At a rally here to recall my State Senator Glenn Grothman, people told me of changes in their lives since Scott Walker arrived. I heard about friends who no longer spoke to one another, and sleepless nights for public workers wondering how to make up a shortfall of hundreds of dollars per month. Twenty-something Austin was there--as he was in Madison--to "fight a good fight," showing support for his mom, a public school teacher. There were stories about educators with family members that openly express derision towards teachers and public education, sentiments that weren't even in the conversation three months ago. And I thought of the distrust and the acrimony of the Supreme Court election, and the misinformation that spews daily on the Internet.
Republican Abraham Lincoln once said, "A house divded against itself cannot stand." Republican Governor Walker recently said, "Sometimes, bipartisanship is not good." To those ends, Walker has continued to divide, not unite. As a result, we'll have maybe nine recall elections this summer. I can't imagine that will initially bring anyone together.
I spoke with a Walker backer protesting the Grothman recall rally, a very nice guy named Mike. He's been laid off a painfully long time, hoping for the promised creation of jobs, and tax rates that won't take any more out of his already-too-empty pockets. His parting comment was,"They talk about jobs and unemployment--both sides--and to them, I'm just a figure, and I'm not. I'm a real person."
And I couldn't help but hope that no matter which side ends up running the show, they remember Lincoln's words and not Walker's, that instead of dividing, they work to unite all of us, public workers like me and nice guys like Mike.
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