Op Ed

We Refuse To Be Divided

Farmers Union and Labor Council opposes hate, supports better pay and working conditions.

By - Nov 1st, 2020 10:46 am
Voters wait in line to vote early at the Zeidler Municipal Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Voters wait in line to vote early at the Zeidler Municipal Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Whether we work on tractors or forklifts, we depend on democracy to make our voices heard. As a coalition of farmers and workers, both of our respective organizations honor democracy as a sacred value. We use democratic processes to elect our own leadership and debate policy ideas. Democracy is a vital tool for everyday people to protect themselves from the greedy and powerful, and by using our collective power to change our workplace and our political system, that’s exactly what our organizations do.

But in a time when we need it most, democracy is facing outright disrespect, and in the eyes of many, an existential crisis. Representatives at the state and federal level, all the way to the White House, show open contempt for the simple idea that every person should count. We’ve already seen how much cheating and lying some politicians and donors will do to keep power, whether it’s gerrymandering, voter ID laws, intimidation, misinformation, and so on. They don’t want everyone’s voice to be heard, because they don’t want to be held accountable for putting themselves and their corporate donors first, and failing the rest of us. They use hate, division, resentment, and anger as a wedge to divide us, and inflammatory rhetoric to distract us from the overlapping crises we face together.

But we understand what’s at stake. We know that our right to have a voice is not a partisan stance, but the foundation of our free society. And we also know that these needless fights are drowning out discussion of the need for better pay and working conditions across sectors, issues that need addressing. This election season, we’re joining together—farmers and workers, urban and rural, women and men, across class and color—to call for a fair election that counts everyone—no exceptions.

We refuse to be divided, because we know that when we stand together, the liars and cheaters lose. Even if it takes longer than normal to get results, we’ll make sure everyone who voted in Wisconsin has their vote counted, and then the US will be able to swear in a government elected by the people, for the people. Our democracy has weathered chaos before. By standing together, we’ll get through this, too.

Pam Fendt is president of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and Julie Bomar is executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

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