George Weigel's weekly - and weakly - column is posted at InsideCatholic today. His topic: Unions? My topic: What planet is Weigel on?
He writes: "The right of workers to organize to advance their interests is not in question." Well, actually, George, that is precisely what is at issue in Wisconsin and Ohio and a host of other states where the Tea Party has sunk its teeth into the GOP. The new laws in those states strippes unions of their right to collectively bargain. That is why workers organize themselves in the first place. They do not organize to throw a party. They organize to protect their rights and promote their interests, and they achieve that through collective bargaining.
Weigel mocks public school teachers for their "handsome salaries" and "generous benefits." But, teachers do not get paid much and I wonder if Weigel could survive a day in an inner-city classroom. But, undeterred by reality, Weigel presses on, comparing America's public employees to the down-trodden of whom Pope Leo XIII and Pope John Paul II wrote in their encyclicals on labor. What to say: The point of defending the down-trodden was to alleviate the miserableness of their conditions and obtain for them "handsome salaries" and "generous benefits."
Weigel goes on to argue that unions must do their part in helping states fix their fiscal mess. But, as well all know and Weigel refuses to concede, Wisconsin did not have a fiscal mess until Gov. Walker passed huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. It was then, and only then, that he launched his attack on unions to balance his newly unbalance budget.
Weigel has long been an indiscriminate apologist. For example, he was among those who chastised the press for its questions regarding Father Maciel of the Legionaries of Christ. His extensive writings about Pope John Paul II would leave one with the impression that no one at the Vatican had any idea what was going on in the clergy sex abuse scandal. Now, he has come to the aid of Gov. Walker and the union-busting GOP governors. Surprise, surprise.
Weigel's column is distributed to many diocesan newspapers. If this particular article appears in your local paper, please call the publisher. Call the bishop. Say something to your pastor. Weigel is an apologist for the GOP these days and little else. His writings contribute nothing to public understanding of complex issues.