I’m glad Scott Walker got elected.
The Occupy movement may have fizzled but while we were still alert, while we were still angry, our governor was busy acting like exactly the sort of man he was, abolishing collective bargaining rights for all unions in the state. Oh wait, did I say all unions? No, public safety workers were exempted–firefighters, cops, and the like. It’s almost like admitting that abolishing bargaining rights was the wrong thing to do, isn’t it? Everyone else got hit but the cops and firefighters, the ones even Walker relies on in potentially life-threatening situations, they were exempted.
This next bit is cut-and-pasted straight from the Wikipedia article on the 2011 Wisconsin protests. I think they managed to be quite succinct on this point:
“On February 23, Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy placed a prank telephone call to Walker claiming to be billionaire David Koch, one of Walker’s largest corporate supporters, who is often accused of trying to drive civil service unions out of government. During the 20-minute call, Walker discussed a method of getting the absent Senators to return, that he had considered placing agent provocateurs among the protesters, and that he spoke daily with like-minded Ohio Governor John Kasich.”
Yep. We had that on record. If you’re not familiar with the Kochs, they’re some truly dastardly people. Imagine you have so much money and so many properties and toys that you just can’t think of a single thing you still want. I know it’s hard, but try. You’ve got it all. What else can you even do with your money? Influence politicians to decrease regulations on your industry, block legislation for increased regulation or closing of tax loopholes, oppose worker’s rights, obfuscate the facts on global climate change, and just generally slow society down so we don’t progress. Whatever it takes to maintain and improve your profits. That’s really all you have left, and that’s exactly what the Koch brothers do.
For those of you who might not know what the term agent provocateur from the above excerpt means (aside from the fact that it sounds slightly malevolent), here’s a definition.
“An agent provocateur (French for “inciting agent”) is an undercover agent who acts to entice another person to commit an illegal or rash act or falsely implicate them in partaking in an illegal act. An agent provocateur may be acting out of own sense of nationalism/duty or may be employed by the police or other entity to discredit or harm another group (e.g., peaceful protest or demonstration) by provoking them to commit a crime – thus, undermining the protest or demonstration as whole.”
Thinking he had one of his largest corporate sponsors on the phone he went ahead and discussed a strategy that had been used time and again to discredit the Occupy movement in the eyes of the media. That’s openly showing contempt for anything the people of his state had to say! That single suggestion, moving to discredit, cuts out any room for dialogue with the concerned citizens he was supposed to be governing. He had already made up his mind and was moving into spin coverage–how do I come out looking the best without even considering the what Wisconsin thinks?
Well, we all know how that ended. And afterwards his slogan became “I Stand with Walker”. His primary platform became “I put down those rowdy troublemakers who were concerned about the skullduggery I was trying to pull, because I don’t put up with that shit!” Not surprisingly this ‘not putting up with shit’ attitude resonates with some people. The problem is that it vilifies not just the opposing political party, but everyone in between. Anyone who might have had a concern. Anyone in a union. In an increasingly broken bipartisan system he encouraged both sides to move further to the extreme, further from the middle where compromise can be made.
So that’s your trip down memory lane. After the protests and the failed recall and the shenanigans I gave up on politics for a while. I just couldn’t handle it. It was too much, and clearly they had too much money, and what could I do? I doubt this was the primary intention of Walker or the Koch brothers but I know it benefited them. I was too tired to care, and that’s the best place for a young person to be. Because we still have time to devote to learning about the issues and we haven’t been betrayed enough by politicians to expect it and let it happen. If we don’t care, the whole broken system wins.
I won’t get into Walker’s ethics violations or anything following those protests because I wasn’t paying attention. Other people are more qualified to speak on those issues, you should listen to them. What it comes down to is that we elected a man who basically ran on a campaign of “I don’t know anything!” into office and he’s been playing the Idiot ever since. Should we be surprised?
I have friends who say they don’t want to vote. Their vote doesn’t matter. They repeat slogans like “Whoever wins, we lose.” They say all politicians are corrupt. And maybe they’re right. I agree that the system is broken. I believe that our politicians all bend over the arm of the couch for corporations and the rich (but I hear that hundred dollar bills and thousand dollar checks make good lube, so there’s that). And I believe that no matter who we elect it is unlikely that things are going to get any better for us here at the bottom. Likely not in the next four years anyway.
But here’s the thing. All those other politicians, they fuck us slowly. Gently. They roofie us with bullshit and PR until we just let it happen. Walker stuck it in raw. Hard and fast. And laughed about it with his buddy Koch.
Wisconsin made international news coverage during those protests. Parts of the world who had never heard of our state know about us now, because of Walker.
So I’m glad Scott Walker was our governor. He showed us the caliber of politicians we’re working with. But now that our eyes are open, maybe let’s get someone into office who won’t cause over 100,000 people to storm our capital? Maybe let’s elect someone that might actually help, or at least try? I don’t know what the solution is for us. I don’t know how we’re going to fix this broken system. I do know that someone like Scott Walker is exactly the kind of puppet corporations like Koch want. Let’s take away one of their toys, then we’ll figure out what to do next.
Just get out there and vote.