17 Nov. 2011Dear Scott Walker,
Today I received a death threat to me and my family, at 4:00 in the morning. The anonymous person, who called from a cell phone that could not be traced immediately by police, said that I had "attracted the attention of some very bad people." I spend the entire day dealing with this - talking to law enforcement, concerned organizers, media and others. We learned that the same person has also made calls to other recall workers in Wisconsin. But these are not isolated incidents. In the first three days of the recall, we have seen many reports of harassment of circulators and attempts to commit election fraud, and even vandalism of private property as one organizer's tires were deflated.
I hold you entirely responsible.
Ten months ago you unleashed on this state a firestorm of irresponsibility and disrespect that has led directly to this point - where regular people are personally targeted and threatened simply for exercising their rights to dissent and participate in the political process.
It was you who threatened to call in the National Guard on our peaceful protests. It was you who was recorded (in what you thought was a private conversation with your benefactor, David Koch), saying that you had considered the idea of planting agent provocateurs in the crowds at our rallies. It was you who implied, over and over and over again, that the teachers, nurses, civil servants, regular people, concerned citizens and workers of all walks of life in the streets protesting your anti-democratic and duplicitous policies were thugs to be alternately feared, ignored and despised. It was you who created a situation in which, shockingly, regular people like me were forced to go "public" just to defend the rights of our kids to decent and quality education. It was you who made me a target.
And now, as the recall has begun and we are hearing these reports of intimidating and threatening behavior, you are silent. Even yesterday, you even went so far as to deny responsibility for the recall effort itself.
Your silence would be a deafening endorsement of such behavior, as through your actions you have modeled precisely the sort of bullying and intimidation I was the victim of last night.
You have disrupted, at is core, the social contract of civility that makes democracy possible. In its wake, we are left to deal with strong-arming bullies like you who would rather threaten and harass than negotiate and compromise.
I understand that I have put myself in the public sphere by sharing my objections to your cuts to education and other essential programs at the expense of tax breaks, a rash of political appointments and the general lack of civility with which you've run your administration. And I understand that people on both sides of this issue have very - very - strong feelings about what's going on right now. I even understand that people are angry that those with whom they disagree seem to be "getting their way" with the recall despite having lost at the ballot box last fall. And I understand that we all have the right to express our views - including the view that the recall effort is unwarranted. I get all that. None of that, however, changes the fact that we have a legal right to recall you and that by your silence you condone the threats and intimidation of recall workers.
Fortunately, however, we do not need approval or permission to exercise our rights. We do not need approval to stand up for what is right and to protect the future of our children and their education. Fortunately for all of us, democracy cannot be bullied into submission. These threats only fuel and empower our determination to restore the rule of reason to Wisconsin and return to a democracy where whatever our differences, we can unite to move forward.
I don't expect that you will reply. But I do expect that you stand up for the safety of innocent citizens on both sides of the political fence and call for an end to this unpatriotic behavior that serves only to sabotage democracy and make a mockery of civic action.
Meanwhile, we continue to countdown the clock on your term of office. And it's going really well so far. 50,000 signatures in the first two days. At this rate, we'll be done soon.
We will see you at the ballot box. Please tell your supporters to meet us there, instead of harassing us in our homes.
And when you're ready to apologize for your role in all this, you know how to get in touch.