I had to read the CiF essay by Daniel Shultz (A Spirit of Solidarity, from Tunis to Wisconsin) – in the CiF Belief section – a couple of times to make sure he was saying what I thought he was saying.
Though Shultz’s opening passage attempts to create some sort of plausible deniability for subsequent criticism, he truly seems to be making the argument that protests by state unions in the state of Wisconsin – over Governor Walker’s plan to trim union health benefits – is somehow morally comparable to the political upheavals in the Middle East inspired by decades of oppression and tyranny.
Only in the mind of the Guardian Left could such a comparison be taken seriously, yet how else are we to interpret the following:
“Something connects these events. It’s like dominoes: Mohammed Bouazizi’s death prompted an outpouring of rage and sorrow from ordinary Tunisians that led to the ouster of their government. Egyptians, inspired by their example, took to the streets until Hosni Mubarak had no choice but to step down. Libyans are on the verge of doing the same to Muammar Gaddafi, and the discontent continues to spread. The Egyptians recognised some kindred spirit in the protests in Wisconsin, as have residents of 30 other nations, at last count.”
But it even get’s funnier:
What connects Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Capitol Square in Madison, to my mind, is not simply a populist expression of discontent, but the God of the exodus once again opening up a new future where there was none before, leading ordinary people into a new way of life where they are more connected to one another.
To characterize this passage as draw-dropping doesn’t nearly do justice to how comical it truly is.
In a month my wife and I will celebrate Passover, which commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.
I’m now wondering if our old and quite staid (and, evidently, neoconservative) Passover Seder should be updated so that – in addition to paying tribute to the G-d who led my ancestors out of Pharaoh’s slavery in Egypt with an outstretched arm – we also pay tribute to Wisconsin State Union Employees (AFSCME Council 24) who led their dues paying members out of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s bondage of slightly increased contributions to their generous health benefits.
(Next in the CiF Belief section: The Guardian Haggadah: A Passover Seder from the perspective of the Pharaoh).