A remarkable document dated July 4th 1776 is, by many standards, one of the world’s great manifestos of democratic rights. While it wrongly ignored the rights of women, slaves and indigenous people— basically everyone save land owning white males, it was a statement of fact, a statement of reason, a document to unite a people and declare unjust rule, government abuses and usurpation of power.
While Wisconsin is still a democracy, still reliant on a fair electoral process, one must question the tactics, political process and representation, or lack there of, in the current Walker administration.
While we are in not living under the “absolute despotism” that necessitated the Declaration in 1776, we are living under an administration that came to power by misrepresenting its intentions.
Perhaps too much reliance on campaign sound bites, perhaps too much money in politics, and perhaps voters who do too little critical thinking and research before they vote, gives voters what they think they want rather than what they really need.
Governor Walker is a master campaigner and as we have seen, a master at hiding his real agenda behind the happy face of a “regular guy” who promised to move Wisconsin forward.
He has divided the state, pitting workers against workers and often, family members against each other.
He has made clear his intentions to destroy labor unions in Wisconsin, in both the public and private sector.
He has cut funding for public education; primary, secondary, university and technical colleges.
He has initiated plans to cut $500 million from health care funding for the poor and elderly.
He has given tax breaks to the wealthy and corporate entities after declaring that the state was “broke”.
He has raised taxes on the working poor by over $56 million after promising to balance the budget “without raising taxes”.
He has presided over an economy that saw Wisconsin lead the nation in job losses over the past year while he claimed job growth over the same period.
He has restricted the people’s right of free assembly and the right to air their grievances.
He has supported a law that will suppress the voting rights of the citizens of Wisconsin.
He has stated he would like to restrict the right of Wisconsin citizens to recall an elected official, hypocritically ignoring his support for the recall of Wisconsin Senators Kohl and Feingold for their policy stance.
He has made it clear that enforcement of environmental protection laws are not a priority in his Administration.
He has established a legal defense fund to pay for his representation related to the criminal investigation of activities in the Milwaukee County executives office during his tenure.
Voters sometimes get what they want, sometimes get what they deserve, but seldom, it seems, get what they need.
Will Wisconsin voters, again, be swayed by the big money, the media sound bites and give the recall election to Scott Walker on June 5? If they do, Wisconsin will get exactly what it deserves.
Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin.