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  • “Patriotic Germans Are Proud to Show How They Vote”

    Posted by David Foster on November 4th, 2008 (All posts by )

    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.

     

    6 Responses to ““Patriotic Germans Are Proud to Show How They Vote””

    1. C. Smith Says:

      I don’t have any means of getting you a copy, but I was amused to read the history of my wife’s village of Leimen, which is a stone’s throw South of Heidelberg.
      The town had a long history of Jewish presence.
      After Hilter came to power, the history noted that one fellow had won the election for mayor, twice ISTR, but the Nazis would not suffer him to take office. (Not sure if he was in fact Jewish, but perhaps).
      The chronology ended nicely, when after the war, he won again, and became mayor.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leimen_%28Baden%29
      http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/tracking_jewish_history.htm

    2. Helen Says:

      Those Nazis were such amateurs. This sort of thing would never have happened in the Soviet Union. The wrong person never won. Actually, they were not fake elections in that there were campaigns and the polls were monitored. People would go round flats and make sure that everyone turned out and voted as it was compulsory. Results were triumphantly declared in the press. It’s just that there was only one candidate.

    3. Tatyana Says:

      Helen: one candidate “from the unbreakable block of Communists and non-partisan”.
      One of two times a year a regular person had a chance to purchase oranges – at the electoral station. Second was the New Year.

    4. John Burgess Says:

      How about the 8% of voters in DC who voted for McCain? I’m sure they weren’t all friends of his mother.

    5. Twba Says:

      How will companies deal with new unionization? I remember an outpost of the Kroger empire — Kroger, King Soopers, Ralphs, Fry’s, etc. — had a bulletin board in the front of the store. It listed all the store’s managers. Half of the employees must have been department managers. I guess only a couple cashiers and baggers were paying union dues. Voting for a union is a good way to ditch the tee and jeans for shirt, tie and khakis.

    6. Helen Says:

      I forgot the block, Tatyana. Thanks. Not necessarily oranges, by the way. In fact, in Stalin’s day not oranges at all, as my parents told me, but such necessities as flour or sausage.