Is there any issue today that can’t be twisted into a front in the culture wars? Apparently not, judging from a head-spinning op-ed from Marco Rubio in USA Today.
In the editorial, Rubio warns Amazon that it shouldn’t expect Republican support in its attempts to stop a union drive by its warehouse workers in Alabama.
For decades, companies like Amazon have been allies of the left in the culture war, but when their bottom line is threatened they turn to conservatives to save them. Republicans have rightly understood the dangers posed by the unchecked influence of labor unions. Adversarial relations between labor and management are wrong. They are wrong for both workers and our nation’s economic competitiveness.
But the days of conservatives being taken for granted by the business community are over.
Read that quote carefully, lest you think Rubio is actually expressing support for unionization. Rubio wants to make it crystal clear that, as a Republican, he would ordinarily be completely on board with crushing attempts by workers to organize.
But – Rubio reminds Amazon – the modern GOP has more important priorities than simply keeping worker pay so low that they’re forced to rely on food stamps. To be clear, Rubio has consistently voted against raising the federal minimum wage, including this past week when he voted against raising it to $15. The current minimum wage in Alabama is $7.25).
He means, of course, the Culture Wars…
For the past several years, Amazon has waged a war against working-class values. The Silicon Valley titan uses anticompetitive strategies to crush small businesses, bans conservative books and blocks traditional charities from participating in its AmazonSmile program. Not surprisingly, it has also bowed to China’s censorship demands.
The “traditional charities” that Amazon banned from Smile, in case you were wondering, are those designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. This includes groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Pecenters, members of the latter of which were involved in the Capitol insurrection. The “conservative book” that Rubio links to in his op-ed is an anti-scientific screed that claims all transgender people are mentally ill. Amazon recently sent a letter to Rubio and other Republican senators explaining that the book fell foul of its ban on books that frame transgender and other sexual identities as mental illnesses.
Again, Rubio wants to be very clear: It is Amazon’s lack of support for these hate groups and that book (but surely not Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post) that warrants conservatives withholding their traditional union-busting support to one of America’s most powerful corporations…
Here’s my standard: When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy — I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today.
Understood. And on that basis, we’re sure the Amazon workers in Bessemer are delighted to have Rubio so firmly not not on their side.
Image by Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)