August 25, 2011

The (hot) dogged pursuit of justice

West Virginians are sometimes said to be a proud people. There may be something to that, but we're not too proud to resort to a cheap stunt to make a point. In fact, we've done a lot of that this summer.

Back in June, on the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, we held a Bake Sale for Medicare and Medicaid with a bit of street theater. The idea was to highlight the injustice (and absurdity) of cutting Medicare and Medicaid to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy.

As previously noted here, on August 14, the WV AFLCIO and allies held a series of hot dog sales around the state to celebrate the 76th birthday of Social Security. Donations of five cents per dog were requested (the 1935 price)in order "to reduce the debt of our nation while protecting the rich and tax dodging corporations."

On Thursday, the Parkersburg Area Labor Council, the WV AFLCIO, West Virginians United for Social and Economic Justice and the American Friends Service Committee rallied once more to defend programs for working people and to make the point that the only thing dumber than holding hot dog sales to save Social Security is cutting it to protect tax breaks for millionaires.

House Speaker John Boehner was invited, although he did not attend for some reason and we had to make do with a life size cardboard cut-out. I will make no comment on whether this was better than the real thing.

There was also a fat cat skit, which in all modesty El Cabrero must claim as his literary masterpiece.

A check with the proceeds of the hot dog sale was prepared to be presented to the US government to show that the working people of West Virginia are doing their bit to save the country. It was for $1317.00 and represented the sale of 26,340 dogs to pay down the national debt.

We then dutifully marched to the US Bureau for the Public Debt to make our contribution. Since rich folks and major corporations aren't, somebody has to, right?

But seriously, folks, as AFLCIO secretary-treasurer Larry Matheney told attenders, "This tongue in cheek thing got somebody's attention. We need to keep the ball rolling. We need to get in the streets to make our voices heard."

We just might need to think of a different stunt next time.



Margherite said...

Congratulations on an excellent result! Future fundraisers/street theater -- perhaps auctioning handmade Christmas stockings filled with lumps of coal from the Upper Big Branch mine or subsidizing the delivery of large sacks of Purina Rat Chow to various members of Congress would be newsworthy.

El Cabrero said...

Good suggestions--we definitely need a new stunt. Thanks