There’s an important vote today in Wisconsin. We had a few thoughts on the situation and put them into this song and video… made by our wonderful friend John Christian Adams. No matter what our personal political affiliations are, I think moments like these are crucial. If we are dissatisfied with government on any level, it is our right and obligation to be informed and involved. Likewise, if we are satisfied, we have a similar right to fight for more of what we believe in. The great opiate of our day is the idea that we are truly powerless and ineffectual. If we keep ingesting the drug of that thought, It will become a self-perpetuating belief system within us. And will in turn shape our reality. I hope all of my friends in that beautiful state are voting according to their convictions today.
Personally, I have struggled to understand this situation and have arrived at the following conclusions which have led me to support the recall:
1. In April, Walker signed SB 202 which repealed a law providing women the right to take legal action if they discover that they are being discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of their gender. This is a step backwards societally and integrally.
2. Under the auspice of a pro-life agenda, he repealed a law requiring educators to teach youth about contraceptives – effectively leaving educators with only one method to legally teach – abstinence. This is ridiculous, archaic and irresponsible.
3. His relationship to the Koch brothers has repeatedly tarnished his integrity as a civil servant – alligning himself with an agenda to protect corporations with rights that should be ascribed to human beings, while simultaneously stripping his state’s citizens of said rights.
4. Perhaps most importantly in terms of a bi-partisan conversation, in Walker’s second year as governor, Wisconsin lost 20,000 jobs. This positions the state in last place in terms of job growth, several times lower than the second worst state, Rhode Island, who lost only 4,000 jobs. This has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Republican. In the neighboring states of Iowa and Michigan (also Republican led) there have been job gains. This is simply a result of his ineptitude as a civil servant and leader. He lost the state jobs by shutting down the high speed rail system and making it impossible for wind power to establish itself in the state (among other things).
5. Even though the Labor Unions in Wisconsin AGREED to Walker’s terms in relation to their member’s health insurance and salaries, he stripped them of their rights and their ability to collectively bargain. I am a big supporter of Union reform, but this is not reform. This is an abuse of power and a manipulative move to undermine his opposing political party who is funded in large part by Unions. This has nothing to do with the financial well-being of the state he is serving or the health of it’s Labor Unions (teachers, nurses, firefighters, etc) and he has been continually deceptive on this topic.
6. He has backed voter suppression laws that make it difficult for poor portions of the population to vote. In a democracy, this should not be tolerated. Thankfully, a federal judge made sure that such suppression wouldn’t occur until after the recall election.
7. As of May, Walker has taken in over $21 million in out of state contributions from the Koch supported Americans For Prosperity. In a state that is struggling so immensely with their financial instability, handicapped by his removal of jobs and his signing of the ‘Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge Against Raising Taxes’, I find this disturbing.
8. Walker has presently found himself in the middle of a federal investigation involving the theft of tens of thousands of dollars from a Veteran’s fund that was used for personal expenses of his staff. Expenses like vacations in Hawaii. I also find this disturbing.
9. His attitude towards environmental activism is strange. Why try to cut a massively successful recycling program in your state that not only responsibly cares for the earth, but also employs 97,000 people and generates over $5 billion in economic activity? This makes absolutely no sense to me and thankfully he failed in his attempt, but this fact alone should be enough for Wisconsin residents to question his reasoning and motives.
10. Probably most infuriating to me is his severing of over $800 million in educational aid to public schools in order to pay for his tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. This is the largest cut to education in the state by a long shot and the 2nd biggest cut in our nation. You don’t move money out of education and hand it to big business. In the long run, I believe this move will further handicap a limping state and will be a detriment to its future generations.