Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Well, damn, part 2

I've taken some time to consider what I think about Governor Walker's repeat win in the recall election, and have decided that I am disappointed, and disgusted.

Disappointed, since I really had hoped that Walker's egregious war against the working class would have motivated a high turnout, which would have likely resulted in a win for Tom Barrett. That didn't happen, and the why of it is why I'm disgusted.

When you look at it, given the very sharp issue presented in the recall--basically an up/down vote on Walker's tenure so far, I think you DO have to consider that the 40+ per cent of eligible voters who didn't go to the polls in this case ARE saying that they are content with what has been done. When you add that to Walker's majority of those that did vote, I guess I have to concede that he DOES have a mandate. That's what's disgusting.

As for why it's disgusting, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "I am ashamed that Wisconsinites are so simple." Walker's "divide and conquer" tactics worked wonderfully well for him. It's absolutely shocking that more than 30% of union households polled indicated that they were going to support Walker. One suspects that these were not members of public employee unions affected by Walker's "bomb," and that therefore he was successful in driving a wedge between public sector employees, and private sector workers who did not perceive it was their ox being gored. I expect that this will change in the next legislative session, but by then it will be too late. Making Wisconsin a "right to work (for less)" state may not be on Walker's agenda, but as we know, it surely is on that of his billionaire backers, and if the legislature passes such a law, I don't think Walker would dare to veto it.

Some people have said that they were against the recall because Walker had not committed a crime or malfeasance in office. Come on, people! When Senatorial crony Scott Fitzgerald admits that part of the purpose of Act 10 was to de-fund unions and deny Obama financial support in the presidential election, was that not malfeasance? When he spoke to the Koch impersonator admitting having considered planting agents provocateurs among demonstrators, was that not malfeasance? When Walker improvidently threw away billions of dollars in transport aid because it was earmarked for trains (and because therefore the highway contractors who are his part owners couldn't have it-) was that not malfeasance?

Walker polled strongly in rural areas of Wisconsin, again, dividing rural workers, who are mainly in small business and agriculture, from urban, industrial and institutional workers. It continues to be a puzzlement as to why middle-class and poor voters continually support platforms that benefit the rich to their own detriment, despite the fact that upward mobility has almost disappeared in America and the chance that they themselves will ever become rich enough to take advantage of these policies is essentially nonexistent.

As I wrote on November 3rd of 2010, "With one-party rule, we can look forward to an Arizona-like festival of regressive legislation aimed at dismantling the state’s domestic partner registry, crippling the nation’s most advanced stem cell research program, enacting draconian anti-abortion and probably anti-contraception legislation, and in general a movement to take Wisconsin back to a 1950’s era when Joe McCarthy was a popular Senator. There will be action to 'opt out' of the new health care laws, nobble the high-speed rail project, and probably some sort of immigration legislation, not that that’s actually a huge issue here, but it’s part of the 'teabag'." Pretty much all of these things have happened, at least steps being taken toward them, plus more: the unexpected neutering of public employee unions; attempts to cut Medicare and restrict access to Badgercare; slashing of school budgets and hamstringing local government's ability to make up the difference in taxes; and repeal of equal pay laws.

I'm baffled as why anyone thinks these are good things. For lack of a better hypothesis, I am forced to conclude that, in the years since Mark Twain declared that "People are no damn good," people have not gotten any better or smarter, and that the great mass of humanity remain selfish, short-sighted, and stupid.

My prediction is that the election of Barack Obama, a black man, to the Presidency of the United States, will go down in history as the high point of enlightenment in America, and also as the point at which that tide turned with a vengeance, as the fact galvanized the forces of reaction into a destructive orgy of Cenophobia (morbid fear of new ideas or things). So, along with the expected economic, environmental, and scientific declines coming, we can now confidently look forward to a concomitant social decline into the Hobbesian war of all against all.

WB Yeats - "The Second Coming"

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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Tags: doom and gloom, politics
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