As I sit to write this missive, it is the first day of the Jewish festival of lights. Chanukah will bring smiles to many Jewish children. At the shopping malls and department stores children are sitting on Santa’s lap and giving him the list of Christmas gifts they desire. All of us have a desire to have this nation and the world’s economy moving again. Many of us know of family, friends, and former colleagues who are unemployed. Our nation’s citizenry is suffering. Our neighbors clamor for economic and social justice. Our debate is over what type of solutions are needed.
Our desire for justice extends to international relations. Bloody wars are endangering our sense of safety and damaging our economic recovery. Families are dealing with the loss of loved ones on foreign soil. Other families are contemplating the emotional and physical needs of the disabled solider. We see a new decade with an inspirational desire for peace and prosperity for this nation and our world that is in the darkness of hate and intolerance.
Our best defense against the dark forces of international terrorism is a United States that has work for its’ citizens and a campaign for economic justice. The best hope for achieving economic justice is a revival of the labor union movement in this country. Our elected officials should demand enforcement of the New Deal legislation that encouraged unions in the workplace. This is my desire for Santa this Christmas.
On November 12, 2010 the New York Times reported the death of Clyde Summers, a lawyer who helped formulate the 1959 federal law that guaranteed democratic rights for union members. Many union officials, especially corrupt union bosses, were not fond of the legislation or of the genius of men such as Mr. Summers who understood that democracy cannot be limited to Election Day. Democracy must be expressed every day in the workplace. All Americans need to express their desires for economic and social equity and fairness through democratic means with their leaders of collective bargaining. It may be appropriate for all of us to understand labor unions are a necessary complement to a democracy and just economic growth.
It may now be time for our corporations and financial institutions to undergo an examination considering all the resources taxpayers have bestowed on them. It is now time for the workers of these organizations to have a voice in the decision-making that has an effect on all of us. May all of us this holiday season commit ourselves to holding our elected offi- cials to the task of having unions reemerge as a force to challenge big government, big business, and the incestuous relationship that has turned greed into the engine of growth instead of economic justice. America needs to build again.
America needs to restore the highways, subway systems, sewer plants, and schools built for previous generations that now cry out for repair. America needs jobs and living wages. Santa may bring some of us joy for one day this year. We all need to benefit from the economic system and growth, not just a select few. This can be the promise of this December!