preamble: I didn’t really update here about my trip to Wisconsin, and for that I feel pretty bad. I mean, it’s part of a larger systemic issue for me personally that I’ve been feeling uncreative in a lot of aspects (music, writing, etc.). Actually, I suppose it’s also feeling horribly unmotivated as well as lacking a creative spark, which compounds the problem. This is something I’m trying to work on for myself.
The trip was awesome, and I mean that in the actual dictionary sense of the word. There were nearly 200,000 of us at the Wisconsin Capitol on March 12, and it left a very powerful and emotional impression on me about not just the current state of our government, but what is possible if people can come together and see past their differences to realize that in many respects, we’re all very similar.
In Wisconsin, there is an election for Supreme Court justice coming up in a couple of weeks. The incumbent is a “conservative”, David Prosser, who before serving on the bench of the highest court in the state was a long-time Republican State Assemblyman and was in fact served for a while as the minority leader of that body. He has a record of voting on the right-wing-oriented side, and has actually run campaign ads suggesting that he would be a good “complement” to the new Republican
insane dictatorgovernor, Scott Walker. The challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, is, well, not a conservative.
In the past month, the political atmosphere in Wisconsin has become tense to say the least. A good summary of this tension can be seen in the movements to start recall elections of State Senators. In the history of the United States, 13 elected officials to state office have ever been recalled. There are currently recall petitions circulating for no less than 16 Wisconsin State Senators.
Realizing that this is a big deal and, if in fact a populist movement in the making unlike anything we’ve seen (in America) in my lifetime, a very big threat to the corporate plutocracy status quo, the right wing has begun to wind up its spin machine in an attempt to keep hold of the power they currently wield. Behold, this letter from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), an association of manufacturers, businesses and chambers of commerce (read: corporate, Republican interests).
Firstly, I grow tired of the notion that all opposition to the corporate, anti-worker, anti-citizen Republican agenda is under the auspices of unions. Unions are certainly involved, as they are a major target of said agenda, but you don’t just shy of 200,000 people taking to the Wisconsin Capitol because a few unions urged their members to speak out. You get that nearly 200,000 people because people of all professions, ages, races and circumstances are tired of being abused, oppressed and manipulated by their government and the corporate and billionaire-serving special interests that fund the campaigns of those government officials that do not serve the people they are enjoined to represent. This is not a union effort. The people you see protesting at the Capitol and around the state (and in other states as well, protesting similar bills) are, well, they’re everyone.
I also take issue with the entire sentiment of the letter, that ”our democracy is being turned upside down” because “the unions are plotting the defeat of Senators who voted against their agenda”. Citizens using the legal processes laid out in the law and Constitution is the exact opposite of “democracy being turned upside down”. What does show a complete disregard for democracy are the abuses of the legislative system and Constitution that Republican lawmakers engaged in during the last few weeks. It is more than a little disingenuous to suggest that the public lacks a sense of democratic decorum in using the very mechanisms of government to show their displeasure for the actions of their elected officials when the public disagrees with your position, while at the same time supporting and contributing those who make a mockery of that same government when it serves your ends.
Of course, WMC asks that you (and not YOU, a person, but companies) “please make a generous corporate contribution to counter their efforts. Donations are unlimited and undisclosed.”
The momentum currently carried nationally by these very corporate, very rich, very right wing interests is very strong, but it is imperative that this momentum is halted. These interests benefit only a very tiny percentage of our country at the expense of almost everyone. It is time for the average person to realize that if you vote for a Republican, you are voting in direct opposition to your own best interests as a human being in America, and against the best interests of every person in your neighborhood, at your job, and that you see on a daily basis.