Thursday, December 22, 2005

On the second day, the Race Pimps came

On my drive into Manhattan yesterday evening I heard TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint speak on the radio at a press conference excoriating the MTA, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki. Toussaint despite his strong Trinidadian accent is an eloquent speaker and scored some good rhetorical points.

My impression turned to dismay though when Toussaint decided to drag race into it. While impudent folk often declaim that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel", truly "Race is the last refuge of the demagogue".

Toussaint, probably aware that his position and that of his local was precarious accused "city fathers" of racism saying (paraphrase) that "many of the drivers of buses today used to sit at the back of the bus" channelling of course Rosa Parks. He went on to declare in outrage that the MTA had not made Martin Luther King's birthday a paid holiday. [The reasoning for $9 million a year] Toussaint, who inexplicably continuously called the MTA's pension demand "illegal", declared that the workers and the union had a higher calling than the law (referring to the Taylor Law that made this strike illegal) which was justice. He said:
"Had Rosa Parks answered the call of the law instead of the higher call of justice, many of us who are driving buses today would instead be at the back of the bus."

The NY Times reported that the two of the usual suspects, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Herbert Daughtry accused the Mayor of, respectively, offending people of color and acting like the infamous Bull Connor.

The truth of the matter is it's not about race, it's about sensible economics and all the braying won't change that fact.

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