4 June 2012. Recall Eve.
Dear Scott Walker,
It struck me, as I couldn't sleep last night stressing over all the things I could do to help get out the vote that I'm not going to have time for, that I probably wouldn't have time to write you again before you're no longer our governor, and I wanted to get this off quickly this morning as a sort of final farewell.
Writing to you has changed my life.
Before February of 2011, I held a romantic and delusional faith in the democratic process. I believed that representative government means that the main business of elected officials is to represent their constituents - openly, honestly, and with integrity, and that they were required to address the concerns citizens brought before them. I thought that's what open meetings were about, what public hearings were about, what correspondence and inquiry was for. That if you brought your concerns forward, they would be addressed. Maybe not resolved. But at least respectfully acknowledged.
You have made a mockery of these beliefs, and a mockery of democracy.
When I started writing to you, rather than address any of the very valid concerns I raised in my letters, you closed the door to open communication and transparency by simply ignoring me. I have, to date, received a grand total of zero correspondence from your office, despite my repeated requests for answers and responses to tough questions. When I asked you to come forward denouncing the threats that were being made to recall workers (including me and my family), you responded by mocking us openly, and repeating the same tired lies about how we were paid out-of-state agents, non-taxpayers, etc. And then you actively tried to stifle dissent by removing me from your E-Update mailing list, even though I repeatedly asked to remain on it to receive these crucial
taxpayer-funded campaign ads updates. When I told you that I was still receiving the updates at another mailing address, your staff magically (thanks google!) determined what that address must be and removed that address as well.
These actions are unconscionable. They show a contempt and disregard for democracy that should be in itself grounds for recalling you. And yet this is just one symptom of the chronic abuses of power and delusions of grandeur and untouchability that have marked your administration from the start.
I write to you today, then, as always, as a concerned and frustrated citizen, dazzled by your inability to represent the people you allegedly govern - to the extent that you have actually convinced yourself that fundraising counts as "governing." I write as a parent enormously concerned with your cuts to education and your attacks on working families, especially the working poor who depend on the public services you seek to deny them, like the 17,000 additional people who will be cut off from BadgerCare in the coming weeks. I write as a public worker, who, in the wake of you attacks on our rights and disregard for our need to earn a living wage, takes home 25% less pay this year than I did last year - for doing the exact same job (and then some). I write as a member of a friendly community who has seen first-hand what happens when the governor of the state demonizes educators and other public workers, and who refuses to stand by and let your incivility unravel the social fabric that gives our life meaning.
I write to you as someone who has been trying, for over a year now, to reach out to you in the only way I really can - by writing to you - and has been ignored, insulted and attacked. I write on behalf of the 400+ people on our local recall team who have been working tirelessly to see you out of office. I write on behalf of the 7900 people in Sun Prairie who signed the petition to see you recalled. I write on behalf of the 1,000,000+ Wisconsinites who said: we want our state back. I write as someone whose life has been transformed by seeing firsthand what democracy really looks like. And it's a beautiful thing.
I write because I want to say to you, directly: tomorrow, we take Wisconsin back. And it's going to be a beautiful day.
I'm going to need your new email address after that, I guess. At least until the indictment comes in. Then we'll just have to be old-fashioned pen pals because I don't think they let you have email in jail. Not sure how that works. Maybe your lawyers can let me know how to get in touch.
I'll look forward to that. Because forward is the only way I look.