I’m writing this post before the polls close in Wisconsin. I haven’t heard any predictions, or talk of the turnout, or any such thing. So the post-mortem won’t be in this post. There’ll be plenty of those without me….
Love it or not, Scott Walker is the face of the contemporary Republican Party in the United States. Reince Priebus of Wisconsin is Chair of the Republican National Committee. Rep. Paul Ryan is the darling of the House of Representatives and budget issues. Very deep, and in early in Wisconsin politics post 2010, are the Koch Brothers. This is THE place where outside money ran amuck; it’s just a preview of what’s ahead in the next few months.
Wisconsin is my neighbor state. It has a progressive tradition. It also had Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
My grandparents migrated to North Dakota from rural Wisconsin near Dubuque. Wednesday, I’ll be driving to the town of Hazel Green for a family funeral. It will be a long nice drive, lots of time in border area Wisconsin. Very, very nice people down there in the Dubuque area.
Likely we won’t talk politics at the funeral, neither place nor time.
But I do have personal feelings about all of this.
Scott Walker’s signature issue taking office was to do as much damage to public unions as possible. He succeeded.
Had a Republican Governor been elected in the State of Minnesota, my state, the results would have been the same here. Luckily for my own Republican local reps, they had a Democrat Governor to be a check and balance on their colleagues many ideas to slash and burn the public sector, especially teachers and public education, otherwise they’d be running in defense of what they did.
In Michigan, the situation is probably even worse, and Ohio had its flirtation.
Some might say “good”. I take it personally.
I spent most of my work career representing teachers in a union of public employees called MEA, Minnesota Education Association, and now Education Minnesota. The other nine years I taught public school. My parents were career school teachers.
Public Unions made a huge contribution to this country, along with private sector unions, but they, along with the middle class are in the Republican bullseye through the super-rich and the word I’m coming to despise – “business”.
During this scorched earth campaign I had one retired union member from another state, who is married to another retired union member, send me an anti-union – and false – “forward” about a supposedly bankrupt Wisconsin school district due to teacher union greed. And this person believed the tale, without any checking. I can only guess why he, whose success was made by being union, now despises unions.
With union members like these (and there are union members like these), unions don’t need enemies.
The good thing about the last year and a half in Wisconsin is that we’ve seen, up close and pretty personal, what the right wing agenda is, and it isn’t about fairness to the middle class.
The next five months we’ll see Wisconsin-look-a-likes all over the U.S. in the so-called “battleground” states – the places that are believed to be ‘in play’ by the master strategists.
Minnesota has been one of those battleground states, and it’s not pretty.
Maybe the 2012 experience will be bad enough that the geniuses in the U.S. Supreme Court will begin to take another look at what they’ve wrought but opening the floodgates to big money in elections, but I’m not holding my breath.
Maybe sufficient numbers of citizens will think a bit before casting their vote this fall, including actually showing up to vote.
It’ll be a long summer and fall.
Get informed and active.
And Vote in November.
YOU depend on it.