It's hard not to feel sorry for the union men. The media say they are underpaid and overworked. It's something we can all relate to. They are upset when management wants them to work longer hours or take a cut in pay. Their job is dangerous and painful, defending the very ground they walk on. And, after all, it's cold outside and all they have are their fur coats, fans and groupies to keep them warm.
If you want to find the modern day version of Solidarity, don't go to Wisconsin. Instead, head to your nearest football stadium. There you'll discover the former leading lights of the NFL Players Association (they decertified in an 11th hour trick to blame management for a lockout).
OK, maybe not there. They might be working out in some remote and sunny location. Or maybe sunning on a beach or out clubbing. (Remember, it was then-Titans corner back Adam "Pacman" Jones who set off a battle in a strip club after "making it rain" cash on strippers.) But they are kept down by The Man. It's hard. That's why three of the most famous and highest paid athletes in history - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees - are taking the NFL to court.
Who could blame them? Vikings running back supreme Adrian Peterson said the players' place in the game is "modern-day slavery." Yes, perhaps that quote is the best argument yet for more medical care for the players.
That quote deserves to be in the Super Bowl of Idiocy, along with a union of millionaires. But Peterson kept on, pretending to be an everyman. In his mind "there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way." I can't name one person I know in a "regular job" who is in the third year of a six-year $40.5 million deal. Admittedly, we don't have to dodge a raging Ray Lewis on the way to work, but we also don't earn near to CEO-level pay either. Peterson averages $6.75 million a year and the median CEO pay is $7.7 million.
Most of America's 13.7 million unemployed would fight hard to a job that paid them more than 800 times the median household income. Heck, most of those 13.7 million would fight hard for a job that paid them one time the median household income - even without the groupies.
It's easy to be offended by that kind of union idiocy. That's unions for you. It doesn't matter who's singing "Which Side Are You On," the NFLPA's lead spokesman George Atallah or AFL-CIO union boss Richard Trumka. The point is American unions are out of touch with actual Americans.
In Wisconsin, we watched a couple weeks of union teachers giving the finger to their students and protesting instead. While many of them might actually be good teachers, the lesson they taught their students is that the only thing that matters is union goodies, not students. The intimidation, the death threats, the posters calling Gov. Scott Walker "Hitler" or "Mubarak" are all standard operating procedure for unions - a playbook that should have been buried with crooked Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa.
It wasn't. Instead, that's called "positive energy" by The New York Times.
I know it's not as bad as the death threats. But in Greendale, Wisconsin, police are investigating spray-painting vandalism of an M&I bank branch. According to interim Police Chief Bob Malasuk, "words such as 'Traitor' and 'Unions are Forever,' as well as profanity directed at [Gov.] Walker were spray-painted on the wall."
This is part of the union assault on the bank. There's only one slight problem with the unions protesting M&I for supporting Gov. Walker. It didn't. Here's the M&I response: 'M&I has not contributed to any candidate and did not contribute to Governor Walker or Mayor Barrett in the last gubernatorial election.'
That's not why the union loudmouths are upset. They are upset that some bank executives actually supported their opponent. They want to make all the bank workers pay because a couple bosses vote for the GOP and donated to the Walker campaign. So worker friendly. The sheer gall that someone might be on the other side of an issue with these anti-democratic, anti-free speech morons. It's a wonder everyone didn't do that.
And, this is an actual complaint, "they also helped the governor avoid the press - and his own constituents - by letting him use their bank's underground tunnel." What next? Will they vandalize a restaurant that lets Walker use the men's room?
This is the new left. Emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet and backed by a lot of zombie-like supporters, they are trying to terrorize their opponents and wreck anyone who challenges them - the Kochs, M&I or you and me.
The new face of unions in America is the same old ugly face. Except now it's funded by dues from public employee unions flush with tax dollars. Look for the union label - every time you pay your taxes.
Dan Gainor has seen his shadow and is hunkering down to shiver and watch six more weeks of media about global warming. Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.