Wisconsinites Get Their Lives And Maybe Their State Back Tomorrow
Warning: a Scott Walker victory in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election may finally inspire the rest of the Democratic Party to start acting like they really want to keep Barack Obama in the White House. It has been amazing to me to see how little outrage there has been at poll numbers that suggest, despite an unprecedented outpouring of support for the initial recall effort, an uphill climb for challenger Tom Barrett to pull off a victory in Wisconsin tonight.
Despite the tendency for our political punditocracy to do what they do best the last few weeks, which is to try to convince the rest of us that what we are seeing with our very own eyes is not true, it might almost be poetic justice for Wisconsin's incumbent governor, Scott Walker, to win the today’s recall so he can be indicted later this year as a sitting governor.
If you stop for a minute and really take the time to think about it, the only reason national Republicans and right wing Super PACs have airmailed tens of millions of dollars to Wisconsin to support Scott Walker is because they are the only ones who have a lot riding on the outcome. If Walker loses, then the Democrats and the White House will claim it was the power of the people that prevailed. If Walker loses, then the Democrats and the White House can legitimately invoke the Billionaire Boys Club defense, setting up the fall presidential contest as a classic David versus Goliath battle.
What does today mean for everyday Wisconsinites?
“Maybe tomorrow that crazy retired guy from down the street will stop to chat about the weather again. Maybe tomorrow it won’t matter what the demographics are in the crosstabs. Maybe tomorrow I won’t have this constant feeling of nervousness, exhaustion and dread all rolled up into one enormous ball of agitation. Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk to my co-opted cousin who, of course, accuses me of being brainwashed while parroting talking points administered by folks that ain’t from around here.”
“Maybe tomorrow I can shop at the grocery store that is most convenient to me. Maybe tomorrow I can listen to the radio, or watch TV, without having to change the station the moment the commercials begin. Maybe tomorrow facts will matter. Maybe tomorrow reason will be welcomed. Maybe tomorrow I won’t have to whisper in public.”
“Maybe tomorrow we can agree that there is common ground. Maybe tomorrow we won’t be so disconnected from the bonds that have held us together for generations.
Maybe tomorrow neighbors will act like neighbors again. Maybe tomorrow we can begin to heal.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up in Wiscissippi.”
In the end, it’s not about the fantasy scorecards our political pundits use to tell you what’s going on. I salute the average everyday Wisconsinites who have expressed themselves politically, week in and week out, for the last year and a half with a level of zeal, vigor and personal resolve that should put the rest of the states in the country to shame.
May Governor Scott Walker’s ignominious term in office meet with an abrupt conclusion and become another one for the history books later tonight.
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.