20 July 2011
Dear Scott Walker,
It's the end of July. It's 100 degrees. And we aren't just "still mad." We're more mad. We're proving it at the ballot box. And we didn't go away.
To be quite honest, I, personally, did go away, for a short while, as you no doubt noticed when I didn't write as usual. I've been calling it a "vacation" on account of I didn't work much while I was gone, but it didn't really count as a vacation since (1) I spent most of my time trying as hard as I could not to spend any money (thanks, in large part, to you), and (2) despite my best efforts to remain gloriously unplugged, news of your misadventures and assaults on the working class still reached me, even in another state.
|Portrait of my "vacation:" watching a (free) street Elvis and reminding Michigan to Stand with Wisconsin|
Perhaps you're wondering why I'm blaming you for my $0 budget "vacation." I'm on reduced hours over the summer at my cushy term-to-term state job, and (thanks in large part to your cuts to all things worth funding), my position is going from 50% to 33% this fall, which doesn't make for a very rosy financial situation, despite the fact that my husband works full time. And taking on another job means finding full-time child care, which means even less take-home pay than I get now. So my "vacation" consisted of stress, worry, and embarrassing coupon-hunting penny-pinching every step of the way.
How many pennies did YOU save while I was gone? How many brown bags, for instance, did you let go to waste while you hobnobbed with financiers and lobbyists? Did you enjoy a couple of $350 bottles of wine over these dinners like your buddy Paul Ryan did? How much per person did you (or was it the taxpayers?) pay for the party your wife threw at the governor's mansion? I would really like to know what the brown bags you served at that party contained, but I only saw the footage from the marvelous protest flotilla, and couldn't make out any details.
Anyway, it's been so long since I wrote to you that I'm struggling to prioritize my seemingly infinite list of items of dissent with your administration and its unprecedented, unconscionable, power grab. To make it easier for you to keep my specific comments in mind, let me bullet these for you, not necessarily in order of importance:
- Stop stacking the deck against democracy by gerrymandering and disenfranchising Wisconsin voters. The absurd, unwarranted, transparently partisan redistricting of Wisconsin is a shameful disgrace to our state's democratic tradition and a staggering marvel of political absurdity. Your support for this is proof that you do not now, and never did, support a government by, for or of, the people. As far as I can tell, the only thing you truly support is increasing the coffers of support for your own political agenda, which rarely (if ever) corresponds to the interests of this state, as the new map clearly shows.
- Stop with the "jobs" and "tools" talk. You have not created jobs; we have lost real existing jobs - and countless potential ones - under your administration and there is no evidence that your policies will create jobs that benefit this state. Unemployment is up in Wisconsin as it declines across the rest of the nation. So stop lying about that and start creating jobs - and not the phony "new" McJobs you "create" by eliminating decent existing ones. And stop lying about how your budget cuts are "tools" that help local communities and won't lead to tax increases.
- Stop wasting our money. And I'm not just talking about the money you waste being out of state all the time, or your insulting attempts at PR-stops around the state (which might better be called Protest Tours anyway), trying to take credit for local or existing projects. You are wasting taxpayer money on your foolish political agenda and have the nerve to claim to be doing this in the name of "jobs". The best example of this is the fiscal impact of your stubborn rejection of federal rail money, which would have created countless jobs, in addition to its money-saving environmental impacts. By rejecting this money, you forced the state to borrow and we end up spending more on the Milwaukee-Chicago line than it would have cost to build the Milwaukee-Madison rail that the people have demanded. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a good article on how this math works. You should check it out. So we increase the debt, we lose the jobs, we don't have the rail service, and we send our dollars and our resources to Illinois instead of creating more jobs between Madison and Milwaukee. Free enterprise? I don't think so.
- Resign. To put this in terms you can understand, given the "self-serving narrative" that is your constant reference to yourself as "CEO of Wisconsin," let me make it simple: you have proven that you do not know how business, or governments work. You have failed as governor (in your terms: "CEO") and you are going to be recalled ("fired").
I have been watching this summer as people continue to follow you wherever you go, making clear to you and the rest of the world that we're still here, we're still fighting, and we're getting more mad every day. This is not about collective bargaining, even if that's what shook people awake this winter. This is about taking democracy back, stopping the sale of our state to corporate interests, and protecting our children's education and the programs that serve our most vulnerable. It's about transparency in government, exposing and calling out the lies of corrupt and duplicitous politicians (see mirror for more info). It's about the recalls, especially yours.
"The story's behind you, sir. Turn around, sir!"
Of all your lies, the one I hate the most is the one you repeated to a local reporter after this aptly protested event - the ironically audacious claim that "a handful of people should not be able to dictate what people do in this state." If you would confront your constituents honestly, and acknowledge the fact that well over half the people of this state oppose you, we wouldn't have to follow you all over the place, shouting. As long as you continue to ignore us, continue to disrespect us, and continue to lie about our numbers, our aims and our needs, we will only grow more determined to see you recalled. And you will be recalled.
So resign. Because whether or not I can afford to take another vacation next summer, I don't want to waste a moment of it thinking of you.
Until you're out of sight, out of mind, out of office, and for good,
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Wisconsin taxpayer and recall enthusiast