The award for vilest politicization of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 goes to the AFL-CIO. The organization has chosen to hijack the moment and turn it into a plea for anti-austerity union activism. Consider this message from AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka posted on its website.
His big metaphor is doors. On 9/11, first responders ran through “doors to danger and became America’s everyday heroes.” True enough.
Then: “Doors opened within us to each other. We came together. We flew the flag. We comforted one another. In our grief, we found the best in ourselves.”
But, wouldn’t you just know it: “other doors opened, too—doors to hate, suspicion of ‘others’ and self-centered greed. Our fear was twisted into something much more dangerous.” Can you guess who opened those doors? “Wealthy CEOs, anti-government extremist front groups and frothing talk show hosts—from the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks to the Koch brothers, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the American Legislative Exchange Council—also pushed open the door to hate.”
Trumka left out the doors of tragedy exploitation. The ones that take him from 9/11 heroism to the Koch brothers, Rush Limbaugh, and Karl Rove in the span of a few paragraphs. Here’s the sickening finale.
I remember that other door that opened on 9/11—the door to our better selves, to our understanding that we are one and our values require us to care for one another.
That’s what sent 347 firefighters to their death at the Twin Towers 10 years ago. It’s also what sent firefighters to stand with teachers in Wisconsin even though Gov. Scott Walker had exempted them from his attack on public employees. It’s what moves employed people now to demand good jobs for the 26 million Americans who are looking for work. It’s what gives us the courage to take on a crumbling economy and the politicians preaching austerity and ignoring our jobs crisis—to take them on and say, “We are America. We are better than this. And we are one.”
To respond substantively would be to join in the political exploitation of 9/11. Luckily, the above is self-shaming and self-discrediting, and requires no further comment.