This is an email I sent to Governor Walker and his Republican cronies around Easter:
Dear Governor Walker,
I came across 2 articles this past week that speak to the ugly and unnecessary division you, the Republican controlled legislature and your agenda have caused here in the state of Wisconsin. One is from a teacher in Kenosha and the other from a teacher in New Richmond.
Both express what you have done to make many in Wisconsin believe that teachers, firefighters, nurses, TA's and other dedicated public servants are the primary cause of the state deficit and that they are "parasites", "union thugs" and worse. You have refused to listen, to compromise, to promote civility and instead, continue to misrepresent and denigrate those who have worked diligently & faithfully for their communities & for the common good of our state.
And you seem to enjoy blaming "out of state agitators", "union bosses" and "outside influences" for the protests, demonstrations, rallies and recall efforts led by everyday, hardworking people of both political parties who are angry as hell about your agenda to end collective bargaining for public employees and the utter arrogance & disrespect which you and many of your Republican senators/representatives have shown.
I have attended several rallies in Madison and in the Milwaukee area and I see people and families just like me----honest, hard-working middle class public servants who did compromise on paying more for health and retirement benefits. We are NOT the enemy, though many of our fellow citizens think so, because of your propaganda machine and self-righteousness.
Please take the time to read these 2 articles and ponder what it must be like to be cautious about sharing with others that you are a teacher, a DNR warden, a library assistant at UW-Madison, a DMV worker,etc.-- because we might be spit on, called parasites, lazy, greedy and/or be threatened.
Once again, I hold you and the legislators who voted with you accountable for the awful state of our State. I will continue to use my pen, my presence, my voice, my vote, my economic clout and every right I have in a democracy to make sure that your agenda is defeated---not only for me but for the common good of everyone here in this great state.
I close with a few relevant quotes:
Abraham Lincoln: "With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right."
William Shakespeare: "The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power."
Mahatma Gandhi: "The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice."
Happy Easter, Governor Walker.
1) Apparently at a public hearing in Eagle about what to do with the new budget
the overwhelming public outcry was to fire all of the teachers and hire
brand new teachers at base pay. One teacher was at a grocery store when the
person behind them put their hand in the teachers pocket and said, "Just
wanted to see if any of my tax dollars were in there". The administration
has advised the teaching staff not to wear any spirit wear in public so as
not to be singled out. If you know anyone who teaches in Eagle, reach out
and give them some love. Kenosha teachers have decided to send them cards
and letters of encouragement that they can plaster on their work room
2) Hats off to Scott Herron for a such a well-written and powerful statement which reflects what so many of us have been feeling.
"This isn't about parties - it's about right and wrong."
From Scott Herron of New Richmond, WI - April 18, 2011
Four months ago, I was talking to a coworker saying how I had finally reached a place in my life where I was truly happy. I felt completely rewarded for the job I do with at-risk youth and loved where I worked. That was four months ago.
Then, about three months ago, I heard the news, like all of you, of what the governor was trying to railroad through the Senate and that our senator was going to vote right down the party line. I had some naïve hope that cooler heads and sanity would prevail. And I kept waiting. Then, I watched 100,000s of people descend on Madison to ask, beg, and yell…to be heard. My family was among them. But it didn’t matter. Senator Harsdorf, Governor Walker, and the Republicans never had any intention of listening. They never had any intention of compromising. I knew when I took the bus down to Madison that I would be joining the battlefront. I just didn’t know it would be the bus taking me back home. My wife and I went into the bagel shop near here, where we met Cathy Leaf and Susan Stori. We took a sheet and spent 2 hours getting 10 signatures. All we kept thinking was how we only had 60 days to do this, and this wasn’t working.
So, my family and I (the well-funded union machine you’ve heard of) spent $83 on some signs and a canopy, borrowed a table and chairs and set up shop in the wind and snow…to give the people of District 10 one more chance to be heard. And the people in New Richmond came to us…over 1,600 of them. The stories I listened to the most were the ones from devoted Republicans who came to sign. The police officer who said he’s voted Republican for 20 years and had driven by our booth for 4 days debating whether or not to stop. He said he finally decided to sign because, “wrong is wrong.” He and the others reminded me that this isn’t about parties…it’s about right and wrong. I even talked to a Tea Partier for about 45 minutes one day (I with my Recall Harsdorf sign and he with his Walker for President sign). Even he agreed with me that cutting veteran’s benefits and tying all public workers’ wages to inflation was wrong. I said to him, “If our Senator could even talk as long as we have, I probably wouldn’t be recalling her.” Because we can find a middle ground if we’re willing to try, which is usually where the truth is found.
But from the very start, Senator Harsdorf and Governor Walker have only divided the people of this district and this state to attain their goals, from pitting public against private workers to her false and insulting division between public workers and taxpayers.
Last I checked, we’re ALL taxpayers in this state. We are not some outside group that our Senator can keep ignoring and denigrating for her political benefit. I’m proud to be a teacher. I love what I do. But thanks to Senator Harsdorf’s political spin and false divisions, we and our families have been called “parasites,” “free loaders,” and worse. Now, Senator Harsdorf and Governor Walker further insult and ignore half of the population of Wisconsin by inferring that there are two parts to the state, Madison and the rest of Wisconsin. In the State Supreme Court election, the vote in Polk, Burnett, and St. Croix Counties was virtually deadlocked. Her own county voted for Kloppenburg. But Senator Harsdorf still ignores all those voices and keeps hiding behind her talking points. Her divisiveness is not only false, it’s offensive.
Some of our opponents we’ve met over the last 3 months have often asked, “Why are you doing this?” So, let me be very clear tonight why we did this:
We did this because we don’t want Washington politics in Wisconsin. Because we need politicians who are more loyal to the people of their state than their party, who are brave enough to vote their conscience, who can sit down and compromise like my six and three-year-old boys know how to do, and who will come out from behind their talking points and have a REAL discussion with the people. We need someone who won’t just worry about Wisconsin’s budge, but also its spirit.
And you’re right, Senator, we did this because we’re backed by special interests. I’ll tell you ours, if you’ll tell me yours. Ours are the hard workers of this state, who find meaning in serving others and who deserve more than to be demonized by you for political gain. Ours are the poor children you’re going to take off of BadgerCare, our elders who you’ve voted to take off of SeniorCare, the poor who will be removed from Medicaid and Medicare, my alternative students who could lose the one program that gives them a second chance and that often stands between them and a dark future, all the students who will no longer be able to afford college and who won’t be able to support themselves even if they can, and our veterans who you raised money by promising to increase their funding only to turn around and cut it in this bill. Those are our special interests. Who are yours?
And finally we’re doing this because the people in your district are sick of being dismissed and ignored. Senator Harsdorf, you ignored us in Madison, you ignored our thousands of calls, emails, and visits. Well, we stand here tonight with 22,300 signatures, none of which are signed by “outside agitators”. You can’t ignore us anymore. I know you still won’t listen. But, finally, you’re going to have to answer for your choices that put your political games before the lives, careers, and pride of so many people you represent.