I had an interesting argument with a friend this morning at church about the protests going on further out on the rim in madison. she's a former union member who's now a member of management and thinks the protestors are overreaching. I disagree. we went back and forth about this for at least 10 minutes while preparing for a church breakfast for the kids and what made the argument interesting is the realization I had as it was winding down that we had arguing past one another at an opponent who was elsewhere.
essentially, her argument was that unions make unreasonable demands that hinder efficient operation of a business or an institution. she gave a couple examples from her own workplace. my argument was that those were examples of a poor negotiating team on her side and that it isn't a sufficient reason to eliminate collective bargaining. it was awhile before I realized that neither of us had made the argument the other was responding to: I hadn't said that unions were perfect and she hadn't said bargaining should be eliminated. this is a prime example of the effect that media have on determining the terms of debate between people: what we were arguing against was not what each of us said but what each of us had heard said.