mbranesf (mbranesf) wrote,
mbranesf
mbranesf

On Wisconsin!

People should read this sensible post about the political situation currently ongoing in Wisconsin. But before you leave to do that, let me say a couple things:

1) Though I haven't lived in Wisconsin for 21 years and would probably never move back (because I find its climate to be entirely inhospitable), I grew up there and am a son of a blue collar labor union family. My dad and his dad before him got to raise their kids in a dignified, reasonably middle-class manner because they were part of organized labor, because they had collective bargaining rights, and because they could say "Fuck no! I am NOT working for minimum wage! I am NOT working without health insurance! I am NOT working like a slave!" We weren't rich, but we didn't live in abject poverty either.  I don't have many friends who have that background, and even those who are normally big liberals on everything else somehow think unions are icky or have outlasted their purpose. I have politely explained to several of them that they don't know what the fuck they're talking about and that they need to get their big  elitist heads out of their asses. Were it not for organized labor, there never would have been an American middle class, and this country would now more closely resemble some of our South American neighbors where a tiny rich class lives in gated compounds surrounded by armed guards to protect them from the masses who would happily cut their wealthy throats.

2) The new Wisconsin governor concocted this so-called budget "crisis" himself by giving away a bunch of tax-break gifts to his political masters. The state was due for a budget surplus this year but, as Republicans always do, he erased it with gifts to his friends, and is now using his "crisis" to beat people who actually get shit done. Fuck him and his deficit. If it's that big a problem, go get the money back from all the plutocrats and kleptocrats who have been living high for the last three decades. 

3) My mom, who still lives in Wisconsin, is a supporter of the teabagger movement. Wisconsin teabaggers look with admiration to the supposedly "booming" Southern states where they don't have much in the way of "liberal" things like labor unions. Yet they'd be the first people to scream bloody murder if public services and the results of public services in Wisconsin actually declined to the appalling levels that are normal everyday life in the South. Vast swaths of the American South aren't even "First World" on the human development index. Wages for laborers who actually make stuff are way lower on average than in what remains of the industrial north. The five states that don't let teachers collectively bargain are all Southern and they all rank in the 40s (of the 50 states) in academic achievement (as measured by test scores, which Republicans normally love). Yeah, the South is "booming" all right, but it's on the backs of poor people and what little remains of a middle class, and an ever-growing permanent undereducated, underemployed underclass. Is that something that Wisconsin should admire? Fuck no. Wisconsin used to lead  or nearly lead the nation in almost every quality of life measurement (save for its horrid weather). 

4) I'm a kid who graduated from the public schools in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I got a great education there. Not all the teachers were great, but most of them at least did their jobs as well as anyone in the vaunted private sector does, and many of them with a lot more dedication and love of their mission. And for a fuck lot less money than a lot of private sector losers that I can name. If the Republicans actually complete their mission of destroying public education, then this country might as well just cut the shit, accept reality, and decline into its destiny: total second-rate has-been status. While all our international competitors pour more and more resources into education, science, research, industry and infrastructure, we pull back and back from all of that. Wisconsin's douchebag governor personifies this trend. 

For these reasons, and many more, I stand with the people in my ancestral homeland who are sticking up for what's right and fair and who are reviving and relighting that state's great old progressive fire.
Tags: douchebaggery, politics, real world crap
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