Politicians and campaigns are masters of "spin" – selectively presenting facts in a way that leads the target audience to believe what the spin doctors want them to believe. Like it or not, spin is unavoidable because everyone has a unique perspective, formed by their own experiences and beliefs.
But there's spin, and then there are lies — outright, premeditated, willful lies that have no basis whatsoever in truth.
That's the campaign strategy now being employed by labor union bosses who are, ironically, fighting against the rights of workers by opposing Amendments 47 and 49.
Amendment 47 (also called "right to work") simply guarantees that an employee cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues in order to get or keep a job. It neither encourages nor discourages union membership, but simply protects the right of every working man and woman to make that choice without coercion from labor union bosses or pressure from management.
Those principles defend freedom for all workers, plain and simple. Amendment 49 ("ethical standards") prohibits state and local governments from intercepting a worker's paycheck to collect dues or contributions for unions, lobbyists or any other special interest. It simply requires all interest groups to ask supporters directly for their contribution, rather than use government payroll systems as their collection agency. Groups from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club rely on voluntary contributions, so why can't labor unions and other special interests.
To hear the outrageous lies of labor union bosses, you'd think these amendments would catapult Colorado back to the days of dirt roads, oil lanterns and outhouses.
An unbelievable commercial paid for by Protect Colorado's Future shows a fireman claiming these amendments would "keep (public workers) from speaking out on public safety" and "silence the voice of firefighters, teachers and nurses."
Strangely, they never identify the language that repeals the First Amendment, but maybe union lawyers have special glasses that reveal the super-secret code when viewed in black light.
Another hyperventilation by the same disreputable outfit warns that these amendments "put Colorado's economy at risk" and suggests that passing them would "let special interests do to Colorado what they did to Wall Street."
The only thing these amendments put "at risk" are the cushy accommodations reserved for labor bosses and their leverage to crack heads of workers who don't join the union.
Then there's the whopper by the "Coloradans for Middle Class Relief" that claims "a few rich owners" – "Big Bad Wolf" was already taken — want to pass these amendments so they can "cut wages and reduce health care for their employees."
What stops those greedy owners from treating their employees like indentured servants today? The good old profit motive, of course. It's tough to sell goods and services without productive, properly compensated employees.
The Denver Post called the union attacks dishonest, noting that Amendment 47 "does not in any way prevent unions from organizing and collecting dues from willing employees." The Post also pointed out that the firefighter in the commercial works in a department where union membership is voluntary.
Why then are unions crying wolf and destroying what remains of their own tattered credibility?` `
Because when workers are allowed to choose for themselves, 92% of private sector workers and 64% of government workers decide against union membership.
As this campaign demonstrates, union leaders don't give a darn about protecting the little guy. They want to force the little guy to pay union dues to enhance their own political power, and they are more than willing to play dirty.
Mark Hillman served as Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.