Monday, February 28, 2011

As Ye Vote, So Shall Ye Reap

This was not exactly a week devoid of tantalizing topics. In fact, it was so chock-full of them that I am overwhelmed with the possibilities. But before I get to that scintillating item I’ve chosen to dissect, there are a couple of smaller items I want to mention. 

Someone referenced the “Superman joke” in a comment on the last blog. A number of readers emailed and asked if I still had a copy and would I post the “how to tell a joke” column that Steve would periodically run. So if you look to your right, you will see a link to a page called Ziggy’s Joke o’the Day. If any of you are old ZJOD readers and have a favorite joke you’d like to see again, let me know. I have the archive.

The second item is a bit of a sad note. Duke Snider passed away  Sunday, February 27th. For any Brooklyn Dodger fan, the Duke of Flatbush was a player par excellence. One of the obits said he was the last living Brooklyn Dodger who was on the field when they took the 1955 World Series. Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider constituted my first crush. I could never quite decide who I loved more…Duke or Pee Wee. I was four. It was a very hard choice.

Now, on to the topic of the day.

It would be easy to launch a rant on the events next door in Wisconsin especially after last week's blog, which, by the way, was not as well received as I would’ve liked. Seems some people just didn’t get the Swiftian satire part. Not sure what that means, but I think it has something to do with the concept of classical literacy.

Up front, let me just remind everyone that my sympathies lie with the workers and their desire to retain collective bargaining rights. 

From all reports, Governor Walker is not dealing honestly with the unions and that point was driven home in the recorded prank call where a writer posed as one of the Koch brothers.  You can read the transcript of the phone call for yourself. It’s pretty dodgy stuff.

On the other hand, the people of Wisconsin elected this guy with 52% of the vote. Democrat candidate Barrett received 46%, so it wasn’t a giant mandate or anything like that, but it was a majority.  So what happens if the people of Wisconsin actually get the government they elected? Clearly they wanted something other than what they had, and they dumped just about every major Democrat from office. If elections are supposed to reflect the will of the people, then doesn’t Governor Walker have an obligation to his constituency to fulfill his promised platform? Granted, his platform did not include “union busting” per se, but that had to be part of the process he was describing.

What if the tables were reversed?  What if it was a Democrat governor trying to reign in the budget and the Republicans marching on Madison with mean signs? What would be we saying? "Hey! We won; it's our call?" It's hard to guess, but given the lack of civility on both sides, I can't imagine it would be much different.

At this writing, the 14 Democratic state senators are still AWOL. Eventually they have to come back. And when they do, they will cast their votes and most likely lose this battle. In fleeing the state, all they have done is postponed the inevitable, but in doing so they have allowed significant protest to occur and that is probably a good thing.

So what has to happen here?  As horrid as it sounds, maybe we need to sit down now, shut up, and let the baloney fly where it may. In the end, that may be the only way to save what's left of the system. Perhaps letting the people of Wisconsin have the government they elected will be the best way to drive the point home.

Part of living in a democracy is that sometimes the other guy wins and you have to content yourself with voicing your discontent knowing that it’s not going to do much good. That does not, however,  absolve you from actively protesting that with which you don’t agree, and in fact, it should compel you to be a more active part of the process.

IMHO.... but then again, this blog is written by the Wifely Pollyanna.

The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week
Before treading the red carpet, always look in the mirror.
If your muffins are visible, get some new Spanx.


  1. Part of the problem with any candidate is if you elect him or her you get the whole package. You can't elect the Democrat for domestic policy and the Republican for foreign policy.

    Back in 2004, I had to remind a lot of voters who despised Bush's domestic policies and the Iraq War, but still wanted to support him because they felt he would be better than Kerry for Israel.

    Maybe you are right that the Wisconsin senators will go back to Madison and the bill will pass. But because they and tens of thousands of state employees, along with sympathizers around the country, resisted, Walker may win the battle, but he and the Koch brothers will probably, G-d willing, lose the war.

  2. If Walker & Wisconsin can't recede from their unions, perhaps we should instead encourage them to secede from the Union. (We'll miss you, Misha.)

  3. Great post. Thorny topic. As a union member, the Union of University Professionals (now in the "retired"--not voluntarily--division), I have seen the good and the bad of unions. All unions are not the same. Workers who are workers and not "professionals" (such as teachers, nurses and doctors in universities in NY State) have different needs. I think a better balance needs to be reached so that rights and responsibilities to the workplace and the workforce prevail. I am sure this comment will be at least as unpopular (or even moreso) than your previous satirical post (not lost on me).

  4. Very thorny...but there is room for civil debate here. I have always wondered what constitutes "professional" anyway. I am a professional theater person, but trust me, for 99% of us, that does not impact our pay envelope. In fact, it often removes us from practicing our art in some situations. But at the grassroots level, we have no union, no voice, and no health insurance...which is why we have to have days jobs...which cuts into our ability to produce art...which means we're not practicing our craft at the levels we want to...and on and on. I admire any group that gets to have collective bargaining and a voice. Such a heady concept!

  5. I truly believe Walker may win this battle but, ultimately the people of Wisconsin will win the war. I blame the losses both in Wisconsin and nationally on good old fashioned democratic apathy. Sometimes we are out own worst enemy.

    Being a "professional" or tradesperson matters not...we all need to be protected from being trod upon by our corporate masters. Unions protect us all! I personally do not want to backslide into a time before unions with no workplace safety, no child labor laws, no overtime pay and excessive hours. This seems to be the goal of the Republican party and we the people should not stand idly by as it comes to pass.