Politics

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This isn’t “old time ATC”—this is as relevant as ERAM and Next-Gen and it applies to today’s controllers. The genesis for this post arises from my daughter (who, at one time, was interested in pursuing a career as a controller) who has her kids enrolled in a Celtic dance program. As it happens, the instructor is a student in a local university with an ATC prep program. The last time we were up there, I met her and naturally told her about my site. It seems she visited and has passed it around to her future ATCer classmates.

That got me to thinking about a blog I frequent calledGet The Flickwritten by a retired controller from ZTL. I've been following it for some time and it’s a regular daily read for me. Don (the author) was blogging heavily on ATC matters during the awful “white book” years of imposed work rules handed down by an oppressive, anti-labor administration, but with events of the 2008 elections having rolled back the more draconian measures, has turned to less regular ATC coverage. However, recently he has been beating the drum to his former co-workers who have republican leanings to rethink their politics from past and for future elections.

I want to join Don in his campaign for a couple of reasons—A) if some new recruits are perusing this site perhaps they can be persuaded where their best interests lie in government, and 2) having been there myself I can attest to exactly what to expect if republicans get back behind the wheel. If you’re reading this site for amusement, you may want to skip the rest of this post if the politics offend you. If you’re here as a current or future controller, please follow along.

I have long maintained that it is incomprehensible that a minority of any kind, a woman, or a wage earner could belong to the republican party. I can understand someone being a social conservative or even a fiscal conservative, as there is a wide continuum of belief sets that don’t pigeon-hole well in one or the other party. However, the reality of life in the United States is that government is run by either Democrats or republicans (or a combination, given the three branches of government). You can hold beliefs as divergant as card carrying communists to raging libertarians, but neither of those philosophies have effective representation in the governing process, nor do any of the philosophical positions in between save those most closely fitting the published platforms of the Democrats or the republicans.

But more importantly, if you have any sort of special issue which affects you directly (such as your earning power, your sexual orientation, or your race) you have but two parties from which to choose to promote your self interest. The question you have to ask yourself is who best furthers your personal well being? If you are a wage earner, does an anti-union platform promote your best interests? If you are gay, does a violently homophobic position serve you well? If you are black or brown, does anti-immigrant rhetoric help you in your pursuit of happiness? In every case, if you are interested in making your life better, you must stack up your interests against the two platforms and vote for what serves you best.

It’s fine and noble to be concerned about deficits, morality, and taxes. But unless you’re an educated economist, you are not in the best position to be making judgements about deficits that don’t have a direct effect on your weekly pay check. While philosophically, we all would like to live in a moral society, who do you want to pick the morality you embrace? Abortion and capital punishment don’t have an effect on your well being except insofar as you don’t commit crimes or get raped. Everyone in this country paid fewer taxes in this last year than ever before in the lifetime of almost any visitor to this site. Do you know anyone in the top 2% of income? Why would you want to carry their water when you have all you can do to manage your own life?

The fact of the matter is the Democratic Party is on the right side of most of the issues that have a direct impact on your life. The republican party is on the wrong side of most of those issues. If your interest in a career in ATC includes regular pay raises (we should compensate for accrued experience, education, and achievement, shouldn’t we?), secure employment (do you support reductions in force in an essential government service?), and an adequate retirement (how are those FERS retirees doing now?) then there is no viable alternative to the Democratic Party.

Let’s face it, gun control (or lack of it) has absolutely no bearing on your ability to support you and your family. Yes, it’s a fine philosophical discussion item, but more or less of it is not going to affect your pay check. Similarly, abortion has no economic effect on you. Why would you vote for someone who is vocal about cutting government wages and employment just because they are against gun shows. One affects you, the other doesn’t.

If you want a cause to work for that has a direct impact on you, then you should be doing everything you can to get out the vote in November, and get it out for the candidates who will save your job, not make it harder. By the way, if you work for the government (since about 1984) your retirement is based on Social Security. Ask recent retireees how that’s looking for them with some of the anti SS rhetoric being heard from the right wing. Would you actually consider voting for a candidate who vows to privatize or eliminate Social Security because they hold the same position on tax cuts for the rich that you do?

I always told my kids, “life is full of choices.” If you truly want to sacrifice your living and your family’s security and well being over budget deficits (particularly if you don’t well comprehend macro economics) then the republican party is for you. If you’re a working wage earner—and if you are a controller, that’s you—then the only choice is to vote Democratic. Please help save you and your family.




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Last updated: 15 September 2012