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Allow Me To Annoy Your Facebook Friends

I’ve just had my umpteenth Facebook friend link to a video of Ronald Reagan delivering a Labor Day speech in which he offers support to striking Polish laborers in the Solidarity union. They like to post the video (found here) with a quote such as this:

“These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland … They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.” — Ronald Reagan, Labor Day address (1980)

The gist of course being that Ronald Reagan would be totally supporting the Scott Walker is Hitler crowd in Wisconsin because he clearly thinks unions are awesome.

Naturally there’s more to the story. There’s always more to the story. One of the things that bothers me most about the Internet is that it isn’t interested in details. People (of all political persuasions, mind you) are always willing to post some delightful out-of-context tidbit that they believe supports their position without giving it a second thought. So here’s a second thought for you to share:

A year after giving that speech Reagan fired over 11,000 striking air traffic controllers for refusing to return to work. Oh, and why did he fire them?

“…Let me make one thing plain. I respect the right of workers in the private sector to strike … But we cannot compare labor-management relations in the private sector with government. Government cannot close down the assembly line. It has to provide without interruption the protective services which are government’s reason for being.” – Ronald Reagan (1981)

Which would also put him in the same camp as FDR.

Feel free to share the details with your friends in Facebookistan in a pleasant, non-confrontational way. Here’s the full speech:

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