Written by Stewart Acuff
One summer, almost four decades ago, I had the privilege of being a day laborer for the Springfield, Mo. Sewer Department. When I say privilege I say it with sincerity. It was a union job with good pay and benefits and safety standards (AFSCME). I worked with a bunch of great people, including a Vietnam vet who spent one whole day telling me about the real horrors of war. He had served on a swift boat – that craft that Karl Rove and his crowd accused Sen. John Kerry of cowardice on. Another friend played on the SW Missouri basketball team, and after work and supper we’d go play basketball with his teammates.
Most days the work was tolerable, but I was the junior man in seniority, and on some days the work was almost intolerably nasty. Those were the days when they tied a rope around my waist in case I was overcome by methane gas, and sent me down a sewer manhole with a shovel and a high pressure fire hose to unclog the sewers. On those days, there was no way to avoid the raw sewage, its nauseating smell, its overcoming sense of filth and the awful feeling of being covered with it.
That is exactly how I feel now with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Karl Rove’s “independent but pro-Romney” groups are pouring another 50-75 million dollars into attack ads against President Obama in key swing states. The ads are blatant lies coded with racism. They are ugly and as nasty as that clogged sewer, and they give me the same feeling of filth. They are beneath the dignity of politics in our democracy, especially a campaign for President.
Do you know why they are doing this?
Because they can.
The Citizens United decision allows corporations and the Financial Elite to spend unlimited dollars to try to buy our government.
So Karl Rove and the Koch boys and their crowd of anti-democratic country club folks are burning dollars on radio and tv smears, lies, and racist imagery.
We intend to fight back and though we won’t match their crap, we will be in the game.
But we have to win on the ground, and that means organizing door to door and phone to phone. Please get a copy of my book Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing to help you be the best organizer you can against Romney and his filthy crowd.
Stewart Acuff is America’s best-known and foremost labor organizer. He is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work, coauthored by Dr. Richard Levins.Tags: acuff, citizens united, stewart acuff