I’ve read that in Nazi Germany, sporadic “elections” were held, featuring the above slogan prominently displayed on a banner.
I’m not absolutely sure that this is correct–with the exception of this Wikipedia article, I can’t find definitive evidence that any elections, even fake ones, were held in Nazi Germany. (Although fake elections were certainly held in the Soviet Union.)
But as a thought experiment–imagine that when you go to vote today, there was a big sign with the words “Patriotic Americans are proud to show how they vote”…and that 95% of the people were voting out in the open, at a long table where everyone could see which candidates they had chosen. Wouldn’t you feel a bit intimidated? Especially if you lived in a community, or worked in a professional environment, where your views were distinctly in the minority? I certainly think that many people–perhaps most–would feel at least somewhat intimidated in such circumstances. Even if there were no apparatus of State repression in place. Even if there were a few voting booths provided for those who absolutely insisted on voting in private–with the knowledge, of course, that their identities could be easily observed.
This is, in essence, the evironment that the Democratic leadership wants to create for workers.
The misleadingly-named Employee Free Choice Act, of which Senator Obama is a co-sponsor, would replace secret-ballot elections for decisions on unionization with a “card check” procedure in which the choices of individuals would generally be known to their co-workers, thereby opening the door to social pressure and, in some cases, outright intimidation. Even George McGovern, a liberal and a strong supporter of unions, has expressed his opposition to this bill.
I’m not opposed to unions (in the private sector…..public employee unions are a whole different issue), but the EFCA would greatly swing the balance of power, resulting in the expansion of the rigid work rules–which did a lot to harm the auto industry–and hampering the competitiveness of American business, especially manufacturing, with a serious impact on jobs and standards of living. But the productivity issue, as important as it is, pales by comparison with the civil-liberties issues at stake here.
The fact that a person is a “worker”–whether a semiskilled assembly line worker, a highly skilled welder, or a software developer with a Computer Science degree–does not mean that he ceases to be an individual. The EFCA’s attack on the secret ballot for workers is dangerous, and demonstrates, once again, the degree to which the Democratic leadership is willing to betray important American values in order to gain political advantage.