Posted by: JanF | February 24, 2015

There is no one left to sing

As a Wisconsinite, I am incredibly sad about what has happened to our state under the “stewardship” of Gov. Scott Walker and his legislative accomplices.

But I am a little surprised at the dismay that people are expressing over the fast-tracking of right-to-work laws in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker won reelection in 2014 by 137,607 votes and he couldn’t have done it without the help of the nearly 170,000 people from union households who voted for him and the votes from those who believed that state workers deserve to be protected by unions but who voted to re-elect the person who killed those unions.


Divided and Conquered

The right-to-work law that has been Walker’s stated goal since he was a backbencher in the state legislature, and which he reaffirmed in not-so-private conversations with his gotbucks donors, will be passed and signed into law within a matter of days. There will be no exemptions this time; all unions will be denied the right to collect fees for their services and will eventually have no funds to advocate for the workers: for higher wages, better benefits, safe working conditions, and unjust terminations.

Those chortling with glee 4 years ago when those “lazy gubmit workers” got their comeuppance are strangely silent now.

Firefighters Union president Mahlon Mitchell, knew exactly what it meant when the Republicans passed Act 10. He was on the front lines of the protests at the Capitol in 2011. His members played their bagpipes and sang in the rotunda.

Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, [pledged] solidarity with his fellow state workers, even though firefighters and police were spared from Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to bust state unions’ bargaining power. Among Mitchell’s pledges: The state’s safety workers would agree to forgo some of their privileges and benefits to preserve collective bargaining for all the state’s union workers. “We have a unique job,” he said, “but so does the snow-plow driver, so does the janitor, so does a nurse, so does a teacher at UW college. […]

“Collective bargaining is not about union rights; it’s about rights of workers”

.

To those of you who voted for Scott Walker in 2012 and 2014: sorry, there is no one left to sing for you. You will now join the ranks of the unprotected, at-will workers who can have your wages and hours reduced, your benefits cut, or be fired without cause. The 2011 protesters threw their hearts and souls into fighting the injustice that they knew would be visited on all union households … you turned away from them and embraced the guy who fed your irrational hatred of The Other.

Here is a song by Al Wilson who had an idea what can happen when you embrace a snake:

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
[chorus]
“I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in

Elections have consequences. And those who got distracted by the dog whistle politics of divisiveness and ignored what was right in front of their eyes will not escape those consequences … along with those of us who knew that the “pretty skin” covered a blemished soul.

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