Elephants and Rockers
With the Republicans all but taking the day off (I’m in the convention hall now, where the head of the platform committee is pledging that “the American way of life is worth defending,” to perfunctory applause), I scooted across the Mississippi River this afternoon to Harriett Island, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is sponsoring a “Take Back Labor Day” rock concert, featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, British prole-rocker Billy Bragg, and Steve Earle, among others. At a pre-concert press conference, the entertainers testified to the importance of unions to a functioning democracy (several also said they got their health insurance through the Musicians Union -- and Bragg through Britain’s National Health Service). Morello also noted that he was a member not just of the Musicians Union but the Industrial Workers of the World, better known as the Wobblies -- an alternative, I suppose, to both the AFL-CIO and the breakaway Change To Win federation, which the SEIU helped form.
I wasn’t going to say more, but I must add I’ve never seen a national political convention where the delegates sit silently, as the Republicans are doing this afternoon. Either they’ve been instructed to observe a Gustav-engendered silence, or they have been anesthetized. Or both.
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