Guest post: An open letter to Mr. Walker, the governor who refuses to govern

This letter was submitted as-is to the office of Governor Scott "Fundraising is Governing" Walker by Jed Williams, a proud Wisconsinite from Stevens Point, on Feb. 21, 2013. As citizens of Wisconsin have come to expect from the governor's office, no response was received.  I'm proud to publish it here with the author's permission, and hope it inspires others to continue to share their thoughts, concerns, and assessments of the governor's refusal to govern, so beautifully summed up by Mr. Williams when he explains why he refuses to address Scott Walker as "Governor:"
I would be glad to call you governor, Mr. Walker, if you chose to start acting like one. When you decide to represent your constituents, instead of punishing them. When you gain the backbone and intestinal fortitude to protect the poor, the underserved, and ones who were here first from those that see them only as dollar signs and obstacles in front of more dollar signs. When you decide that women are just as important as men. Then, Mr. Walker, I will be happy to call you governor.

At the time of this posting, the governor is busy not governing in China, while taxpayers are funding a grand "mission" with an entourage of nearly 40 people, crossing our fingers that our he doesn't sell off what's left of our jobs as fast (or as sneakily) as he's trying to sell off our land. Image source.
An Open Letter to Mr. Walker
Dear Mr. Walker.

No, I won’t call you governor and I will elaborate on that in a moment but that isn’t why I have chosen to speak to you today. I would like to tell you about my state.

My state is full of amazing people. It is a population that is unique in its simplicity. We work hard, try to do the right thing, and savor the world around us. We don’t spy on our neighbors; we invite them over for a beer on the porch after an honest day’s work.

My state has a history, such a grand history, as well. We were pioneers in the development of unions; leading to the creation of 40-hour work weeks, paid sick days, workers compensation (we even wrote the first policy for it in the insurance world!), and pensions that can support us in old age so we can watch our grandchildren grow up. We value education; so much that we have had a reputation. Employers from around the country, and even the world, would recruit our students right from graduation. They knew they were getting well-educated hard-working people. We have some of the best water the United States can offer. With a city consistently ranked as the best water in the country right in the middle of our state. Our water is so pure and clean that it attracted German settlers to immigrate in and set up breweries to make some of the finest ales, lagers, pilsners, bocks, draughts, stouts, weizens, and whatever other style of beer they can dream up. We respect each other, no matter how different each person may be. It never mattered if they were male, female, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, straight, homosexual, tall, short, skinny, or portly. We elected the first openly-gay person to the United States senate. We were able to live relatively stress-free lives. If a person we cared about lost their job we had good reason to believe that they would be able to find another one in a short time, and if it took a bit longer their family wouldn’t starve, wouldn’t have to skip vital trips to the doctor, and wouldn’t have to be publicly shamed just to get by when things got rough.

Now, to answer your question. I would be glad to call you governor, Mr. Walker, if you chose to start acting like one. When you decide to represent your constituents, instead of punishing them. When you gain the backbone and intestinal fortitude to protect the poor, the underserved, and ones who were here first from those that see them only as dollar signs and obstacles in front of more dollar signs. When you decide that women are just as important as men. Then, Mr. Walker, I will be happy to call you governor.

I know you have supporters. Those that would tell me if I don’t like what you are doing then I should leave. I would say to them, the weight of history is not behind them. It looms over me like a guardian, assuring me that I stand for what truly makes a society worth living in. I can point to the acts of those that came before me in this great state and respond “you are the interloper, you poison the bonds between neighbors, you rush to judge those different because you are uncomfortable both with them and with yourself. YOU get out of MY state.” And they may even consider it. They will see other states already with leaders that share your beliefs. They have been that way for a long time and will likely be that way for a long time yet. This state doesn’t have much history of supporting the type of leadership you have displayed so who is to say it will last? Maybe they should consider it at least. And they will. Then they will see that those states, the ones that boast of the same ideology that you possess, aren’t quite so attractive after all. Those states there are no jobs. Employers have no interest in those states because there are no good employees to hire. Who could blame them? The schools are so underfunded that they cannot teach properly. Their infrastructure is on the brink of failing. The landscape is littered and pocked by industrial giants without the leash holding them to a standard befitting a first-world country. They have to BUY clean water because their taps and wells are unsafe to drink.

This is the moment when they will realize, they don’t want to be in a state like that. This is the moment they will realize they don’t want to be in a state you have been pushing us towards. This is the moment they will realize it isn’t people like me, standing up and trying to use what tiny voice I have to protest your reign of terror, aren’t the problem. This is the moment they will realize that in just three years we went from a proud member of the region to being the punch-line of another governor’s speech. And this, Mr. Walker, is the moment you will lose them, for good.
A Proud Wisconsinite

Ryan Wherley: On MLK's Legacy and the Wisconsin Resistance

Another stirring guest post from my friend and brother in dissent (and 6 time MoD guest poster), Ryan Wherley, written on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers. Crossposted with permission from Wisco Wherls' Daily Kos post. You can find the original here

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 45 Years Later: 
Carrying on the Legacy
by Ryan Wherley

5 April 2013 

I originally wrote the portion of this piece below on Monday, January 21st after the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration in the Wisconsin State Capitol.  Why I didn't get around to publishing it at the time, I don't remember but I knew there was a reason I saved it as a draft.  45 years ago yesterday, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee while actively supporting striking AFSCME sanitation workers.  His legacy of advocating, speaking out, sitting in, standing up and getting arrested for civil rights, voting rights, peace, labor rights and social justice wherever inequity and injustice existed, will assuredly live on forever.

Over Labor Day weekend this past fall, I had the unanticipated, yet much appreciated honor to visit the memorial dedicated to Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.  The two of them are entombed side by side on a mini-island in the middle of a stunning and beautifully laid out reflecting pond.  The pond is fed by the soothing trickle of water running down gradually descending steps at the far end of the memorial.  It was so quietly tucked into the middle of his former neighborhood, mere blocks from the Ebeneezer Baptist Church where MLK rose to prominence with his fiery sermons and tireless organizing, that I didn't even know we had arrived until his tomb was literally right in front of me.  I stood there in stunned silence, taking in the magnitude of how close I was to the final resting place of such an immensely important human being who was able to accomplish so much in only 39 years on this planet.

I fought back tears while thinking about how much good he could still be doing today and how influential his indomitable will and message have been for me and countless millions of others.  At the same time, I couldn't help but think about the role he might have played in the Wisconsin Uprising, the Wisconsin Movement and the fight back against regressive, right-wing extremism sweeping across our nation.   In the chilly, earliest days of the Uprising in February 2011, Reverend Jesse Jackson, a close friend of Dr. King who was with him in Memphis when he was gunned down, told a nighttime crowd of 50,000 in Madison,"This is a Martin Luther King moment...a Gandhi moment."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 84 years old if he were still alive today.  Such a horrifically tragic loss that can never be quantifiably measured but will always be felt and forever raises the question of what might have been in a life taken far too soon.  But wherever people stand up for human rights, for civil rights, for those less fortunate and for a society that is always progressing and refuses to stand idly by in the face of injustice, the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. lives on.  Every time we sing "We Shall Overcome" at the Solidarity Sing Along, and every time my friend Callen Harty diligently heads into the Capitol Rotunda on a daily basis to sing those verses of protest in solitary solidarity, the memory and embodiment of what Dr. King lived and spoke about are never far away in mind and in soul. 

As Dr. King once said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."  Keep on fighting the good fight, brothers and sisters.  Forever Forward.

From Jan.  21, 2013:

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Margaret Rozga, the widow of Father James Groppi.  Father James Groppi was a priest and Civil Rights activist during the tumultuous 1960's in Wisconsin and was posthumously awarded the Martin Luther King Heritage award at today's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in the Capitol.  Her speech was amazing throughout and she exhibited great power and eloquence while skewering Scott Walker.  Without ever mentioning Walker's name, she pointed out that anybody who attacks voting rights, union rights or seeks to destroy the environment is NOT acting in the name of Martin Luther King and "does NOT stand with us."  But when she ended her speech by thanking groups like the Overpass Light Brigade, and the Solidarity Sing Along for carrying on the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and her husband, Fr. James Groppi, essentially extending the blessing of an entire generation of civil rights and social justice activists, I don't think I've ever smiled any bigger.  

Of course, at the end of the speech, she received a rousing standing ovation.  As the ovation rang throughout the Capitol, Scott Walker cowardly chose to remain seated, until his was the only ass still in a seat.  14 seconds later, he begrudgingly rose and shook her hand as she extended it upon her departure from the podium.  The difference between these two individuals could not have been more stark.  Here was a woman, quite small in stature, yet with enough presence and heart to fill the entire Capitol...and a man as powerful as any in Wisconsin yet so lacking in character, empathy and humility as to be the smallest man I've ever seen.  She told me that she had wished to extend the torch from her husband, who led 200 consecutive days of protests, to the "Solidarity Singers," and autographed the sign I had brought with me while adding: "the longevity record is yours now."   What I witnessed today reminded me of why we continue to fight and as long as injustice exists in any form, we will not be silenced  along the way and we will not go away.

Here is a clip of Peggy Rozga's speech at the Martin Luther King Day ceremony at the Capitol, courtesy of my friend, Nick Nice:

 This picture was taken at the MLK Day celebration moments after Walker took the podium to address the crowd and I along with other citizens throughout the crowd engaged in the now-annual tradition of turning our backs to the GovernEr in protest. This is also the same sign Peggy Rozga was kind enough to sign after the event. Photo courtesy of Whitney "Thid" Steffen

Jacob Barnes: A letter of appreciation to Scott Walker

Guest post from Jacob open letter to the governor, in appreciation of the helpful tools and in celebration of the upcoming memoir, Unintimidatedable: The Bully Who Couldn't Be Bullied.
Dear Governor Walker,

More than a year after your courageous stand against the tyranny of so many, I have come to realize and appreciate the improvements you have boldly brought to our state. At first, I didn't understand your reforms because of union thug intimidation and the liberal media's bias covering your actions in the State of Wisconsin. I apologize for protesting against your valiant ideals. I'm so sorry I allowed Madison liberals to coerce me into acting on their behalf, but I was poor and they paid protestors well.

After I was inside their cartel, fear of big labor bullying my family if I deviated from their communist agenda kept me on a terrible, terrible path. Terror forced me to serve a dark master, but now I see the error of my ways. I can never undo all those times we heiled Hitler, burned American flags and saluted Lennon in our secret meetings, but I can express my regret that I ever forsook your high moral standards.

I was also blinded by my dependence on government to provide a safety net while I struggle with a chronic, disabling illness. I realize now that I can just pull myself up by my bootstraps, acquiring the medication and care I need to get better without any help whatsoever. I see now that corporations depend on you for tax breaks, subsidies and liability reductions so they can have enough money after profits to donate to your reelection. I thank God that the millions of dollars they give to you go towards squashing those Marxist laborers, keeping you out of prison by funding your criminal defense fund and spreading your message of reforms all around the country.

It wasn't until you presented a new way of measuring jobs that I even began questioning the intense brain washing I endured at the hands of labor cahoots, dirty hippies and feminist extremists. When you said “We're just under 100,000” I KNEW it was working! It was working and I knew if you could stand up to blue collar workers, so could I! I would be 'Unintimidated' just like you!

Thank you Scott Walker for the $2 tax break! Perhaps next year, after I've sold everything I own and maxed out all the credit available to me, I will be able to purchase the medications I need and get better. Then I'll have enough taxable income to take advantage of that $2 tax break, if Big Labor assassins allow me to live that long. Maybe someday I'll even become a job creator! Imagine the tax breaks I could get then! Don't worry Governor, I will give back. I will help you become President of The United States!

I'm sorry I ever doubted you,

Jacob Barnes