my open letter by Laura Komai (originally posted at anthology)
Well, let's face it, my sister is the one who gets letters published in the paper. I can never pare things down enough. But I decided to take up the challenge from Monologues of Dissent. I am voting on June 5 to remove Governor Scott Walker out of office and here is why:
Since February of 2011, our store has sold over 23,000 buttons protesting the actions of Governor Scott Walker et al. I will grant that most people buy more than one button, in fact, ten buttons is probably the average. So perhaps we've only had conversations with 2300 people about the effects of Scott Walker on their lives. Nonetheless, certain patterns emerge which have only reinforced the sentiments that prompted us to make buttons in the first place.
Now, our dad sometimes laughs and says, "you should write Scott Walker a thank-you note for the ways that he has boosted your business this year." Ha ha. Do I thank him for making my customers so worried about their health care, their livelihoods, their children's education? Do I thank him for taking away the possibility of new jobs in reneweable energy sectors? Do I thank him for threatening the quality of our waters and other natural resources? No thank you.
Now, I know that there are those who will say that religion and politics should not mix, but I was raised in the United Church of Christ and my religion is a part of who I am. I will admit that I might have a simplified version of Christianity, but mine is fundamentally about: "whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do so unto me." That is about doing unto others as you'd have done to you, that is about justice and mercy and kindness, that is caring for those who might have nothing to give to you, and doing so because it is the right thing to do, not because of some eventual reward. In that respect, I find Scott Walker unChristian and in a way that is truly offensive to me. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, even about the existence of God, or about the value of the Church, but I DO expect people to adhere to some moral compass, whatever true north is for them. I find Scott Walker utterly lacking in such direction.
But fine, perhaps you believe that church and state should be separate. To that I would say that Scott Walker is also not abiding by the principles of state governance: accountability to taxpayers, transparency, the separate but equal branches of government. I believe that all of his actions to "balance the budget" are really just an elaborate shell game to move taxpayer money into the hands of a few campaign donors, to reward these few people at cost to public well-being and to the natural resources of our state.
My sister and I own a small shop two blocks from the State Capitol. We object to the actions of Scott Walker on some fundamental moral/religious grounds, but we also object on behalf of our customers. What we hear from our customers is that they are worried about paying their bills, they are wondering about their pension plans that they've been paying into all these years, they are worrying about budget cuts and layoffs. Worries such as those give lie to the notion that this state is "open for business." I have seen very little action from the office of the Governor to allay such worries.
I think above all, what I have learned from this last year, is our utter dependence on each other. We talk as if taxpayer is separate from state worker or consumer, but they are really all connected, if not residing in the same body. We as consumers and voters are an important part of the picture, the well-being of workers is intimately connected to the well-being of the state as a whole. Just ask whoever is in charge of collecting state income- and sales- taxes. Yet Scott Walker behaves as if the well-being of this state can be parsed out into little packages, appeased with tax breaks for a few corporations, weakened air- and water-quality rules for a few others, the promise of school vouchers for a few families, a few roads for some construction companies. Never mind that doing so threatens the livelihood of small businesses who depend on tourists swimming in clean waters, the education of the very many children who will still be in public schools, the need for our state to start facing up to the realities of climate change and the majority of people who will never make large campaign donations to be rewarded by tax breaks and special favors.
We ARE all in this together. We know it; Scott Walker seems unable to face up to the entirety of the state he was elected to govern. He is not fit to remain in office.