When I teach irony, I tell my students that if they firmly understand irony, they will laugh more. In the dark moments of their lives, like the time I was broken up with on Valentine’s Day over the phone, if they see irony, they will laugh.
So I am laughing at Robert Reich’s post this week that Senator Mitch McConnell asserts that asking donating corporations to reveal their identity is intimidation. I have heard this soundtrack lately: Yesterday, on NPR, they quoted a GOP member who said that no citizen should have to display courage to be politically active, hence donations like Sheldon Adelson’s millions and millions should remain anonymous.
No citizen should need courage?
Revealing identity is intimidation?
How about publishing all the people who signed Governor Walker’s recall in an online searchable database? How about writing articles about which reporters signed the recall, and then asking if such private, civic action was ethical? (The Appleton-Post link has been removed, but you can see blog reaction to it here.) How about publishing the UW workers who signed it, perhaps motivated by the millions of dollars cut from their budget, and then making them feel their job is on the line?
What about asking parents to find out if their children’s teachers signed the recall, and then advocating to ask that their students get pulled from that class? Does that count as intimidation?
So signing a recall should take moral courage and be on the record, but donating a few hundred, a few thousands, a few millions– nah, be anonymous. We can’t ask you to step into the public.
Irony, my dear friends.
Makes me laugh until I cry.