, these unions control a lot of votes and a lot of money. They can sway elections, local and national.

But let us stand back and look at the damage. In reality, small town schools and small city schools are probably not threatened by vouchers and charters. Most parents are satisfied and many are delighted with their public schools.

Meanwhile, some inner-city schools are despicable. Gang members control many of them. They fill the halls with violence. Good teachers flee. Kids drop out at alarming rates. Fifty percent of them drop out. In Los Angeles one school loses 60 percent before graduation. Think about that.

And student performance is abysmal in the inner-city schools. Despite huge amounts of money spent on them.

Teacher union people and politicians know that vouchers and charter schools help kids from the worst schools escape to better schools. The results are compelling.

And yet they challenge and vote down vouchers and charters. They literally sentence millions of kids to terrible conditions, danger and godawful educations.

I do not know how they can sleep at night.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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