Walker's still here. And so are we. Let's make the most of it.

16 June 2012
Dear people who wish we would go away,

I'm afraid you haven't heard the bad news, or perhaps it just hasn't fully sunk in yet: Scott Walker is still our governor.  And that stinks. To put how much this stinks into perspective, think of it this way: Scott Walker still being our governor stinks as much to me as my exercising my right to free speech stinks to you.  Really. That much.  So we may have something in common after all: mutual agony and frustration.
 Anyway, Scott Walker still being our governor actually means we won't be going away. It does not mean, as some of you seem to have hoped, that we will now stop caring about the abuses of power and threats to our livelihood and our future that this administration has made inevitable. In fact, we will probably be speaking out much more than if Scott Walker was no longer our governor, on account of the dramatically increased need for citizen vigilance and people to stand up for our schools, kids, needy, unemployed, underemployed, homeless, working poor, working not-poor, public sector workers, private sector workers, small business owners, teachers, librarians, women, people with disabilities, people without insurance, people who can't afford the insurance they do have, people who wish they could get their share of the federal foreclosure money they should rightfully receive that was siphoned off by the governor, people who can't afford the new college tuition increases, people who care about the environment, people who care about the deficit we're kicking down the road, people who care about a return to civility, people struggling to make ends meet, and so on.

Let me give you an example of why I'm so sure we're not going away: the kinder, gentler Scott Walker just said that public union benefits are a "virus." That's right. One day after he hosted his Bipartisan Beers & Brats Lovefest of Lies & Deceit, he took yet another stab at the compensation public workers have paid into with their education, experience and negotiations over many, many years, in an effort to further the absurd lie that public employees are a blight - and a contagious one at that! - on society.

Not exactly the sort of healing talk we were looking for, or the sort of fence-mending we were promised on election night.

So, sorry. But I'm pretty sure we're not going anywhere for a while.  I propose we make the most of it by working together to move forward: let's all pay attention to what's really going on. Let's talk about it. Let's do something about it. Despite what our governor says, there is more to every issue than just "my way or the highway." There's middle ground to be found.  Scott Walker might not be interested in finding it, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have also to pretend to be myopic bullies. We can work things out, you know. That's what dialogue is for.

Your friend,
One of Many Concerned Wisconsin Citizens

P.S. Some of you, I know, are well aware that Scott Walker is still our governor. I know this because you keep saying "You lost! Get over it!"  To you, I just have to say this:  I can accept that we lost. But I will not accept being silenced.  Nor will I accept the assault on my children's education that continues to be waged as we speak, or the disgraceful attacks on their teachers that continue to come from the highest office in the state.  These are things I cannot get over.  But I might suggest that if you are so concerned about getting over things, you accept that you have won, and consider paying less attention to those who ideas you find so useless.  Or, you accept that we might actually have some room for dialogue after all, and approach our differences with respect.  That's all we ever really wanted in the first place.


  1. Far too many people have failed to recognize what we accomplished. We built a huge grassroots movement in just a matter of months, and we flipped the senate. And in just a few months, we have a chance to build our lead in the state senate, send Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, and kick Paul Ryan out of Congress. Stay engaged!

    1. I like the idea of finding middle ground. I don't think thie is the administration that will do that, unless things are changed in November. I mean we have to elect Democrats to the Assembly and the Senate. With a majority there, the GOP will control the message and the moderates aren't in control, so it is not going to happen without November.

      Has anyone else heard the show, "The Devil's Advocate" on the Mic92.1 on Saturdays? It is quite good.

  2. I admit I was quite depressed when Walker won the recall. I wanted to talk to other people and there were a few sites that I could go to but all of a sudden all these people (trolls) swooped in and bullied everyone, we couldn't have a conversation because we had to keep defending ourselves. I finally gave up and left. They are so hateful thanks to Walker's divide and conquer, which is really sad. They can't realize that they will suffer along with everyone else because of Walker. Some didn't like it because the Fab 14 left the state and others believed that we acted like little kids and wanted him out for getting rid of collective bargaining. But it was so much more. I hate what's happening here, a state I never thought would end up like this. So, we do have to keep up the fight and hopefully we can change things by voting them out. But that is another problem. I believe that voting machines have to go. There should be hand counting of all ballots so we can know if we really lost or won.

    1. Trolls probably swooped in because they were on the payroll until the end of the week or something like that. I am sure there are people who love Walker so much that they read progressive blogs, just to gloat, but not that many. It is fine to take a break and then come back energized. Sometimes your heart, soul and mind need a break.

  3. I have my recall walker on the ready. As months go by and still no jobs or the first pubic lands are sold to mega rich land barons. Or the privatization of any state asset, schools, prisons, and programs handed over to private corporations to run, or ending of Badgercare, senior, family care. Bigger cuts than ever to schools. Now that he won all you here is the idiot people of the state spoke and he has a mandate to screw over everyone not white and rich. I will have whatever he does added to that hat along with. Don't look at me!

  4. I will rejoice in the day that Scott Walker is indicted. I can't imagine Tim Russell not spewing every sordid detail. He helped Scott Walker from the very beginning get to where he is. Now as he watches Scotty jet all over and become the Republican Idol, how bad do you think he wants payback?
    Just thinking about that, gives me the strength to keep going.

  5. Dear Heather:

    As a conservative I welcome your letter. I regret that some on my side might have been less than gracious in victory, but the whole recall process was something equally important to us, and equally emotional, it seems.
    In your letter I see the great desire for fairness and equality which lies at the heart of the progressive movement. But I would caution you that these virtues—like any other—when joined to partisan ideology become destructive vices. For example, on the right, we place a great value on family and tradition, but this makes the conservative movement somehow rigid and inflexible when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. I would suggest that the tone and substance of your letter suggests a similar problem with vision.

    You argue that the re-election of Walker requires more vigilance of the citizens. I would support more scrutiny, too. I believe that politicians perform better when they know we are watching. In your letter you list many groups who might need your attention under the Walker administration. This would be more sincere if your concern had been evident when Doyle was laying off teachers, increasing taxes on hospital beds, raiding the billions from the tobacco settlement, and rewarding his campaign donors with unlimited casino rights. To be honest, I’ve only read this blog once or twice, so I might have missed those posts, but the tone here makes me suspect that there were none.

    And that is the real problem. If you want to dissent in this modern period, you need to be a citizen and not a partisan. There are hundreds of partisans on both the right and the left, so one more makes no difference. None. To be a citizen would be different because it is much harder, much more painful, and often less pleasing to the audience. You cannot speak truth to only one half of power.

    And as a disclaimer I’ll admit that in any given conversation, I’m usually the one with the closed mind. At least I try to remind myself of that as often as possible. I guess you’ll have to take all this with a grain of salt.

    Here’s a challenge for the sake of conversation, however. I mentioned that one thing I find distressing about my fellow conservatives is their opposition to gay marriage. I think that if one wants a smaller government and more privacy, then government should get the heck out of marriage or at least allow people to choose. Is there anything you are troubled by within the state or national progressive movement?


    1. Thanks for the thoughtful response, Patrick. As a left-leaning independent, I totally agree with all of your comments about the need for non-partisan citizen dissent.

      The reason you do not see any blog posts critical of Doyle is that I started this blog in 2011, and was not particularly engaged with state and local politics before then. I really only followed national and international politics, and never even considered blogging. It wasn't until I realized what was going on in Fitzwalkerstan that I realized how important local government really is to my everyday life, and how important (and potentially powerful) citizen vigilance can be. My general feeling about Doyle could be best summed up as "meh." He seemed not to my eyes to be doing much of anything. I did admire Jessica Doyle, though, who seemed an extremely active and proactive advocate for Wisconsin and did a good job getting people involved in various projects.

      Troubles within the progressive movement? Where do I begin? I think messaging is catastrophic. Conservatives win here every time with their relentless and hollow repetitions of "faith, family, freedom." The progressive desire to research, reason, explain, define, understand, etc, gets in our way every time. We need to simplify the message, get to the heart of the emotional reason underlying our need to stand up for any given issue, and make the message clear. I also do not personally care for the intolerant way that many lefties reject pro-life arguments, and I think there should be more room on the left for the idea that human life is a human right; pretending that this issue is as cut and dry as many of us do really hurts the movement. And I know countless people who would otherwise be Democrats (and really should be, if they voted in their own interests) except for this issue. Don't get me wrong: I support the right of a woman to have a safe and legal abortion. But for the party of "human rights" to claim that this issue can be neatly dismissed as a matter of science vs religion oversimplifies a very complex issue. It's one of many examples (the one you raise about gay marriage is another great one) of places where we really cannot divide our positions neatly into partisan camps, but pretend we can anyway for the sake of picking sides. (And I think many righties, if they were being totally honest, should see this as another case of government intervention into personal affairs).

      Anyway, I am not a partisan person, even though the phony divide I bemoan above makes it harder and harder for me to imagine a Republican I would vote for. I remember the day after the election in 2010, crying over the loss of Russ Feingold (someone who consistently acts on principle over party), and thinking, "Walker? Who cares. Probably time for a Republican governor anyway. We can live with that. But how could anyone vote against Feingold?!" I've sure learned a lot since then.