Rage against the Teacher

June 23, 2011

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court cleared the way for Scott Walker’s anti-union law to go into effect. At the same time, legislation against unions – namely teachers and firefighters – is spreading out among many states. As this trend continues to grow exponentially, one image from those heady days of the Wisconsin legislative standoff that still sticks in my head is a pic of Tom Morello (guitarist of the once and future band Rage against the Machine) among the protesters, in support of the teachers and the unions. His presence and stance were memorable not so much for his celebrity (he had no effect on the outcome anyway) but because he is a key cog in a band that spouted these lyrics in “Know Your Enemy”:

Yes I know my enemies
They’re the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite

I wonder, how many awesome dudes from the early 90s poked their heads out of a pulsating mosh pit long enough to hear those lyrics and think that maybe, just maybe, teachers are getting paid too much? Maybe they don’t deserve those “Cadillac benefits” since they’re part of the great lame-ass conformist factory?

As the great Kurt Vonnegut said, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”

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