Sunday, April 10, 2011

The case (thus far) against Scott Walker and the state GOP

A friendly reminder of the counts against our government "leaders"

This could be called a rant, it could be called a review. Read it with that in mind...

In the span of six short months, our state has seen a terrifying series of events. We've changed from one of the most respected states in the country, set to become a leader in clean energy, high speed rail, and continued low unemployment rates compared to other parts of the U.S.; and in that time, we've turned into a laughing stock, a failed government led by a pro-corporate, anti-worker Republican governor.

It wasn't enough that Scott Walker drove high speed rail and clean energy out of our state -- along with the jobs they'd create. It wasn't enough that he introduced a bill that, not only stripped the rights of workers within it, but under the auspices of balancing the budget may actually increase the state's deficit (while also losing the state jobs). It didn't seem enough, either, that while Wisconsin workers continue to struggle with unemployment and lower wages than were had before the recession, tax breaks were granted to corporations in the hundreds of millions of dollars (all while taxes on poor Wisconsinites were raised).

These are all things we should take into account. But the real problem lies in the fact that our leaders -- Scott Walker, Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald, and other Republicans in the state -- refuse to conduct themselves in a professional (and sometimes legal) way, are instead opting for governing through blatant disrespect for those they work for.

A governor fails his people when he ignores throngs of them (hundreds of thousands over a period of a few weeks) at his office's steps, and yet makes time for an out of state fake billionaire donor. Legislative leaders fail their constituents' rights to hear proposed laws and to voice their input when these lawmakers purposefully violate open meetings laws. And a county clerk, in an arrogant display of elitism, casts into doubt the entire elections process of one state (and the results thereof) when she dismisses the concerns of others who feel, perhaps, her personal computer isn't the appropriate place to store election data.

The integrity of our state's government is deteriorating. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin, led by Gov. Walker, are destroying the traditions and institutions that the people of this state have come to respect. Beyond their frightening policies, the governor and his cronies have ignored basic laws, disregarded established norms, and stated publicly their intentions to destroy the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

The case against Scott Walker and the GOP in general is a compelling one that includes not only their terrible proposals but also the way they've tried to go about implementing them. In short, the case against Walker is that he isn't Wisconsin at all -- he's the "anti-Wisconsin," hellbent on changing the things that make our state great in favor of appeasing his corporate friends.

How do we deal with such disrespect for both the people and the institutions that these lawmakers are supposed to represent? How do we counter these forces of corporate appeasement in order to benefit the citizenry overall? We do so by supporting the removal of those lawmakers who have failed to represent their constituents, who are complicit in the dismantling of our state's core beliefs. Only when we are able to take control of one of the houses of the state legislature will we be able to prevent the further destruction of our state's celebrated values.

But we cannot stop there either. Scott Walker has proven he is determined to completely reshape the idea of what "is" Wisconsin, into a demented idea unimaginable to the average citizen of this state. In less than one year's time, we must formally show Gov. Walker that we won't stand for this. We must dedicate ourselves toward his removal, or at least toward the threat of it, in order to show him that his vision is unacceptable.

There are plenty of steps to take before we reach that point, including the recovery of the State Senate. But with the ultimate goal being the re-establishment of Wisconsin's integrity, as well as its position as a leader of the nation (and not another state that slips behind), it's imperative that we keep our eyes on the prize.

To achieve that end, we must remove Scott Walker, as well as his Republican allies, from power, so that they cannot inflict any more damage upon the people of our great state.

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