Orland Park demonstration to save Illinois teacher pensions yesterday.
The calendar may say that it is still Springtime in Chicago. But the thermometer is going to get near 90 degrees today.
Cooler by the Lake.
Except the NATO meeting is by the Lake. And so are the continuing protests against it. And against the war policies and screwed-up priorities that NATO represents.
It may actually get a lot hotter by the Lake by tomorrow.
Colleagues asked me this week, “What’s the deal with protesting NATO?”
The answer is really quite simple. Although reporters seem to ignore it.
I was listening to a conversation between local reporters for the Sun-Times and Tribune, Neil Steinberg and Eric Zorn. They were on the local public radio station as I was driving home on an empty Kennedy Expressway yesterday.
They were having a conversation about the demonstration that had taken place earlier in the day by nurses at the Daley Plaza in the Loop.
5,000 nurses,wearing Robin Hood hats, protesting the policies that put military spending ahead of people’s needs.
Nurses know about this.
But Steinberg and Zorn didn’t want to talk about the policies. Or talk about NATO. They reviewed the protest as if it were a movie or TV show. They focused on the visuals and the speakers and about how much “energy” the demonstration had or didn’t have.
Zorn, I want to remind you, had his empty head handed to him on a platter this past week by retired teacher Glen Brown in a blog exchange about teacher pensions. Zorn tried to make the case that the constitution was just a piece of paper. He even compared Glen Brown to a dogmatic NRA gun enthusiast arguing over the second amendment. Zorn agreed that although teachers were being robbed, we should get over it and move on.
Here is what they didn’t want to talk about.
NATO is the only military alliance in the world today. It accounts for 70% of the world’s military spending, most of it coming from the United States.
The NATO meeting is taking place in a city where libraries are operating on reduced hours, mental health facilities have been closed down and teachers are preparing for their first strike in decades.
This past week teachers protested outside State Representative Robyn Gabel and State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg’s offices. They protested in Naperville at the office of Representative Darlene Senger on Thursday. Yesterday in Orland Park. Against Eric Zorn’s advice, we are not getting over the theft of our pension. The Constitutional protection given us is not just something on paper that you can crumple up like one of Zorn’s columns in the Tribune.
We’ve made 70,000 phone calls through the web site of the labor coalition, We Are One.
Tomorrow, thousands and thousands of people will march from Butler Field in Grant Park to as close to the NATO meeting as Rahm’s robo-cops will let us.
Labor unions are forming a contingent in a corner of the field.
Teachers will be a part of that contingent.
I will be wearing the “My Pension. I Paid. You Promised.” t-shirt we wore to Springfield.
And hotter by the Lake.