Friday, November 26, 2010

Who’s Wagner?

Funny how you never take the time to look some stuff up.

Robert F. Wagner

”The National Labor Relations Act, perhaps Wagner's greatest achievement, was a seminal event in the history of organized labor in the United States. It created the National Labor Relations Board, which mediated disputes between unions and corporations, and greatly expanded the rights of workers by banning many "unfair labor practices" and guaranteeing all workers the right to form a union. ”

At a time of massive unemployment and declining wages, you wonder where the Senator Wagners of our time are.

”The Wagner-Hatfield amendment to the Communications Act of 1934, aimed at turning over twenty-five percent of all radio channels to non-profit radio broadcasters, did not pass.”

Did you ever wonder why the Republican Party -- the Party of Big Business -- wants to defund National Public Radio? The truth is, they don’t. (Okay, the crazies do. The rational don’t.) It’s just a political ploy.

”Wagner and Edward P. Costigan sponsored a federal anti-Lynching law. In 1935 attempts were made to persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support the Costigan-Wagner Bill. However, Roosevelt refused to support the bill, not wanting to alienate Southern Democrats in Congress and lose their support for New Deal programs. There were 18 lynchings of blacks in the South in 1935, but after the threat of federal legislation the number fell to eight in 1936, and to two in 1939.”

I think I’ve mentioned the split between Northern “liberals” and Southern “conservatives” before. I think I’ve also mentioned that FDR wasn’t perfect.

President Obama isn’t either. And just because he hasn’t been as forceful on some issues as I wish, doesn’t mean I won’t support him and vote for him again. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop pushing him either. Ditto for the Democratic Party.

We -- as a country -- are making history, even as you read this. Just as we talk about the Great Depression still, in 50 years our children will be talking about the Great Recession. Hopefully, they won’t be talking about how it started World War III.

Don Brown
November 26, 2010

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