AFL-CIO chief's 9/11 message: Let's recapture the spirit of unity that these thuggish wingnuts have destroyed

Now that I think of it, that headline could double as Obama’s campaign slogan next year.

Anyway, on this darkest of anniversaries it’s only natural for one’s thoughts to turn to America’s mortal enemy, a group that’s caused so much sorrow and suffering in pursuit of its fanatic agenda. By which I mean, of course, the “extremist small government posse.”

After all, what is 9/11 about if not income redistribution?

Just 10 years after 9/11, despite our vows, the public servants, construction workers and others who lost their lives or still suffer with the cancerous remnants of the Twin Towers haven’t just been forgotten. They’ve been vilified. The extremist small government posse has turned them into public enemy No. 1, as though teachers and firefighters, EMTs and nurses and union construction workers ruined America’s economy…

Wealthy CEOs, anti-government extremist front groups and frothing talk show hosts—from the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks to the Koch brothers, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the American Legislative Exchange Council—also pushed open the door to hate…

We’ve seen the costs of hatred in ill-thought wars, in shameful attacks on immigrants and our LGBT neighbors. We saw it in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. We saw it in the racism that has found overt and covert expression since Barack Obama began his run for office—from outright declarations of people who said out loud they would never vote for a black man to the ridiculously persistent obsession with our president’s birth certificate. Regardless of his policies or priorities, President Obama is shadowed by the drumbeat of suspicion based on his “other”-ness. And those suspicions are fed and watered constantly by forces that were threatened by his message of “hope and change.”…

[Compassion is] what sent 347 firefighters to their death at the Twin Towers 10 years ago. It’s also what sent firefighters to stand with teachers in Wisconsin even though Gov. Scott Walker had exempted them from his attack on public employees. It’s what moves employed people now to demand good jobs for the 26 million Americans who are looking for work. It’s what gives us the courage to take on a crumbling economy and the politicians preaching austerity and ignoring our jobs crisis—to take them on and say, “We are America. We are better than this. And we are one.”

I tweeted this morning that it’s hard to capture the essence of 9/11 in writing, but comparing the motives of firefighters who braved the Towers to protesters trying to squeeze Wisconsin taxpayers for an extra buck really nails it, I think. Then again, Trumka’s always been a solid wordsmith. Any union hack can cackle at the thought of a guy getting shot for crossing the picket line, but it takes a poet to come up with something as vivid as, “[I]f you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.” We’re a lucky nation to have a rhetorical genius not only in the White House but at the head of organized labor too.

Maybe once the anniversary has passed and he’s done grieving over the constant terrorist threat America faces from fiscal conservatives, someone can pull him aside and explain to him who shot Gabby Giffords and why. Meanwhile, via the Daily Caller, and in the spirit of healing, I offer this video tribute to our First Amendment freedoms featuring a member of the Longshoremen’s union — yes, that one — embracing unity Trumka/Hoffa style. Strong content warning. And when I say strong, I mean strong.