Was It Something I said?
I couldn't help noticing that I was dropped from the IAFF Blog Roll yesterday.
Our union theoretically promotes vigorous free workplace speech as a crucial way to protect union members but when confronted with the opportunity to welcome a dissenting opinion on our beloved IAFF and to put theory into practice, it's apparently "verboten time."
This blog is not the New York Times, in fact, more people probably had open heart surgery yesterday than read anything I wrote. Dropping me demonstrates the lack of principal around defending free speech (even when it smarts a bit.) It makes our union weaker rather than stronger and is evidence of hypocrisy.
Is the IAFF Executive Board in favor of stifling free and healthy communication? If so, our management enemies will have a FIELD DAY, as we, no pun intended, speak from both sides of our mouths on the most important of issues.
Who knew I struck such terror in the heart's of men.
Noam Chomsky said, "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." He is right. Restrict what people are allowed to discuss and you control them completely. Force them to stay on the allowed script.
I'll skip the roll call of dictators but you can be sure that every fascist and totalitarian regime crushes dissent and honest communication as a way of consolidating power. It's Tyranny 101.
I have been a union firefighter for 37 years, the last 15 of those as a retiree. I continue to pay dues and I think I should pay more for the privilege of being in the IAFF. I want a strong and vigorous IAFF. Speaking out does not make me disloyal, quite the opposite.
Once I was an aggressive young affiliate labor leader in a notorious Right-to-Work-State. I said what I thought needed to be said regardless of the consequences. I was never censored, never spiked. I did lose a pay raise or two. (Frankly, a large measure of credit goes to Warren Isman and Glenn Gaines, fire chiefs who believed in robust free debate. I'm sure they didn't always like it but they knew it was essential for a healthy organization.)
How ironic that I survived Right-to-Work only to have my union pull the plug on me or that fire chiefs actually protected my right to speak out.
That says a lot about where we are headed.
None of it is good.
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Don't worry, they'll come for me first.