06 June 2012

"You'll Deserve Every Blow You Get"

What a load of bull.

First, Governor Scott Walker claiming during his victory speech last night that "voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions."

Second, his Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch claiming, "This is what democracy looks like."

It would have been more accurate to say, "This is what democracy costs.  $45 million spent by Republicans, more than 60% of which was from outside Wisconsin, with a nod of thanks to Citizens United v the Federal Election Commission of 2010."

The pernicious lies and half-truths of political advertising ("Tom Barrett wants to take away your deer rifle!"); the cynicism of a political leadership and an angry electorate deciding that working people and the middle class and the underfunded and undereducated poor are to blame for society's ills; and this notion--perhaps most insidious of all:  that taxes are not a privilege or an obligation but a burden on our individual rights and freedoms--this idea most of all is at the core of everything that went wrong in Wisconsin and will continue to go wrong across the country.

My home state, once a place of idealism and progressive values, has succumbed to the ugly strains and steady march since the tax revolts of the 1980s that says the individual is God in America and that our money must be protected at all costs from an evil government run by evil people with evil intents.  Scott Walker, who accomplished nothing as Milwaukee County Executive (although his administration remains under a criminal investigation) and has yet to accomplish anything substantive as governor of Wisconsin (his touted job increases could just as easily be credited to the Obama Administration's attempts to undue eight years of fiscal and economic damage done by the Bush Administration) except to deny workers rights to bargain collectively, cut school budgets, lay off teachers, and cut taxes for the wealthy.

The claim will be that these *are* accomplishments and they will get the state back on track.  That remains to be seen.

In the meantime, as you listen to the stories on the radio, watch reports on television, read comments in print and online, notice the selfishness, the anger, the bitterness of tone in people's voices.  The resentment of the poor and the black; the lack of respect and sympathy for civil servants and public employees; the utter disregard for teachers and all they do to bring children to enlightenment and learning.

This country is messed up.

Since President Obama decided not to waste his effort on what his pollsters clearly figured out was a losing cause, I have one word of advice:  study Governor Walker's claims of job creation very carefully.  Then tear it apart.  Prove to the voters that *if* there was any job growth in Wisconsin in the last year it was the result of the Obama Administration's efforts to save the auto industry; save the financial industry; provide stimulus money; and generally follow the moderate path of economic growth that has usually saved us from the disastrous policies of slashing spending for the middle class and cutting taxes for the rich.

And damnit all!  Use the language of civic responsibility; of Americans' obligation to one another; of our country as a place where yes we are all free individuals but we are also fundamentally part of a greater whole called to do good in the world!

Signs all over Wisconsin for the past months have said, "Stand with Walker."  The President, late in the game, Tweeted that he stood with Tom Barrett.  Enough of this nonsense.  There is much worth fighting for in this country.  Tweets are for, well, you know.

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