It is mid-May, and as the battle to recall Scott Walker enters its final weeks, the political season feels more like winter – just before the spring thaw. The words of William Shakespeare, from Richard III seem highly appropriate:
“Now is the Winter of our discontent/made glorious Summer by this sun (son) of York.”
In addition, the reference to the Steinbeck novel (The Winter of Our Discontent) about Ethan Allen Hawley abandoning his honor and integrity to recapture social and economic esteem is appropriate on many levels. Perhaps one day Scott Walker will see his own works in his children’s actions, and reach an epiphany of his wrongdoings.
The most relevant literary question of this recall moment would have been posed by Thomas Paine.
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
The question at hand, is – are we the Winter Soldier, or the Sunshine Patriot? Twenty one days from now, we will be celebrating a glorious triumph over the tyranny of Scott Walker – a hard-fought conflict none of us will take lightly, and the first victory in recovering democracy for the people. Or, we will be facing the re-election of Scott Walker – the consequences of which will be an affirmation that democracy in Wisconsin is on its last legs – and we are a hairs breadth away from single party, Mississippi-style rule; in the state Robert M. LaFollette called home.
Meditate on that reality. Share that reality. That should be our motivation to do everything humanly possible for the next twenty days to urge every qualified elector in Wisconsin to vote. If the drive that existed to sign the recall petitions exists on June 5 – we win. If the voters who feel disenfranchised and cheated by Scott Walker cast a ballot on June 5, we win. Do not watch the twitter feed go by, and think someone else will do it.
We have thought that for far too long – and that someone else was the Democratic Party – both of Wisconsin and the National Committee. They have both proven lacking to the task at hand. Unable to coordinate campaign expenditures and resources for statewide and local support; spending the early days of this movement as observers; and running campaigns and messaging that have been cut-and-pasted time and time again. THIS IS OUR TIME.
There are 40% of the voters in Wisconsin that don’t care about Scott Walker’s lies. They don’t care about the John Doe investigation which may yet indict Walker. They don’t care about throwing kids off Badger Care, Women’s Rights, or the fact that Walker is leaving the state with higher debt to revenue ratio than any governor before him. They live in the alternate reality where trickle down economics works, I am the next millionaire (so the government better keep their hands off my money), and the American way is only the strong survive – and that’s capitalism.
Scott Walker has driven a wedge into the middle of the state. That is a fact. And the truth is, for most of us, that is not Our Wisconsin. Say it again – that is not Our Wisconsin. It’s a simple message – one that everyone can identify with who has been affected by this corporatist ideologue that passes for a temporary governor.
We don’t need a party to spread that message – only each other. Look for this message to go out from the grassroots…and pass it along. It can resonate with everyone. Share, share, share, and talk to everyone between now and June 5th.
In my Wisconsin, we support public education for our children’s future…cutting $1.6 billion to public schools is not our Wisconsin.
In our Wisconsin, we come together to solve our problems with the best Wisconsin minds…cutting the UW system, holding closed-door partisan meetings, and adopting laws written by lobbyists and multinational corporations is not our Wisconsin.
In our Wisconsin, we treat workers with respect and dignity…taking away basic rights and slashing workers pay while handing out huge bonuses and tax breaks to corporate elite is not our Wisconsin.
In our Wisconsin, women should get paid the same salary for equal work…repealing laws to enforce that idea doesn’t happen in my Wisconsin.
In our Wisconsin, everyone eligible has the right, under the state Constitution to vote without encumbrance – hidden poll taxes, disenfranchisement of minority populations, and greater regulation of voting is not our Wisconsin.
In our Wisconsin, we practice ethical political discourse and conduct…Scott Walker’s governance is not our Wisconsin.
The list goes on, and on, and on. So does Badger Democracy. For the next twenty days, the focus will be on the lies, misdeeds, unethical, and fraudulent conduct of Scott Walker and his administration. Because in Wisconsin, we believe in ethical, open, and honest government. Scott Walker’s style of governing belongs in Mississippi – he is not my Wisconsin.
(Note – next in Badger Democracy, an inside look at the “Benefits Vote” being conducted this week by Whole Foods Market – and forced upon its “Team Members” in spite of record profit and growth. An example of right-to-work at an employer that considers itself a “corporation with a conscience.” The Walker record exposed will resume immediately after the Whole Foods expose.)