A Defining Moment
Any member who has been around for awhile knows that Harold Schaitberger made his name as “Mr. Political.”
Originally, Â it was exterior politics and he was heavily involved on the Hill in Washington, D.C.
His mantra for political action was “Get in early or make a difference.”
Schaitberger’s legacy, corruption aside, is a failed one.
His great goal, trumpeted coast-to-coast and ad infinitum, was national collective bargaining for fire firefighters.
Along the way, Schaitberger became distracted by his internal politics and bored with the fight on the Hill.
At one point, at a critical moment, the Senate Majority Leader tried to reach Schaitberger on the phoneÂ from the Senate floor.
Where was Schaitberger?
Flying first class to some silly meeting somewhere.
The Majority Leader was furious and you should be, too.
More recently, he has been obsessed with US Presidential races since they raised his faltering stature, if only by association.
That addiction to presidential races came around to bite him in the ass in 2008 when the candidate turned out to be a black man.
Unfortunately, Schaitberger was an “anybody but Barack” man and the IAFF suffered as a result.
We neither got in early nor made a difference and Obama turned out to be a transformational leader.
The IAFF is truly lucky that Obama is a caring man of principal who looks out for working families.
Everyone knows by now that Schaitberger was at the “endorsement altar” with Hillary Clinton when, once again, his courage failed him and he fled the church.
He has sat on his hands since then, first out of fear that if he acted as a leader his own re-coronation might be in jeopardy and then in deference to the neanderthal leadership of the IAFF.
Then came Donald Trump.
Trump is a racist, bigoted liar who has made a career out of screwing over working Americans, including small business owners.
The facts are undisputed.
At some point it became crystal clear that Trump was a hater and that his hate was often directed at women and people of color.
That should have presented an urgent problem for Schaitberger and the IAFF board as he and they love to preach a message of “solidarity.”
Their appalling non-response to Trump’s rhetoric has been a classic case of failing to walk the walk–all empty words and no action.
By attacking women, latinos, people with disabilities and others, Trump is attacking brother and sister IAFF members and our families.
Meanwhile, by his silence, Schaitberger has proven that he is, at the core, a coward unable to defend the dignity of his membership.
Schaitberger loves to play the tough guy.
Why not now?
I’ll tell you why.
Because it would take guts, courage and principle, not of which he has.
Schaitberger’s silence is nothing more than tacit agreement with Trump’s message of disrespect and hate.
The IAFF deserves better, much better.