Thursday, February 17, 2011
Angry Mobs v. Governor Walker in Wisconsin (or how to run away from a fair fight)
I grew up in Oklahoma and as such, I was given the legacy bestowed upon me by me "Democrat" father. I place the word Democrat in parenthesis as his version of Democrat does not jive with the culture of today. I clearly recall my father being a hard working American man who would drive me through the northeast sections of Oklahoma City, pointing out the people who chose to sit on their porches instead of working. He called them many names. He routinely used the "N" word and referred to them as porch monkeys.
He told me his tax dollars were allowing them to live on their porches. I didn't understand his words at the time but I could taste his hate. I rebelled against it, arguing with him in my uneducated 11 year old brain. I insisted he could not understand their plight for he had not walked in their shoes. He told me they didn't need shoes on the front porch. (Insert internal soul-killing death scream here.)
Living in Wisconsin for the past ten years, working in a politically conservative environment, I have hidden my Democratic roots. I have been told many times, my actual philosophies align more with the Republicans and I know that is true when it comes to taxes, for God's sake, that was a real eye-opener moving up here. But, I have held onto my beliefs because I cannot stand the soap box diatribes from those that would like to condemn homosexuals, women who have had abortions and people who need a helping hand from time to time. I do not like to judge. I do not care for people who judge and I believe in extending an open arm to those who find themselves in need of a little help from their friends.
But today, I am ashamed to call myself a Democrat. I work hard for my money. My company has been forced to cut raises, bonuses, incentives, holiday parties, monthly luncheons, technology upgrades and staff. I have watched my co-workers walk to their cars with boxes in hand. I have endured annual increases on health insurance, with this year being the worst - nearly 40%. I am on my own, raising my children with no help, no support and my salary has regressed as raises diminish and health insurance costs rise.
Today I witnessed no less than 15 schools in the state of Wisconsin shut down because the teachers took a day off to protest at the state Capitol in Madison. Today I saw thousands of people demanding, expecting; nay, feeling entitled to a set of rights I have never been given, never offered, never even considered as a possibility. Today I am proud of our newly elected Governor because I believe sometimes you have to break necks to cash checks.
I am not ready to call myself a R....R...Re....Rep...Republican. I don't like labels. Never have, never will. But I want to say to that group of cowardly politicians that fled the state to avoid the new sheriff in town, you have shown your true colors and they are yellow. You were elected to stand up for us, not to run. I'm not sure if I've made this absolutely clear but I hate politics and hate is the strongest word in my arsenal. Imagine myself and my fellow senior managers catching wind of an uprising among the workers in our company. Let's say the accountants are feeling under appreciated during their busiest time of the year and they are screaming at us for the high cost of health insurance. They took pay cuts for two years straight and yet, they work harder than ever. But that is not going to happen because you know what? They have a job. They are employed and in this economy, they have accepted the sacrifices because the alternative is much worse.
Why then? Why do all these people march on the capitol of my state and insist they should be treated better than I, better than my co-workers, better than most of the hard working American citizens, including my late, misguided, uninformed father? Why?
I am at a crucible. My brain is telling me to write something my heart does not want to believe. Was my father right? Was my registered Democrat, Reagan hating father spot on in one respect? Should people be entitled to that which another is not? His characterizations were based on racist principles; those that my heart shall never embrace.
But today, it was not about race. It was not about poverty or privilege. It was about a man whom I formerly placed in the category of a cad. Not my father, but the former Milwaukee County Executive, now Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. I categorized him based upon my ex-husband's affiliation with him. "He is one of them". Just another politician, well spoken, family man - probably stealing money on the side or sleeping with staffers. I have met him, sat across a luncheon table with him, liked him and appreciated what he was doing for Milwaukee County but jaded I was. Jaded, for sure.
Jaded no more. For you, Mr. Governor sir, I respect. And God only knows how utterly difficult that is for me to admit.