Wednesday 6.6.12

I live under a rock. No, not that rock… the other one over there. My rock is under another rock. I remain completely clueless about many things. For example, a lady came in to the shop a while ago to have a date changed on some banner. While I was working on it we small talked about some things. She told me about “Dancing with the Stars” and that Donald Driver had won.

Okay, I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars.” I do hear about it on morning talk radio so I do hear names of whatever celebrity got booted off the show. I understand the concept of the show. What I did not know was who Donald Driver was. She kind of scolded me for not knowing he was one of “OUR” Green Bay Packers. I also don’t watch much, if any football. When I did it was when I lived in Illinois and the Bears were hot stuff. So, I guess it has been 27 or so years. I have to get out from under this rock.

On my way to lunch this afternoon I flipped on the radio. Some guy was talking. I instantly knew that it was Bernie Sanders. I instantly knew that he was the junior Independent-Democratic-Socialist-progressive Senator from Vermont. I knew his voice. I’ve watched this guy on TV and I think saw him in person at Bob Fest. I probably have a picture of him somewhere. To a lot of you, no big deal.

I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. I wonder why I find these people interesting and am not more into football or golf or Nascar. All of those things are fine. They are exciting and an enjoyable escape from having to listen to things like what is on Bernie Sanders’ mind at the moment.

All of this brings me to thoughts on Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election won by Scott Walker. I was disappointed. It felt like a punch to the stomach. I want to hear about voting shenanigans and that there will be some sort of recount… but that won’t happen. I still can’t believe that he remains in office. When I say that, I don’t mean I can’t believe that Tom Barrett lost. I don’t think he was our strongest choice for a candidate. I felt that no matter what, voting Walker out was what we were going for no matter who was running against him. Didn’t happen. Walker made claims that it was not all about him. Yes, it was all about him… just him.

A man came in to see me today just to see my reaction and discuss the election. He asked what kind of lesson this will be for our kids. My thought was that the initial reaction would be something like throwing our hands in the air and giving up. We can’t win. We can’t win against big corporate out of state money. We can’t win when the National Democratic party shows so little support. The President… the one who as a candidate suggested that if workers rights were in jeopardy he would have to find some comfortable shoes so he could walk the protest lines eventually “tweeted” his support for Barrett the day before the election.

I think of all the great speeches ever made in history with eloquent words and phrases… the time and effort put into making a rational heartfelt moving point about an issue… and am disturbed that it is all reduced down to a “tweet.” Yeah, that will look good in the history books. How do you suppose it would have looked if Lincoln would have tweeted the Gettysburg Address from the comfort and safety of home? Not so cool. Besides, it would have been too many characters.

But I thought about something else. Instead of throwing up my hands and giving up I thought about how much time I spent in the cold last year. I thought about how some of the people in this state used the State Constitution to try to make a statement, which they actually did make. A grass roots effort with minimal funding made Wisconsin the focus point of the Nation for a while. We are important. Walker out spent Barrett by a huge margin. 66% (or more) of his money came from out of state interests. Really rich people and corporations donated to his recall campaign. Really rich people and corporations.

Why do they do that?

Because in the end, they will receive all of the cuts and tax breaks that I will never know. They will not pay a fair amount of taxes or pay no tax at all. They will deduct every penny they spent on donations to elections and candidates. It is a win win for the really rich people and corporations. Knocking out the unions in the state, or anywhere else for that matter, reduces the amount of union members which in turn reduces the amount of revenue unions will spend on lobbying or campaign funding. This is exactly what the Republicans wanted to do… eliminate their competition and enemies. It is more than divide and conquer, it is eliminate anyone standing in your way. They got their way.

People stepped up. People worked their asses off trying to make this thing happen. I certainly hope that this energizes the Dems so they are not the lame-little-can’t ever make a decision-knuckle under to pressure from the right-pussies they have been in the past. Eventually, Walker will go away. Perhaps to jail once he is named as the actual John in the John Doe investigation. Being from Illinois originally, I know that Governors can, and often do, go to prison. It takes time.

In the meantime, we can all do something. There will be another (yes, another) election in November. The State Assembly is up for election. With Tuesday’s results, the Senate flipped (or so it looks) and Walker may enjoy eating a little “party of No” pie for a while.

Maybe. By the time they are back in session things could be shifted the other direction.

The thing is, no matter how fucking boring and painful all of this is, you can be involved, make a difference and have a voice. You can have an opinion on other political matters, such as who the next president will be, but these people running in your district and in your own state are the ones who impact you directly – and who you can impact directly. You pick your guy or gal or team, figure out the next play and try to score. The difference is, in the end shit really does happen to you… your female wages remain less than your male wages. Your collective bargaining rights are no longer there. You pay more for health care. You, as a teacher, take an average of a $2000.00 cut in pay – if the school hires you. Yeah, stuff like that.

I guess it is much much easier to watch millionaires like Donald Driver play football or dance. You can feel like you were involved. You actually were not, you just watched it on television. Maybe you tweeted about it.

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