The morning after: Yep, I'm still better than you.

31 March 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

I'll admit that the letter I wrote last night was pretty glib. I actually went to bed pretty sure I'd wake up regretting I took that perspective, because it might make me look bad (and by bad, I mean arrogant, not wrong). I wrote it in the wee hours of the night, after working a really long day and getting pretty riled up thinking about two things: (1) the juvenile and asinine attempt at a sarcastic "press release" by the GOP yesterday attacking Judge Sumi for her "leftist lifestyle" because she insists upon upholding the law and (2) how entirely true the brilliant column, "Americans Got What They Deserved" by Ray Buursma was in the Holland Sentinel of all places on the 23rd. 

So when I woke up this morning, I reread that thing, and realized, to my delight, that I don't feel bad about saying any of that. In fact, I feel great about saying all of it, especially the part about how humble I am compared to you!  You are the kind of person who is incompetent, willfully ignorant, manipulative, self-righteous, power-hungry, greedy and vain, and I am not, and there is absolutely no reason on earth that I should not spend a little bit of my time trying to explain that to you. It's just facts! And there's nothing wrong with sharing facts, even though, as Stephen Colbert says, you might not like that "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

So I just wanted to let you know that I'm really excited to continue thinking of ways that I can help you understand how inferior you are, and not just to me - I should make that clear. This isn't really about "us."  It's about how you're actually inferior to anyone who is capable of true empathy.  I say "true" empathy because I know you consider yourself to be a religious person, and probably think you come to the table with empathy in spades.  But you're wrong on both counts.  Because your hypocrisy negates your conviction in your own moral superiority and your arrogance negates your phony desire to "help people help themselves" by giving them "tools" which actually, and very transparently, are only tools which help you, and harm the people now forced to dig their own graves with very expensive shovels.

So, here's looking forward to thinking up more ways to describe your many existing and future shortcomings, character flaws, stupidities, and sins.  I think it's a really productive exercise for both of us -  and I'm confident that this sort of self-reflection is a tool you'll find really useful.

Until you resign,

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Decent, hard-working, responsible Wisconsin citizen

Your inferiority - it's not that complex

30 March 2011

You know how people watch Cops, or The Real World, or Charlie Sheen or Sarah Palin because it secretly makes them feel better about themselves to witness the miserable and more pathetic reality of others? Since I'm the best kind of lefty, I've always hated that trainwreck mentality;  I feel sorry for the people who are being exploited, and I feel even worse for the fools who find it entertaining, completely blind to the fact that the joke is on them. And I really, really hate the manipulative bastards who create those shows, and/or those absurdly narcissistic public personae, and keep feeding them to us.  

But as I was thinking about this tonight, the words "miserable" and "pathetic" and "narcissistic" of course triggered thoughts of you, and I thought, "Hey! Maybe I secretly love to hate Scott Walker because it makes me feel better about myself."  Because that might be true. The more I despise you, the more assured I am that I am in the right and you are in the wrong, which does make me feel good, I guess, in the moral vindication department if not the social justice department.  But then I thought to myself, "Hey, again. This is an unfair comparison. Scott Walker is not a reality star. He is a bona fide public figure, whose actions have actual and serious consequences in my life. So my sick desire to watch his evil plans unfold fills a real need, not just a psychological one."  And that's true.  But it doesn't explain the puzzle at hand: my realization that my incalcuably sanctimonious attitude toward (and, let's just say it, hatred of) you, is predicated on the simple fact of my moral, ethical and intellectual superiority to you. Which doesn't sound very nice, when I type it out like that, but I might as well admit to it, since it has rather become the elephant in the room.

So I began, slowly, to realize that I have to change my position on this.  Maybe it's not always all wrong to take some pleasure in feeling better than someone else. Because it's not simply a matter, I don't think, of feeling superior to you, or thinking I am superior to you.  Because when you put it to the empirical test, I actually am superior to you, in many and significant ways.  If you have a minute, I think it's worth our time to list a few of them.

  1. I'm willing to compromise, under most circumstances, even though I hate doing so as much as the next guy.  I like thinking things through, correcting myself when I'm wrong, and learning through everything I do.  I don't like making my mind up before I start something, and I never make my mind up until I look at the evidence from both sides.  [Aside to my children: please note that this fact about my regular self does not extend to my mother-self and most certainly is not part of my parenting philosophy. As I have explained many times, I am not an elected official and our family is not so much a "democracy" as a "my way or the highwayocracy." So stop getting your hopes up until you can pay some bills around here. Then you can vote. I think the age for that is 18. And don't forget to bring valid id to the polls.]
  2. I'm honest and you're a liar. I don't really feel, at this point, that the burden of proof is on me to demonstrate this, as the record clearly shows that you are incapable of speaking honestly to your constituents or upholding the oath you made to this state when you were sworn in as governor. I will leave that burden to you, and challenge you to demonstrate an instance of public honesty in your short and repulsive reign of terror.
  3. I am educated.  Yeah, this sounds snobby, too, and I don't really like to say it, but it's true. I have an advanced degree and you are a college dropout. But I'm not just talking about my formal schooling: I'm talking about the fact that I am a reader and a thinking and a listener and I am motivated to do most of the  things I do by the desire to learn more and not by the conviction that I am smart enough, or worse, as in your case, by the moronic conviction that you have "real world smarts" and "know things they can't teach in school."
  4. I am humble.  I know, you're thinking "That's not true at all! She is showing now that she is also a liar like me!" But let me explain: I can be confident in my superiority to you while I simultaneously acknowledge my many, many flaws and the fact that I really don't know the half of it about most of it.  But I do know that I do not live my life blindly driven by the desire to preserve my own well-being and achieve material success (what you call "making real money"), but by the desire to make some small effort to have lived a life worth living.  This is probably the biggest difference between us: I do not feel entitled to a "piece of the pie." I don't even really like pie. My humility rests in my conviction that there is nothing I can do, or say, or be that could lead to a situation in which I "deserve" more or less pie than the next person. And you believe that people who have "earned" the lion's share are "entitled" to it by virtue of having "worked" for it. Which leads me to my next point
  5. I am smarter than you are.  Because I understand, having studied history and done the research, that those who have controlling interests in this country have not "earned" the right to exploit the rest of us. They have not worked themselves up by their bootstraps to achieve the American Dream of Being Filthy Rich. They have, as a matter of fact, simply stolen the share of those of us who actually did all of the work to earn that money and are now doing everything within their substantial amount of power to try to cover up their blatant theft of our dignity.  You, on the other hand, believe that people who are poor just need to work harder, tighten their belts, save up, and shut up. Which is stupid, and offensive.
  6. I'm capable of restraint.  I could go on all day.  But I think I'll save  the rest for another day, and another letter, while you let these things sink in and think of ways you might improve your behavior, and change your personality, so that you're more like me.  Good luck with that!
In the meantime, maybe I'll watch a little tv. Maybe Sarah Palin's Alaska is on. I haven't seen that yet, but I think I might finally be ready to give it a chance, now that I know it's ok to embrace your own strengths, and not feel guilty for acknowledging the other's weaknesses.

Until you resign,

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Letter from Cindy Melendy in opposition to SB 22

a powerful letter against the "charter school bill" by a smart, active, informed Wisconsin parent

Dear Senators Darling, Olsen, Lazich, Vukmir, Kapanke and Galloway; and Representatives Vos, Kestell, Marklein, Van  Roy, Kleefisch,Pridemore, Bies, Nass, Honadel, Ballweg, Knodl and Mursau,

I am writing in opposition of SB 22. I am a citizen of Wisconsin and a concerned parent. 

It's bad enough that Wisconsin's K-12 public education program is being stripped of funding by our government. Now we have SB 22 threatening the well being of our public schools!
I disagree with allowing charter schools to be pushed into our communities without approval. This is not democratic! Such a decision should be made by a school board, those elected by the members of the community, not by a committee that doesn't represent the interests of the community. 
This bill lowers the standards for our teachers in the classrooms. This is disgusting! How is having an unqualified teacher in the classroom going to benefit my child, or anyone's child for that matter? 
SB 22 also siphons away funding from public schools by allowing charter schools access to the same funds. If money is taken away from pubic schools, they will need to look for money elsewhere. It will lead to the privatization of our schools, which is beneficial for no one other than the corporations that will own them. 
All children in this state deserve an equal, quality education. SB 22 does the exact opposite of that and further creates an educational gap between the wealthy and soon to be non-existent middle class with the changes of income eligibility to charter schools.  

Please improve the quality of education in this state for all children. I ask that you PLEASE vote against SB 22 in the name of the future of Wisconsin education.

Thank you, 
Cynthia Melendy

You do not have the right to go bowling

27 March 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

Is it true that you went bowling today?

I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I read it online earlier tonight, and ever since I cannot get the image out of my mind:  all over the state, people are getting ready to go to work, getting the kids to bed, tidying up after the weekend. People are coming home from work, getting up to go to work, thinking about how they wish they could take an extra day off. People are looking at the calendar: almost the end of the month. Bills. Sigh. How am I going to make this work? Can we stretch this out another month? What date, exactly, is each bill due on? Do we really need bread and milk this week? Forget the brown bag; we don't even eat lunch! How did the end of the month get here so quickly? 

That's what I'm thinking. And I'm thinking, how long can we go on like this? Especially if my pay gets cut even more if this budget goes through? What are we going to do? Where else could we move? Where will we work? Where will we live? Can we take our leftist cats with us? And what if we move to another blue state and THAT state turns blood red on us like this one did? Then what? Should we embrace the urge to join the brain drain and get the hell out of here or should we stick it out and fight with and for the other decent people of Wisconsin? Should we just write "Walker is giving us the tools to cover this soon" on our bills this month and see what happens?

Meanwhile, you're out bowling. I imagine you're a decent bowler, given your background, and your whiteness. Maybe in another life you were on a league. I imagine you're having a couple of beers, joking around, not thinking much about what's going on elsewhere. Enjoying yourself. I don't see you bowling with your family, though. You're out with some other guys, also white. You call them "friends" but really they're just people with whom you share common hatreds and little else. You have a few beers, disparage a few minorities, talk about how much your wives suck, how much you hate Madison, liberals, Obama. You all get a few strikes, have a few laughs, feel pretty good about yourselves. You look up at the scoreboard, where they typed in your name as "GUV" and feel really, really happy. You, or one of your friends, says "Boys, it doesn't get any better than this" and you all laugh and laugh and order another round.

That's how I imagine it. People are suffering, and you are bowling. People are worrying, and you are laughing. People are agonizing, and you are giving some asshole a high-five for making a joke that would make Rush Limbaugh blush.  People are wondering what is going to happen now that we officially live in a place where the law is irrelevant to the political whims of those in power, and you are bowling.

I don't want to dwell on the comparison, because you'll probably like it, but you are so like George Bush the son. And not just because you share the unfortunate appearance of always looking like you don't quite understand what's going on around you, or because you both have a hard time remembering not to breath through your mouths when you're listening to someone else speak, giving you a perpetually idiotic expression. But because you share a certain arrogance, and an entitlement that is offensive to even those who don't have to live from hand to mouth and month to month.  I'm still angry at how he got away with not doing his job - taking unprecedented, mocking, shameless amounts of vacation while he was president. Always off playing golf, hiding out, having fun. While the rest of us worried, worked and fumed. And he laughed.

You, too, were hired to do a job that you're not doing. You began before you were even sworn in to put your own political agenda before the law, before the will of the people, and before the good of the state. You have abused the power of your office at every turn and have turned this state into something unrecognizably uncivil.

Last weekend when I took my kids to the Capitol, I had to wait and watch as my 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son were "wanded" after walking through a security scanner which did not beep. I watched a video today that showed police officers in the Capitol reprimanding a pair of adolescent boys, and issuing a citation to their parents (one of whom is an elected official), for holding up a sign of protest. For holding up a sign! Is this really what you want Wisconsin to look like?

Going bowling, Scott Walker, is a privilege, not a right.  You do not have the right to go bowling. You do not have the right to enjoy yourself. You do not have the right to live your life as if the pain and anguish of the people of this state is not your own burden to acknowledge, and deal with responsibly. The pursuit of your happiness has come at the expense of this state and you can rest assured that I am not alone in hoping that you really, truly do not enjoy a single moment of your life until your term of office is - mercifully, rightfully - over.


Heather DuBois Bourenane
Concerned citizen of Wisconsin who cannot wait until you are recalled

You make me sick. Literally, and otherwise.

25 March 2011

Dear Scott Walker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the automatic computer generators who sort their mail into "for" and "against" folders, and the innocent and/or deceitful passersby and/or hangers-on who may or may not read this if it's ever actually released to the press as per Open Records Law,

I am so AGAINST you and your despicable political tactics that I am beginning to wonder how it comes to pass that a perfectly reasonable and capable person like me is sitting home fuming while moronic criminals like you have actual power.  I mean, seriously! My leftist cats could govern better that you! Someone really needs to step up and seize the crap out of your days.  (And wouldn't it be great if it was Representative Barca?  I know you two would just love that.)

Between bouts of vomiting and diarrhea (for which, of course, I blame you and the vilely viral disease you are to this state and my personal health) I spent all my emotional energy this week laboring over SB-22 and trying to spread the word about what kind of damage that bill is going to do if it's passed along with the education-gutting budget bill.  I listened to almost all of the testimony at the public hearing. I watched Senator Grothman treat the public with his usual contempt, and then sneer over what harm the bill might potentially cause to PRIVATE schools - prompting him, amazingly, to author the very next day a bill proposing tax credits for private school tuition! I watched the ever-duplicitous Senator Darling chat with her colleagues as she ignored testimony after testimony against her ill-conceived and dangerous bill.  I read a few disgusting articles reiterating the sexist attacks of Judge Prosser on his colleagues. I watched the staggeringly hypocritical attack on Professor Cronon unfold after he published his right-on op-ed, and prove line-for-line his analysis of your McCarthy-esque tactics. And then, today, I finally feel well enough to get out for a few hours and come home to find out that you snakes actually illegally published the collective bargaining bill despite the court order prohibiting its publication! Is there nothing you and your party are not willing to do to prove your disrespect for the laws and the people of this state?

I have a great idea, for you and for all of us: STOP BREAKING THE LAW.  Stop showing such open and public disrespect for your constituents, the courts and the law.  I know it would be great for your team if we didn't have a judicial system, but guess what? We do. So check, and balance, yourselves.

I am not feeling particularly optimistic at the moment, but I am feeling particularly enraged. You have gone too far for too long. I will be at the Capitol tomorrow. I'm sure I won't see you there, but I'm not going anywhere. You cannot ignore the people forever.  This abuse of power will not stand, and we will not stand down.


Until you're incarcerated,

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Wisconsin citizen, and supporter of justice, education and freedom, but not you.

Letter in opposition to SB-22, the "Charter School Bill"

 22 March 2011

Dear Senators Darling, Olsen, Lazich, Vukmir, Kapanke and Galloway; and Representatives Vos, Kestell, Marklein, Van Roy, Kleefisch, Pridemore, Bies, Nass, Honadel, Ballweg, Knodl and Mursau,

I write in opposition to SB-22.  I have been closely following the debate surround this issue, and feel it necessary to stand up as a concerned parent and citizen of Wisconsin to voice my opposition to this very dangerous measure.

I have read article after article by public education policy analysts, experts, educators and administrators, and with the exception of those who have a personally vested interest in promoting charter schools, they all say the same thing: (1) there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that charter schools perform better than traditional public schools and (2) this bill goes too far in privatizing public education funds.  I am particularly concerned about the clearly partisan thrust of many aspects of this bill, and agree with the experts that any attempt to privatize public education comes at the expense of Wisconsin schoolchildren.  I am also disturbed by the bill's attempt to change certification requirements for teachers and fear this bill goes too far in allowing unqualified teachers and politically motivated agendas to easily take charge of potential or existing charter schools.  I am further disgusted by the changes to income eligibility requirements for charter schools, which essentially allow wealthy families in "good" districts to use taxpayer funds to send their kids to private schools.  This is duplicitous and immoral, and should not even be under consideration as the governor cuts 1.7 billion dollars from the public education system in his budget.

I do not want to send my child to the "best" charter or private school taxes can buy; I want all Wisconsin schools to be equally excellent. This is a goal we can achieve, together.

All Wisconsin children deserve the chance to attend a wonderful school. SB-22 not only reduces the likelihood of this possibility, but creates a situation in which public schools are defunded at the expense of private charter schools.  This is wrong. Please do the right thing by voting against SB-22 and for the future of Wisconsin public education.

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Blognote: readers who are looking for a nice model for their own letters can find one here, or feel free to use mine. Public Schools for Public Good has an excellent website with many resources, including a suitable-for-sharing overview of SB-22.

The public hearing on SB-22 will be held Wed., March 22 at 10:00am, 411 South State Capitol. Testimony can be presented in person or in writing.

autoreply (do not respond) [2]

March 21, 2011
Dear Heather:

Thank you for contacting our office and sharing your approval about our behavior. We strive to ensure that each member of this household is represented faithfully and appreciate your feedback when we are doing the job we were elected to do. We have a plan which will provide the tools for you to help spread the word about this situation, and we look forward to working with you as we continue to serve and move this household forward.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can be of any further assistance.

S. and L., Leftist Cats

Editor's note:
  Letters to cats: 2
  Replies: 2
  Letters to Walker: lost count
  Replies: 0

Clarification: My cats do not support Scott Walker

20 March 2011

Dear Luna and Sitta,

Thank you for the speedy response! You are the best kittens, you really are. So thoughtful. I hope you don't take it personally that I lumped my concerns about your behavior together with my concerns about Scott Walker. After thinking about it for a while, I realized you might take that the wrong way, and I wanted to clear up that I by no means intended to imply that I associate you with Walker, or that my grievances with you are in any way comparable to my grievances with him, or that the consequences of your actions could ever cause the grand-scale damage that Walker's will cause for Wisconsin.  I did not mean to imply that at all! I love you cats. I really do.  And I think you know that, in your little cat hearts, in the same way that I think Scott Walker knows, in his own tiny heart, that he's doing the wrong thing. Because people who are doing the right thing don't have to lie so much. And they don't have to refuse to communicate with people with whom they disagree. And also they aren't publicly stealing from the poor to give to the rich, or trying as hard as they can to unlevel the playing field for children in public schools, or blaming public servants for all of society's problems, or trying to ruin the lives of cute little kittens and the people who love them.

So please don't take any of that personally, ok?! I know you cats would never, ever support Scott Walker or his plan to privatize every last sparkle in the eyes of Wisconsin's children. I'm a pretty open person, but everybody knows I would never have adopted conservative cats, just like I would never have moved, knowingly, into a red state.  I just want you to know that I love you and respect you and think you are the world's cutest cats.  I really do. And  I am going to make it up to you very soon with extra treats and maybe, just out of guilt, I'll give you your morning food before I make my coffee tomorrow.  You cute little kittens deserve it! (Just please don't make that whining sound, ok? Just once?)

Much love,


P.S. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that Scott Walker has still not replied. He's busy not replying to thousands of letters from thousands of people, and fundraising, and having a taxpayer-funded private chef pack his bag lunch, and whatnot. I'm sure we'll hear from him eventually. Should be an interesting (auto)reply, given the unautorepliability of our correspondence.

cc: Scott Walker

autoreply (do not respond)

Dear Heather:

Thank you for contacting our office and sharing your concerns about our behavior. We strive to ensure that each member of this household is represented faithfully and appreciate your feedback when we are off-course. We have a plan which will provide the tools for you to improve this situation, and we look forward to working with you as we continue to serve and move this household forward.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can be of any further assistance.

S. and L., Cats

Editor's note:
  Letters to cats: 1
  Replies: 1
  Letters to Walker: lost count
  Replies: 0

An Open Letter to My Cats, and Scott Walker

19 March 2011
cc: Scott Walker

Dear Luna and Sitta,

I'm pretty sure you can't read this, given your tiny cat brains, but considering my latest passtime is writing letters to people who won't read them, I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some concerns I have that directly concern you.

First, what the hell is wrong with you guys? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love having you around, but sometimes you act like such jerks. I don't know what happened to you before you wound up at the Humane Society, but you've lived here almost a year now, and I think it's high time you get used to the two basic facts of your existence: (1) I will always feed you. Twice a day. So you don't have to pretend you haven't eaten in six weeks every morning when I wake up. I will get you your morning food as soon as I make my coffee, just like I did the other 300-some days in a row.  Get used to it. And please stop that incessant whining, because maybe if you weren't making that terrible noise it wouldn't be so important that I had my coffee first, and you might get your breakfast right away. Let's try that and see how it goes for a few weeks. (2) I am the person who cleans your litter box, and I'm never going to take it away from you, or fill it with poison litter, or pee or poop in there myself.  So you can stop running in and taking a crap right in front of my face every night like we all don't know whose "territory" that is. It's disgusting, and it's really not helping me at all in the "be a better cat person" department.  Those are the first two things.

Second, can you believe that Scott Walker? What a dog! I hold him personally responsible for the way I've been neglecting you guys lately, what with having to spend so much extra time online at night reading all the news and writing angry letters. I know you've grown accustomed to a little attention after the kids go to bed, but since Scott Walker refuses to respond to my messages, or talk honestly to anyone who disagrees with him, I'm forced to fret over it all night long. So I guess we can add DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE HAPPINESS OR WELFARE OF CATS to our list of reasons to hate Scott Walker.  But seriously, can you cats believe that guy? He still plans to sell state-owned power plants to no-bid, won't-name, private buyers (Kochs). I wonder if he'll still try to make provisions so that it's legal for them to discriminate based on sexual orientation (have fun trying that one out). Worse, though, he's already frozen enrollment in BadgerCare, leaving the working, uninsured poor who are willing to pay for insurance totally screwed once again. Meanwhile, Scott Fitzgerald wants me to be taxed without representation, and JB Van Hollen  breaks his month-long silence on all these broken laws by saying he plans to appeal the temporary restraining order issued to halt the bill's publication while its legality is assessed. I'm starting to think all of these guys hate kittens, I really am. I hope you two don't think all humans are like that.

I left you home alone again today to go downtown and do some shouting. Things seemed pretty tame after getting used to the huge crowds for a while, but there were still thousands of people out there.  I was almost glad we were here this week instead of last week at the big rally - they needed us more today.  But as long as Walker gives us a new reason to be furious everyday, I don't think our movement will lose momentum. He sure hasn't disapponted so far.  Thanks for not tearing the place up while we were gone.  It's good to know I can trust you. Wish I could say that about our governor.

Much love,


PS I will feed you first thing in the morning. Please don't come sharpen your claws on my back in the night, ok?

An Open Letter: Why writing letters matters to me, and to all of us

18 March 2011

Dear everyone, and especially friends and others who've been following my rantings on what's happening,

I couldn't write to Scott Walker yesterday. Couldn't find the right tone, for one thing. Because sometimes it's hard to be funny when you're too mad, and I'm trying to keep my letters at least partly funny, so that people will read them and maybe feel a tiny bit better to know that someone out there is being honest, and frank, and a little mean, to someone who deserves it. But also because I was having a hard time getting started without swearing, and I'm trying to keep a veneer of civility on my correspondence so that I'm not outright rejected or dismissed, considering the validity and moral rectitude of my arguments against the governor and his proposed legislation. But sometimes it's hard to be honest and civil at the same time.

I was disappointed not to get a letter out. I really wanted to write to him about how frustrated I am with how he continues to lie in the face of evidence from experts about how disastrous his bill will be to education and the economy. I'm sick of his buzzwords - "jobs" and "tools" (even as I love their tea-baggy lack of ironic awareness. Job. Tool. Sigh). And I wanted to write to him about how frustrated I am with how stubborn he is, and how one of his main lies (that "negotiations have been going on for weeks") is just so painfully offensive to all of us he is actively ignoring, and contradicts the promise he made to us at the start that he's yet to break: "I will not negotiate...because there's nothing to negotiate."  I'm tired of hearing him publicly disrespect public schools and educators, and education in general. I'm tired of hearing him lie about how Wisconsin is "broke" and the only solution is to make life easier for the rich and harder for the poor.  But mostly I'm tired of him not listening.  I'm tired of writing letters that I know he'll never read, or that maybe one of his staff will snicker over before deleting it or doing whatever other trick they do to pretend the great majority of their feedback is positive. And I worry that the people who ARE reading these letters are people with whom I already agree, which makes them seem pretty useless, even if they satisfy my own need to shout into the void.

So I was forced to do a little meta-epistolary thinking, about why I'm writing these letters at all, and to whom, and why they matter. Obviously, I want Scott Walker to read them. He's what we call my Primary Audience. He is the literal recipient of every single letter - I am really sending these to his office, and  most of them to the Fitzes, too. What you see is what they get.  But the secondary, and actual, audience is much more abstract for me. Am I just preaching to the choir, trying to get a laugh out of a few of my friends, or am I really trying to persuade the people who need persuading most?  Or both? Or am I just writing out of a need to hear the sound of my own voice, and convince myself that this isn't a total waste of time?  What kind of "action" is this? How, if at all, is it effective?

The rallies are effective: the world cannot ignore a screaming mob.  The recall efforts are effective: we have a legal right to depose unfit officials.  The boycotts are effective. The local efforts are effective: when we talk to parents, talk to teachers, talk to neighbors, talk to local administrators, we spread the word and our solidarity grows, and the movement grows stronger as people realize that we ARE the majority, and they cannot dupe us into silence by claiming we "don't represent the majority of taxpayers of Wisconsin" (another of Walker's favorite lies...insinuating that anyone opposed to him doesn't pay taxes and claiming we're a minority in one swoop. Clever). But how much difference can writing an letter - even an open letter - make?

I don't know. But I know there's a Snail Mail the Governor movement that's encouraging people to let their voices be heard by flooding the Capitol with letters.  And I know that the Attorney General's office has stated that it only takes seriously complaints in writing, indicating that they care little to nothing about public protests. And I know that writing a letter forces you to make choices about what issues are most important to you, and to educate yourself, and present a defensible argument. And it allows you to tell your story in a way no one else can. One of the most poignant examples of this is in a blog by Dorinne Green, in which she presents an open letter to anyone who will listen about the direct - and potentially fatal - effects of Scott Walker's budget bill on her own life. I have links to other powerful open letters on the right column of my blog, and am happy to post any that are sent my way.

Writing open letters is both an expression of solidarity and an attempt to make sure that every voice is heard. Letters to public officials are open records, and they tell not only your officials but the larger community that you have taken a stance. Governor Walker settled a lawsuit this week before he could be found guilty of withholding these records from the public, after making a highly suspect public claim that the "majority" of some 8000 emails they received at the start of the Cheddar Revolution were "in favor" of the budget bill.  The media now has access to those emails, as it should, and can begin the process of sifting through to see what voices do emerge, what stories are being shared, whose lives and families and jobs and futures are being directly effected by these decisions.

My "toolbox" isn't full of money. It's not full of much else, either. So letter writing is one way I can take action. Because I believe our voices matter, every voice matters. But our voices are most powerful when they come together. 

Together, we can force a recall, or - who knows - maybe even a resignation (one stays hopeful). I think we can create a forum here for open letters of dissent that might make a difference.  Because my voice does matter, and so does yours, even if Scott Walker never reads a word of this. But not everyone might think being a little mean, and phrases like "moral rectitude" are funny,  so my voice is not enough. I invite you to send me your letters, other open letters you've read, or links to your own blog or page, and I'll share them with my own. By putting our letters together, we can make a statement: we are not the minority, and we will  not be silenced. We can rally together, we can write together, we can work together and make a difference. Either way, let's not stop raising our voices - together. Please don't be shy about sharing your voice, and pass on this invitation to others who might like to join us.

Resignedly yours,

cc: Scott Walker

Update (18 May 2011): Check out this new website - more open letters to Scott Walker!

There's another new venue for posting open letters to Scott Walker and I can't recommend highly enough that you check it out: Dear Governor Walker,. This page contains letters from people of all walks of life and covers a range of perspectives, tones and issues. A very worthwhile way to spend some time getting informed of the issues about which Wisconsin citizens are most passionate.

This is a blog set up by our friends at Wisconsin Public Employees Against Walker's Attack on Workers' Rights. You can RSVP to write a letter to Walker to post on this page  on facebook here.

Tools, and Schools

16 March 2011
Dear Mr. Walker,

I think today marks a great step forward in our commitment to work together: After you lied at your press conference today about school administrators supporting your public education-killing budget bill, the School Administrator's Alliance immediately issued a very promising statement regarding your proposals. I am confident that reading this will make you change your mind, considering that we clearly both equally respect Mr. Forester and the group of educated professionals he represents, people who know the state education system inside-out and as well as or better than anyone else, since they serve on the front line as administrators who are in constant contact with teachers and see first-hand the effects of legislative policy in the classroom and beyond.

Mr. Forester's statement could not make their position more clear: "Wisconsin administrators are united in their opposition to Governor Walker's agenda of privatizing Wisconsin education." While this must surely sting a bit, having just outright lied about this to the people of Wisconsin, I don't think there are two ways to read that statement, duplicitous as you are and crafty as you might be in trying to turn truth into lies to fit your political goals.  He goes on to say that your agenda "is simply not in the best interest of Wisconsin children," something teachers, principals and staff at every public school, and anyone who's actually read your shameful budget bill and SB-22 already know.

The Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Education, Dr. Tony Evers, has very clearly stated the many, many reasons why your agenda betrays Wisconsin children and stands to destroy our education system. The Wisconsin Education Association Council has been working tirelessly to ensure that parents and teachers are aware of the lasting ramifications of your plans for the future of our state.  Leading education policy analyst and Bush administration Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch minces no words in declaring how disastrous your plan will be to our schools and our children. I have friends and colleagues who are educators and administrators from preschool to college age.  I have children in Sun Prairie public schools. And I do not know a single person among them who supports your agenda. Not one.  The entire educational community of Wisconsin, regardless of their party affiliation, stand united against the harm your bills will do to this state, and ignoring their sage advice is tantamount to treason: you are intentionally attempting to enact legislation that will harm the people of Wisconsin, the people you have taken an oath to serve. You went on and on in your press conference today about how you're providing "tools" that will create jobs, improve education, benefit the state. Well, Mr. Walker, teachers know a tool when they see one.  And Sondy Pope-Roberts is right: what good are is the toolbox you're forcing on the Wisconsin education system when "all [the] tools are hatchets?"

It's very clear, Mr. Walker, that you personally do not hold educators in high esteem. This has been evident in the condescending way you speak of them, the way you ignore their voices and refuse to communicate - much less negotiate - with them.   It's evident in your strange and deeply personal disdain for higher education, as a college dropout who endured his first political humiliation in a public forum of people better qualified and more intelligent than himself.  These are your issues, and they're publicly available for all to see.

But I don't think we have to dwell on the sorry, sorry state of your personal affairs.  That will lead us nowhere. Now that we're working together, I think, as I said at the start, that this provides an ideal opportunity for you to do some of your razzmatazzing and spin today's press conference into your new, pro-education self.  You can just apologize for having "misspoke" and say that you were in error: Wisconsin educators don't so much "support" your bills as "vehemently and very publicly oppose" them.   And you can add that after careful reflection, and taking into consideration the partnership of concerned citizens like me (fine with me if you use my name - the press loves when you know some random citizen's name. That'll look good), you've decided that your measures are perhaps a little draconian. And maybe it's not necessary after all to defund public education while we increase public funding to vouchers which have been proven, time and again, to be ineffective at raising test scores or improving education among the populations they should benefit. And that we really can't show teachers the respect they deserve if they don't have a right to have a voice in their own workplaces. And that the children of Wisconsin really are the future of Wisconsin, and that we want that future to be bright, and stable and strong.

It's easy; just apologize, tear up the budget bill and start over, in collaboration with both Democratic and Republican legislators, and listening to educators, administrators, policy experts and your constituents. That is, after all, what you were elected to do.  The only other option, really, is to resign.  And that option does have its charms: think how pretty that resignation letter would look on a teacher's desk next to the poison apple that is your budget bill.  You have shown us yet again that you don't give a cheesy curd about us or our children, or the future of this state.  Willing as I am to work with you on this, I really wonder if you're up to it.

Until you resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane

Open Letter to J.B. Van Hollen: Stand up during "Sunshine Week"

Note: This letter is modeled on, and highly plagiarized (with permission) from Philippa Bergmann's excellent letter to Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen. I stand with Ms. Bergmann in calling on the people of Wisconsin to demand Mr. Van Hollen fulfill his duties as Attorney General - particularly after his declaration of "Sunshine Week" to celebrate transparency and citizen oversight of government. Van Hollen, a Republican, has been audibly silent during the past few weeks as Republican legislators and Scott Walker continue to violate Wisconsin law in forcing their (shared) political agenda through the legislature.  Please take action by calling and/or writing to Mr. Van Hollen yourself: Phone: (608) 266-1221. Fax: (608) 267-2779. Email:  (I might add that this  email address has been recently removed from the DOJ website - nice transparency, huh?)
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
15 March 2011

On February 28th, you wrote an address to the people of Wisconsin, the people you serve, the people who elected you, about this particular week, March 13th-19th, a nationally-proclaimed "Sunshine Week" highlighting the wonders of the transparency of a democratic government:

                "March 13-19 is Sunshine Week. This national initiative commemorates the transparency and citizen oversight so essential to our democratic system of government. Compliance with our state Open Meetings Law and Public Records Law is an essential duty of all Wisconsin government agencies, officials, and employees.

                As Wisconsin’s chief law enforcement officer, I bear special statutory responsibility for interpreting and providing advice about our Open Meetings Law and Public Records Law. I have committed the Department of Justice to educate government personnel and members of the public about these important laws, and to facilitate compliance with their requirements."

This is a fantastic idea and one can only assume you will celebrate your public display of honoring your statutory responsibility by enforcing the recent and very public infractions of these laws that have been committed by Republican members of the Wisconsin legislator, most notably in the illegal vote on Assembly Bill 11 on March 9, 2011, at which Minority Leader of the State Assembly, Peter Barca, read aloud YOUR OWN memo while the rest of those present simply ignored the law and participated in the illegal vote.  Senator Scott Fitzgerald and Representative Jeff Fitzgerald presided over these hearings with an arrogance and lack of respect for the law that was horrifying to watch. I personally watched this unfold, live, and could not believe the abuse of office and abuse of power I was witnessing. As Attorney General, you have clearly not gone far enough yet to “educate government personnel…and to facilitate compliance” with these laws. It is now required of you that you uphold these laws by holding those who violated them accountable.

Mr. Van Hollen, the entire state watched these events unfold. The entire world is watching. The video of these events records this explicit violation of the Open Meetings Law for all to see. Formal complaints have already been filed by Minority Leader of the State Assembly, Peter Barca, Mayor of the City of Madison, Dave Cieslewicz, and County Executive Kathleen Falk, which provide evidence of even further violations of State Law by the Republican legislators. 

You cannot sit by idly and pretend these abuses have not occured. As you say, Mr. Van Hollen, you bear special responsibility in regards to these important laws. Please stand up to your pledge to serve the people of this state and to uphold transparent democracy.

I am also extremely concerned over the following, which seems to indicate that a conflict of political interests may be preventing you from doing the job you were elected to do:  During his widely publicized telephone conversation with an imposter Governor Scott Walker presumed to be David Koch, Mr. Walker stated that he had the Attorney General's office "looking into" strategies to force the 14 Democratic Senators to return. This constitutes a misuse of the independently elected office of the Attorney General for primarily political motivations.  

You have been alarmingly absent and silent since February, Mr. Van Hollen. It is now Tuesday, March 15th, Day 3 of National "Sunshine Week." Where is our "Top Cop"? 


Heather DuBois Bourenane
A Concerned Citizen of Wisconsin

Springing Forward: let's work together

Dear Mr. Walker and Mr. Fitzgerald,

Wow. Look how far ahead we've sprung already! THANK YOU to the people of Wisconsin for proving to the world that your momentary victory in the legislature does not translate into a victory over the people. You cannot ignore us forever! You have, in fact, a moral and legal obligation to represent us. So let's start working together. I have a few ideas on how we could do this most effectively, while being respectful of our rights to speak freely and openly about our many political disagreements.

First, it would be helpful if I could get a schedule of all of your public speaking engagements, so I can join the other Walker stalkers and Fitzgeraldphobes to show my disdain for you publicly. I know you've been trying your best to avoid this by steering clear of Madison, entering and exiting the people's house through your secret (and, apparently, Republican only) tunnels, and attending events which you think only will be attended by millionaires and other people who support you (i.e. aspiring millionaires, their underlings, and the feeble-minded - by which I mean Tea Partiers). And you're doing a pretty good job avoiding that, actually. So I was really happy to see the warm reception Mr. Walker received at your northwoods fundraising hideout and then again at your Republican dinner in Howard. The shouts of "RECALL WALKER" and "SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!" can be heard around the world. Our new slogan: "Where he goes, we go." This way we don't have to worry about your weasly habit of pretending your detractors are only Madison liberals and other ne'er-do-wells, and we can make sure everyone knows how universally hated the two of you are.  So if you could send me your schedules (maybe on Sunday nights? so I could get the week planned out?), that would be great.

Second, I think another very effective way to work together would be if you could please stop breaking the law and defying the Constitution in abuse after abuse of power. For starters, as I've been saying all along, your attempts to take away our right to collective bargaining violate federal and international human rights law, which is a biggie.  And then there's Mr. Walker's continued attempts to misuse and abuse his powers by forcing the police to illegally serve as his palace guards, an act which puts both parties in legal jeopardy. And don't even get me started on the lying and other ethics violations - I'm sure you remember talking about those in other letters I've sent you.  But the email Mr. Fitzgerald sent today to the other Republican Senators really crossed the line. If you haven't read it yet, Mr. Walker, it went like this ( I copied and pasted the whole thing  - you aren't going to believe what he says!):

Sen. Fitzgerald: Email re: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees
From: Sen.Fitzgerald
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:52 PM
To: *Legislative Senate Republicans
Subject: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

Dear Members,

With the return of the Senate Democrats this weekend, questions have arisen regarding Democrat members’ participation in Senate standing committee public hearings and executive sessions.

Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.

Thank you,

Scott Fitzgerald
Senate Majority Leader
13th Senate District

Obviously, I find this troubling since Mr. Fitzgerald is clearly in contempt himself, if not outright breaking the law, by refusing to allow elected officials the right to vote and threatening to keep them indefinitely from exercising their Senatorial duties. I imagine we'll be seeing his resignation soon over this abuse of power, but in the meantime, I think it would be really helpful if you could just make a public call for that, Mr. Walker. Can you do that? Because I think putting some political pressure on him would help a lot.

Also, since I live in Senator Mark Miller's district, I'm wondering if all this means I don't have to pay taxes anymore, on account of no longer being represented.  Please let me know because I have some shopping to do tomorrow.  It would be a real shame to go back to the old days of taxation without representation. Wars are waged over such things! Class and otherwise.

Finally, I think it would be extremely helpful for both me personally and all of the people of Wisconsin if you could help us distinguish between when you two are taking your orders directly from God and when you're just doing what the Tea Party billionaires tell you to do. Because it's getting kind of confusing on our end, and I would hate to get mad at the Lord for nothing, when my anger should rightfully be directed at the Koch brothers, or the Menardses, or that Home Depot guy or whatever.  So maybe if you could start your speeches with "And then God said I should prohibit the Democrats from voting by forcing them to get id cards that I knew many of them would have difficulty obtaining" or "The Lord spoke to me, and said, Wisconsin will be much better off if we create a climate of hate and disrespect for teachers, seniors and children" or "I prayed on it, and God revealed that I should take the path toward corporate ownership of state resources."  This would clear up so much.

Thanks for listening, and I look forward to working together on this! Let me know if you need anything from my end! I could be very helpful in editing or writing resignation letters and/or public apologies, and I'm also very good at organizing things, reading, and listening to others - all trouble areas for you, so I think this will be mutually beneficial!

Here's to working together until you resign or get impeached,

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Welcome to the Wisconsin Renaissance!

12 March 2011
Dear Mr. Walker:

Yesterday, you staged a ceremony in which you symbolically killed the labor unions of the working people of Wisconsin.

Thank you, for giving us the chance to be reborn.  I cannot wait to get to work restoring the liberties and dignities of Wisconsin workers!

I'm out of town at the moment but have been assured that at least 100,000 of my closest friends will be in Madison today to send the message: Wisconsin is alive and well! The people are rising and the people will win - at the ballot box, in the workplace, and for the future of our children.  Forward!  Thanks, Mr. Walker, for the very hard push.

Forward! Until you resign,

Please resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane

P.S. My 11-year-old nephew, whose birthday we are celebrating this weekend, asked me to share this special message with you in honor of this great awakening: "Mr. Walker, you are stinky and smelly. You smell."

Waterloo, Wisconsin

11 March 2011

Dear Mr. Walker:

Today you ignored the facts, the advice, the arguments, the pleas and the tears of the smartest and hardest working people of this state. None of us will forget it. And we will pay the price for years to come.

Today we refocus our efforts toward your recall and preventing the passing of the rest of your budget bill, to salvage what we can for public education, public health, and public services.

You may think you've won, that you've already sold it, but Wisconsin is not for sale, and it's not yours for the selling.  You clearly count this as a victory, but Naomi Klein is right - this isn't your "air traffic controllers moment - it's your Waterloo."

Resign, before we resign you,

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Your resignation, and ours

10 March 2011

Dear Mr. Walker:

Today you proudly celebrated the darkest day in Wisconsin political history, demolishing 50 years of a great American tradition that began right here in Madison. Tomorrow you will sign that darkness into law (assuming your lawyers let you do so). And you'll go before the cameras, and lie again to the people of this state about how ripping away the rights of workers will help create jobs. You'll make snide remarks about "doing their jobs" and putting government to work. You'll refer again to your manufactured crisis and pretend the only way to fix it is if those of us who already give the most give more. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.

Today, I read your sophomoric drivel in the Wall Street Journal, which was basically just lifted from previous speeches, and full of misleading examples that you don't support with any evidence whatsoever. I heard you applaud the illegal vote, the unannounced meeting, the devious way your legislators weasled this bill through. I heard your idiotic admission that the bill is a fiscal measure, providing the illegality of voting on it without a quorum. I heard you, yet again, directly oppose "hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin" to "government employees" as if we don't also work hard, or pay taxes, or deserve to be referred to as citizens of this state.

I went to the Capitol today, twice. I saw a few thousand people, many of them teary-eyed, singing the national anthem. I saw video of elected officials being once again barred from entering their workplace. I watched live as the Assembly passed this bill in just as disgraceful and shameful a manner as the Senate did last night.

And I saw something new in the faces of the people of Wisconsin. A controlled and courteous anger, to be sure, but that was already there. What I saw today was resolve. I saw people who are angry, and determined and strong, and are resigned to not give up this fight. We will succeed in our recall efforts. We will win at the polls in April. We will restore Wisconsin to its rightful Blue State status and reclaim the rights that so many people fought, and even died, to protect. We will ensure that schools, BadgerCare, SeniorCare, are sufficiently funded, since we know what matters most. We will insist that those who can most afford to pay their share. And we will see your political career go down the toilet. The bill, however, we won't flush. We'll recycle that, like good lefties do. Because we're also taking back our recycling program.

Shame on you, Mr. Walker, and shame on the Republicans who voted with you.

Please resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane


Shame! Shame! Shame!

9 March 2011
Mr. Walker, Mr. Fitzgerald, and all of the Republican Senators (excepting Dale Schultz) of Wisconsin:

Shame on you.

Shame on you for your "childish stunts" that have "tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate," as Mr. Fitzgerald - without any sense of irony or dignity - accused Senator Mark Miller for standing up to defend the rights of the citzens of Wisconsin.

Shame on you for thinking you can defy the law, reject the Constitution, ignore the voices of your constituents.

Shame on you for your cowardly actions, your subversive and disastrous efforts to put your own agendas before the needs of the people of Wisconsin.

Shame on you for hijacking the people's house and abusing your power at every turn.

Shame on your for attacking the rights of hard-working, tax-paying citizens and treating them as if they were less than human.

You have brought shame to our state and the people will not stand for it. If you thought we were fighting this bill before, get ready to see some REAL peaceful protesting.  The collective bargaining blow is beyond the pale, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. I will see you at the Capitol tomorrow.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Your political agenda, your phony emails, and a plan for action

9 March 2011

Dear Mr. Walker and Mr. Fitzgerald,

Today Mr. Fitzgerald finally admitted on national television that the motivation behind your undemocratic and unlawful attempts to push your bill through using a phony "crisis" is entirely about destroying the unions for the purpose of eliminating their funding to the democratic party and thus (potentially) harming President Obama's chances of reelection.  Your idiotic "masterplan" is finally exposed for public scrutiny, even though we knew all along this was your intention. (I'm calling it "idiotic" not just to be rude, but because (1) it's so stupid, and (2) it will never work. We will not stop fighting. Ever.)

Now that your political agenda has become impossible to deny, perhaps some of the few Wisconsinites who still remain duped into thinking any of your budget bill will be of benefit to this state (except, perhaps, for the 100,000 Wisconsin millionaires who will likely remain loyal to this self-serving bill) will wake up like the rest of us. It could not be more obvious that you care more about advancing your agenda than the citizens - or future - of this state.

Mr. Walker, I don't believe for one minute that the select emails you let "leak" yesterday show a sincere readiness to compromise.  You have, in every press conference and every other communication, made perfectly clear that you have no respect or consideration for Wisconsin workers.  You have made even more clear that you are unwilling to negotiate or concede any point.  And Mr. Fitzgerald's letter to my own Senator, the Honorable Mark Miller, shows a lack of professionalism and disrespect that nearly rivals the venom of my own correspondence with the two of you. But let's keep in mind that I'm a righteously indignant private citizen and public employee; you are elected officials and are obliged to uphold an oath that requires you to uphold the Constitution of this state and behave publicly in a manner befitting of your offices. It's clear that you are in violation of those oaths, and the increasing evidence that you put party politics before the good of the state is further tantamount to treason.   For these reasons, and the many more I have outline in prior correspondence, I demand that you resign.  Preferably, immediately, but if you want to wait until after this weekend, that would be ok, I guess, because I heard Michael Franti and Spearhead might come to Madison to support the rights and freedoms of Wisconsin workers and citizens, and it would be a shame to have to cancel that. So maybe you can just announce your intent to resign today, and we can take care of the details on Monday.

Looking forward to it,
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Taxpayer, voter, and outraged citizen of Wisconsin

P.S. Aren't you glad God didn't tell you to fire the snow plow drivers yet?! Turns out we did need them again after all! I told you the Lord works in mysterious ways!

Happy International Women's Day (and other reasons you should resign)

8 March 2011
Dear Mr. Walker and Mr. Fitzgerald,

First off, Happy International Women's Day! You must feel pretty good on a day like today, because if it wasn't for men like you we wouldn't even have a day like this in the first place.  But, thanks to measures like your misogynistic attempts to ban women from obtaining reproductive health services and banning insurance companies from covering birth control, we still need to take at least one day a year to remember that women aren't just oppressed "internationally," but also right here in the good old USofA. So thanks! This day's for you!

More importantly, though, I'd like to address a claim that both of continue to make, that's really been bothering me. It has to do with your absurd contention that the protesters in Madison and throughout the state are "outsiders" - either some shadily ominous union messengers or representatives or equally frightening White House goons hell-bent on winning the next election.

There are a few reasons why this is total br*t@wr*st, and I think we can agree on the first one, which is, obviously, that it's a lie. The people who stand united against you are not "outsiders." They are tax-paying citizens of Wisconsin from all bents of life and political perspectives. They are laborers, teachers, nurses, police, librarians, students, daycare providers, parents of students in public schools, members of the clergy, doctors, fire fighters, lawyers, professionals of every sort. They are, in short, a perfect cross-section of the diverse population of Wisconsin and every time you imply that they are not, you insult each and every citizen of this state. Which is very, very rude of you, considering the stature of your respective offices, and your mutual disrespect for honesty and the people of Wisconsin.

The other reason this is so troubling, though, has to do with your repeated attempts to position the public outrage over your budget bill as an "us vs. them" - "union workers vs private sector," "public employees vs taxpaying citizens" debate. It's not. First, because everyone knows that this is a specious and superficial claim, and you hate public and private unions equally, in any case. And secondly because public employees pay as much tax as anyone else and contribute entirely on their own to their pensions.  Trying to dupe the rest of the public into thinking otherwise is duplicitous and immoral.

Further, by insisting that this debate is hinged solely on the question of unions - and particularly the collective bargaining rights of public employees, you very manipulatively turn our attention away from the myriad ways this bill gives rightful cause to revolt:  Your hijacking, for instance, of BadgerCare, SeniorCare, Medicaid and public power plants. Your misappropriation of public funds to pay for rich kids to attend private and charter schools even as you gut the public education budget to absolutely inhumane levels.  Your hateful treatment of women by turning back the clock on all our progress in reproductive health.  Your gutting of our state's exemplary recycling programs and other environmental efforts. Your careful manipulations of measure after measure, and the sneaky and undemocratic way by which you've tried to force them through ARE the heart of these protests.  It's not, as we've said so many times, about the money. It's about our rights. 

Today, Mr. Fitzgerald, you had the nerve to say "We're no longer dealing with the people who have been in and around the Capitol." Well, I've been in and around the Capitol like crazy the past three weeks. I live here, I pay taxes here, and I work here. I'm not going anywhere.  And I'm sick and tired of the two of you lying about the people of Wisconsin - to our faces, and to the world. One day, you will have the right to remain silent. But that day has not yet arrived. While we wait for it, I suggest you apologize to the people of this state for insulting their justified objections to your immoral budget.  It could be a joint press conference or something. And at the end you could surprise everyone with a joint resignation. You'd go down in history! What greater gift could you give the people of Wisconsin?

Well, enjoy the rest of your Women's Day! I hope my children live to see a time when this day really is a celebration of women, and not just an asterisk in the grand narrative of entitlement of people like you. And I look forward equally to the day when they thank me for publicly calling for your resignation, and fighting for what is right and what is true.

Please resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane

The Great Creator called: You're fired.

7 March 2011
Dear Mr. Walker,

Let me first say, that I didn't start this day out being angry. I started it, actually, feeling slightly contrite, and even a little silly, for having publicly referred to you as a "jackass" on the same day that I took a civility pledge I could not keep. I was even making mental revisions as I got the kids ready for school, thinking "how can I soften that a little and yet still show the same level of contempt and total lack of respect I have for this man?"

Later, I was feeling, I have to say, pretty good. I wrote a little bit for my blog before work about the amazing spirit of solidarity and awareness shown by the people of Wisconsin. I read the FANTASTIC news that two lawsuits have been filed against you - one demanding you provide evidence of alleged "majority" of 8000 emails you received in support of your bill (ha to that! I think we all know very well what kind of letters you are receiving) and the other for ethics violations (obviously! kind of a no-brainer there, eh?) regarding your many abuses of power and violations of numerous Wisconsin statutes. I was, very briefly, elated.

Then three things happened that really soured my day, and I blame you entirely for two of them. First, I read an article that on the one hand explained a good deal of your idiocy, but on the other really, really infuriated me.  It was called "Scott Walker Believes He’s Following Orders from the Lord" and Matthew Rothschild wrote it for The Progressive. (The Progressive is a publication in which people write articles that are substantiated with evidence, and people read it to learn more about the world. It's pretty good. You should check it out). Anyway, in this article you are quoted as having said "I don’t believe God picks sides in politics. I believe God calls us to be on His side." And when I read this, it occurred to me that somewhere in the seemingly boundless depths of your entitlement, in the seemingly endless cavern that is your faculty of reason, you actually believe that you are on the "side" of God. That you actually believe, for instance, that God doesn't have a problem with letting the rich go untaxed while the poor are asked to "sacrifice." That God doesn't have a problem with eliminating social programs that help the poor, feed the needy, give medicine to the sick. That God, when it comes down to it, is actually telling you what to do and that “The Great Creator, no matter who you worship, is the one from which our freedoms are derived, not the government.”

Well, I have some unfortunate news for you, Mr. Walker. (1) God is not directing your every move. That honor belongs to your Tea Party puppeteers. And (2) as much as you try to use religion to wish away what you seem to think of as the "logical necessity" of social inequity, you cannot possibly suggest that the government doesn't want you to be poor, God does!  Your efforts to manipulate the faith of people to convince them that God, and not the government, is responsible for controlling the laws and structure of society hearkens back to an age before books. It is exceedingly clear to me that you have absolutely no grasp whatsoever of either politics or religion, and that you really, truly have no idea how civil society is supposed to function. And that is a very scary thing, considering you are currently in charge.

The second thing for which I blame you was slightly more predictable, but infuriated me nonetheless. And that was when you opened your shamelessly lying mouth at today's press conference. You not only tried to shift the blame for your big, disgusting mess onto the brave senators who dare stand up to your dictatorial megalomania by refusing to be bullied into passing your "budget" bill (I put "budget" in quotes here to indicate I'm fully aware that this bill has nothing to do with the actual budget and everything to do with your frighteningly misguided political agenda), but you also had the nerve to once again suggest that the Democratic Senators are involved in some (possibly illegal but about which you are just speculating and rumor mongering and have no evidence for) activities with the unions. This from a man who was caught blabbing like the new, unqualified hire that you are trying to kiss up to his boss/benefactor, (faux) Koch. When I heard this, I immediately regretted having felt regretful for calling you a jackass, and knew I must get right to work writing to you again to implore you to resign.  It's really the only option at this point, isn't it? Just go. We're so far past the point of having no dignity that it's embarrassing for all of us to drag it out. Please, Mr. Walker. Resign.

On that note, I'll just add that the third thing that spoiled my day really did have nothing to do with you, but I could not be more disappointed to see that it is actually snowing. Again! Thank The Great Creator that you didn't fire all the snowplow drivers yet. We might still need them tonight. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Until you resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Infuriated taxpayer, union member and state employee

Postscript:  3/8/2011 - I found the perfect soundtrack to this post in Matt Wisniewski’s third installment of his series of videos of the Madison protests, soundtracked by Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down"

What happened in Madison while you were at the country club

Yesterday's rally was full of these slobs.
6 March 2011
Dear Mr. Walker,

I was sorry to miss you yesterday, but pleased to see that the good people of Columbus gave you a fitting "welcome" as you once again avoided your gubernatorial duties for some country club hobnobbery with your teabagger supporters in yet another history-revising celebration of Ronald Reagan. 

I'm guessing you probably choose to avoid the gazillion images of protesters in Madison, and I'm sure you heard by now that the Koch brother-funded "Americans for Prosperity" bus tour was a total wash, so let me fill you in on some of my favorite signs and scenes from the rally in Madison yesterday, which generally sum up why you are so universally hated by anyone who both thinks and has read your public-school destroying, union-busting, environment disrespecting, woman-hating, working-class tromping bill:
  • 100% of teachers are more educated than Scott Walker
  • Don't use my taxes to send rich kids to private schools. Fund public education.
  • Save Recycling. Trash Walker.
  • I am not a slob
  • We will never go away
  • Care about educators like they care for your child
  • Not union, not public employee, but also not insane, not cruel, not greedy, not rich, not misinformed. KILL THE BILL.
  • Why does Scott Walker hate my teachers?
  • I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Walker's "Silent Majority"
  • Wisconsin is not for sale
  • Walker's report card: High-speed rail, F. Public education, F. Plays well with others, F-.
  • Stop the war on workers
  • Leadership, not dictatorship
  • Negotiate, not legislate
  • This is what democracy looks like
  • Democrats think the glass is half empty. Republicans think the glass is theirs.
  • You shame us.
  • The people, united, will never be defeated.
I saved that one for last because it was my own, and because it is true. The hard-working, tax-paying people of Wisconsin, Mr. Walker, will continue to stand against you until you renegotiate this bill, or (and, again, I can't stress this enough - preferably) resign. 

Resigning would save everyone a lot of trouble, since the recall is inevitable and you don't stand a chance. Quit now, like your hero, Sarah Palin. I'm sure your friends the Koch brothers could chip in for your spin machine to make this move attractive to your poor, deluded "base" (and I use the term base here in the most derogatory way; it has two meanings, look it up). Maybe you could go be a lobbyist or a FOX "news analyst" or something. Or maybe you want a break from the public sphere, until things cool down and people stop comparing you to Hitler and Hosni Mubarak, or at least until my four-year-old daughter stops describing you as "you know, Scott Walker, that guy with the mean face who locks the people out of the Capitol." I'm sure you can find some new work out there. Not as a teacher, of course, since you don't have a degree, but there should be plenty of job opportunities around here once we get our Blue State status back.  Maybe you can help build the high-speed rail.

And just think of it, once you resign, you can spend even more frolicking at country clubs while working people suffer, and not have to feel guilty about it, or receive unpleasant emails from perfectly good people who find you so deplorable, so thoroughly revolting, so wholly unqualified and incompetent, that they cannot even address you without feeling slightly nauseous, and infinitely furious.

Until you resign,
Heather DuBois Bourenane
The cheese, united, will never be defeated.
We know you're not from Wisconsin, but has anyone seen the actual birth certificate?