To the editor:
A word to Michael Cook, and Mike Dyer (letters, the Times, Monday, June 11).
As much as I respect Mike Cook's due diligence and fact checking, in his letters, I must admit, I'm not much of a history buff, nor am I a partisan political junkie.
My letters are written from a bias, yes, but, also from first hand experience, and an independent thought process, which form the opinions I express. I don't know if Mike Cook was ever a union member in the public sector.
Me, I am a retired union shop steward for the national dreaded public sector union AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal employees).
And Mike, almost every day, since Gov. Walker's election, and the Wisconsin Democrats of the Wisconsin Senate, leaving the state to avoid the collective bargaining issue. I have received mail requesting my donation to help the WI union locals, and defray the costs of the Democratic Legislature that ran from their jobs; not to displease the unions. Also, state and local unions bused in crowds of demonstrators.
To accomplish this feat the national parent Union, AFSCME, spent multi-millions of dollars, and I would venture a guess that, from Day 1 to the farce of the recall election, offset all the dollars the Koch brothers and other super PACs spent and then some. Every AFSCME member was hit up for a donation, without any say in how their dollars were going to be used. And that, Michael, is a first-hand behind the scenes look at the union man, behind the curtain.
It's my guess that our president flew over Wisconsin and didn't stop to support the union effort to avoid the inevitable question why — why was it that federal union members did not have collective bargaining?
I called the recall a farce, because there was no underhanded criminal malfeasance, just an elected official doing as he promised during his campaign. I guess a politician doing what he said, startled a few folks.
From where I sit, it's the members of the U.S. Senate that should be recalled for sitting on their hands, this past three years, for the crime of not passing a budget, as prescribed by the law.
Now I believe, by the tone of the letter that Mike Dyer is a young man perhaps under 50 years of age. Any older; and he might have been aware of a whole different culture in big cities like New York, Washington, and Chicago, where gay bashing carried a literal meaning. I knew a few that were made physically sick by the very thought of it, and gay-marriage was an inconceivable concept.
In D.C., homosexually was treated with violence to the point where many homosexuals carried firearms. It was a violent world, and the community needed protection. For eight years, I was one of those protectors; and because I was a straight guy that didn't put them down, I was accepted into their community. Like our modern bouncers, I was a guardian of a club that catered to the community, even after hours.
I never thought I'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized. But Stuart Diamond was expressing the things he'd been taught in his Biblical studies; I know that Stu has lived what he believes, and I'd bet you wouldn't have the courage to go and share your beliefs in the places Stu has shared his.
Well Mikes, and anyone else, that's my opinion from my experience. And it's not taken from hundreds of years ago; I lived it.
Langsford Street, Gloucester