Thursday, May 31, 2012


I've tried my best to keep this blog as apolitical as a diehard progressive can but by June 5th the political landscape in Wisconsin will have changed no matter whom comes out victorious in the recall elections. By the time of my next blog the results of this monumental recall will be in and the social, economic and leadership direction of our state and potentially the country's will be more clearly defined. This is my request for enlightenment. I need to have some dialogue with anyone who is currently backing Scott Walker so I can see the other side of the coin. I'm at a point where I can't see any positives on the Walker pro and con sheet. Please help me see what you see.
First I don't believe there would have been a recall if the man who campaigned as a brown bag working class guy had gone into office with his agenda but also with an open mind and an attempt to sit at the table and work with both sides. What ended up was another example of a candidate winning by a razor margin and using it as a mandate, then dissolving any veil of transparency with his dictatorial approach to getting his way or no way.
He came to office on a pledge to create 250,000 jobs and balance a budget. He hasn't created jobs. He's manipulated statistics that no one can confirm and sits with a record of job creation even with his suspicious figures far lower than his promise. I can live with this failure. It's been a tough economy and both sides are going to use statistics that will support their claims in a time frame leading up to the election that will not allow for any independent entity to check and confirm them. But perhaps if he hadn't eliminated the high speed rail grant from the federal government he could have been a lot closer to hitting his job creation number and secured a transportation plan that looked to the future of our state and our children by providing cleaner air quality. A national rail system may not be in our lifetime but it will have to be in our children's. We'll run out of fossil fuels or deplete the ozone soon if we don't change our current ways.
Then there's the issue with the unions and collective bargaining. Here was an area where most people were willing to listen to both sides if only he had brought it up during his campaign and then sat down with everyone having a say. To come out with an ideology self-described as "divide and conquer" was more than a bitter pill. He had the full cooperation of the unions he was hell-bent on crushing. I have as many issues with unions as the next guy. When we go to New York to do a show at the Javits we're not allowed to screw in a light bulb or hammer a nail. The unions have driven up the cost of doing a show so high it's becoming almost impossible to work there. But these are not the unions that Scott Walker has attacked. He hasn't gone after the private sector unions; the unions he has gone after are the ones that protect our teachers, our firemen, our police and our public servants, people who help build a stronger safer community at salaries that keep them well within the 99%
It is very hard for me to look my kid in the face and say I stand with Scott Walker on any social issue that has come forward. I'm a gay parent. He's against this. He has introduced legislation taking away my rights to make healthcare decisions about my partner, Rick, should he have a recurrence of his cancer. He's signed a bill to take away a woman's right to equal pay for equal work. How can anybody with a daughter vote for a man with these values?
He has balanced the budget but at what cost to our future. We live in a state that had one of the highest levels of public education in the nation. We're now only ranked as average and we're quickly falling from there. Scott Walker's need to privatize everything makes for a state where only those with money will be able to educate, feed and care for their families. The divide between those who have and those who do not will only become wider. The obvious result is more sadness and then more crime. It's the story of the difference between George Bailey and Henry F. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life". I don't want to see an America filled with Pottervilles
Scott Walker's exorbitant financing by out-of-state billionaire backers only shows him as the puppet not the puppeteer of an ALEC backed agenda.
Even if nothing here (and I'm not going to go into his potential criminal woes) were enough to make you think twice about voting for Scott Walker, the one thing I do know is our current political atmosphere is one based on hate and systems based on hate benefit no one. Scott Walker has shown no ability or desire to change this atmosphere. He has said it himself, "Divide and Conquer". Tom Barrett may not be able to change this either but he has pledged to try. A Walker win means more of the same bitter wrangling. It's time to give Barrett a try unless anyone can convince me otherwise. We'll be closing our store on June 5th so that all of us can use the day to help with getting out the vote.
Please read The Capitol Times endorsement of Tom Barrett's qualifications. Here's the link:

Kathryn Schulze, protestor at the state Capitol, 2011
Jeffrey Phelps, photographer
AP photo


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful piece and I think you did the right thing by speaking out. And I applaud you for closing the store so everyone can vote. No matter what happens, we can never get back what was so ruthlessly destroyed. But we can try to find common ground and work together. If Dale Schultz can do it, so can we. Also the Dept. of Labor Statistics says they can't confirm 4th quarter job numbers and would not have confirmed anything with the Gov's office so he's lying again.