Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What One Million Says

In a sixty day period, one million people signed a recall petition to get Scott Walker out of office. Here's what our governor had to say yesterday:
“The real bottom line is, the national unions want their hands on the money,” Walker said in an interview with Fox News. “It’s all about the union money, it’s not about the workers’ money — they want those automatic dues, and they’ll spend just about anything to get that back.”
Let's address this point first: When a person can set up an automatic paycheck deduction to go to the United Way or to the Red Cross, but they can't set up an automated deduction to the organization that represents their interests in the workplace, I think we've got a flawed system. It starts to appear like you're singling someone out, Governor Walker.

But let me tell you this: If all Governor Walker had done was remove automated union dues collection, I wouldn't have signed a petition. I probably would have never started this blog. I might have never taken a single trip to Madison last spring. I certainly wouldn't have worked to force recall elections for Sheila Harsdorf or Terry Moulton.

I've watched all year as Governor Walker*:

*by no means is this an exhaustive list

When I watch these things unfold it's not a matter of union rights. We have a governor and a Republican party who is dead-set on governing on behalf of the haves, have-nots be damned. I'm not going to wait around to see what's next. I've heard a lot of people argue that we should wait until his full term is done. They say it's sour grapes.

I see it this way: I watched in 2002 as a corrupt president took us to war on lies. I saw millions of people demonstrating around the world against a war that was deemed inevitable by an administration hellbent on madness. I saw the government bamboozle its people into a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of American troops would die. Several of my friends had to go over and fight a war that was needless and did nothing to protect America or fight terrorism. If I could have recalled George W. Bush in 2002 I most certainly would have.

The same government decided that business could regulate itself better than people like the SEC, the EPA, and members of the judiciary. They shifted government away from performing its duties as watchdogs of our democracy, to the great benefit of the powerful. We ended up with a mortgage crisis that nearly threw us into depression. In the end, banks got a bailout, while a comparatively tiny stimulus plan meant to help average Americans was derided as socialism. If I could have recalled George W. Bush in 2002 I most certainly would have.

People in Wisconsin aren't fools. We're not going to wait around. We've seen this movie before. "Good government" is called "big government" and it's systematically destroyed to favor the powerful. Scott Walker is doing this right now, right under our noses. Say what you want about the Occupy movement, if there was ever a governor looking out for the 1%, it would be Scott Walker.

One million people is not a small, fringe group of fanatics. 25,000 people don't volunteer in the rain and snow because AFSCME wants some union dues automatically deducted from a few paychecks. I didn't start a blog to get brownie points with my old teachers (though if you are reading, THANKS!).

This is about our future as a state, it's about education, it's about environment, and it's about the balance of power in our society. One million people knew this. Scott Walker can buy the right spin this week. History is on our side if we keep working together. Wisconsin will be ours!