The View from the Trenches
Here in Wisconsin a few of us (well, not a few exactly, more like hundreds of thousands) are busy recalling Scott Walker and his intrepid sidekick, Rebecca Kleefisch (who believes that allowing gay marriage might lead to people marrying inanimate objects). And for once I wish the press would get things right.
Contrary to published reports, the recall is not just a bunch of union bosses and union thugs from in-state (or out-of-state) let alone “a group of big government union bosses” as Walker claims. But then, he also claims that this whole thing blew over months ago, that everyone is ecstatic now that we can see the results from his “reforms,” like our property taxes going down $8 a year while our students lose programs, class sizes increase and college tuition skyrockets. Deluded does not begin to describe it. But his delusions have been facilitated by the fourth estate.
I am not a union member. I have never been a union member. I am not a teacher. And I am not a public worker. I am one of those mythical creatures known as a “non-union thug.” And there are thousands of us. However, based on mainstream news reports, most people would never know it: Walker and his financial backers have successfully created the fiction that this is all about greedy public sector unions sucking the taxpayers dry.
That’s their story and they’re sticking with it. Like the newest Koch Machine ad now playing on a television near you (if you happen to live here), which promotes the myth that all Wisconsin’s woes, financial and otherwise, were due to unions, union scams, and the allegedly excessive wages and benefits of government workers, especially teachers, and announces “the facts show [Walker’s] reforms are working.”
The Kochs have successfully diverted attention away from the very real class war being waged against the middle class and the poor. As Warren Buffet noted, the rich are winning. They’ve made unions and union members into scapegoats, falsely depicting them to create an “us [taxpayers] against them [unions]” divisiveness. And the media has been happy to help them.
As Walker fights to stay in office, he has kept the spin going with a website – paid for with our tax dollars – that keeps the focus on those evil teachers and other parasitic public workers. (His list of “Reforms and Results”, which ignores the facts or distorts them, is disconnected from the grim reality now facing public education in Wisconsin as a result of Walker’s devastating cuts, which was confirmed in the recent survey results released by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators.) And the Kochs are doing likewise with the website “itsworkingwisconsin.com.”
Misleading misinformation will also come from the numerous secretive groups funded by a select group of the ultra rich, including the Kochs. Groups like Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, The Heritage Foundation, and many, many more.
Let’s blow away the Kochs’ smoke screen to reveal the truth.
People across Wisconsin are mad as hell. Scott Walker is all about private agendas and political payback. We know it and we’re tired of it. We’re tired of tax breaks for millionaires that the rest of us pay for through cuts to education and essential services. We’re tired of losing consumer protections. We’re tired of Walker rewarding his donors at our expense. We’re tired of his $300 an hour private attorneys at public cost, his cushy jobs for cronies, and his throwing the poor, the disabled, the elderly, students, children, women, the middle class and the environment under the bus all to benefit a chosen few. We’re tired of being lied to.
This is a man who hides from his constituents and last winter wouldn’t talk to any of the Democrats, but took a phone call from a man he thought was David Koch – and to whom he admitted he had thought about planting outside agitators among the protestors (bad enough) but didn’t, not because it was illegal or someone might get hurt, but because it might backfire politically (worse).
This is a man who condones running false candidates to force primaries, who condones violating court orders, and who condones end running the state and federal constitutions to pass dubious legislation designed to reward special interests.
For crying out loud, the feds are running a John Doe investigation into illegal Walker campaign activity in Milwaukee County that has resulted in an early morning FBI raid and key Walker staff members seeking immunity.
So yes, we are mad as hell. And we know it won’t be easy. Walker has access to an unlimited supply of Koch dollars. We face threats, violence, and felonious attacks involving recall petitions. Meanwhile, instead of denouncing such actions, and doing the right thing by condemning them and demanding that democracy be allowed to run its course, Walker remains silent. But we are determined. We are Badgers. And we want our government back.