Solidarity Wisconsin

Remember When The Firefighters Entered Wisconsin’s State Capital? I Miss That Hope.

Solidarity WisconsinI was nervous about the Wisconsin recall of Governor Walker. Recalls are rarely successful although the fact that it got to the point of a recall election is pretty amazing even if the outcome wasn’t what I had wanted. (I would have had the protests work well enough to curb the legislation to rework unions rather than a recall or removing collective bargaining.)

Remember all the hope when the firefighters came into the Wisconsin State Capital Rotunda?
(video here if you can’t see it)

I wish the protests had been enough even though unions aren’t perfect, they improve workers conditions and pay and in many sectors help companies to be more productive (source) (in other sectors they seem to have no effect on productivity (source)). Of course, unions are more expensive for companies (doing right by our workers isn’t cheap and all sources agree on this one).

I am pro-worker-safety including reasonable hours, wages and vacation. I’m not as pro-pensions, and I think tenure could be reworked. I do not think striping unions of their bargaining rights is the answer — blaming unions for state budget problems is short-sighted and untrue — but I fear that will be one of the outcomes of the recall.

And while the $31 million dollars spent to keep Walker in office is an extraordinary and horrifying result of the Citizen United decision, I also think that people still voted Walker in and to stay. I continue to hope that money isn’t enough to sway an election no matter how much I’d like to blame it. The lack of education and facts must play a larger role. I have to believe that if people had a place to read the research and the facts, everything would not need to be so right and wrong, black and white, us and them. We could find better solutions no matter how much money flows against democracy.

I want more website based on facts with cited sources and research rather than opinion pieces. I want less 30 second sound bytes and more people reading articles and comparing notes to their and their neighbors lives. Knowledge is the only way to combat the millions being pumped into local, state and national elections by the 1% on both sides. We have to believe in education and compromise and hope or there will be no freedom for any of us.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

2 thoughts to “Remember When The Firefighters Entered Wisconsin’s State Capital? I Miss That Hope.”

  1. While I live next door and don’t really have a dog in that fight, I was bummed to see he made it through. I agree that unions aren’t perfect and there are places to improve, but I also know they made a difference in the quality of life for a great many people. The worst part of all of this is the terrible rift that’s going to need to be mended as a result of the election. I hope that people heal and make nice soon and don’t end up holding grudges. Or use their position to punish those who fought for the recall. Stay strong! You had a lot of neighbors over here in Minnesota rooting for you. There were a number of my friends on facebook who had “Wtf, Wisconsin?!” as their status last night.

  2. Here in Michigan we have been watching WI very closely. Because our governor Snyder is trying to do a LOT of the same crap Walker is. As a member of the teacher’s union, we fear for our rights being taken away all the time. The state has already declared war on us and lumped us in with other state workers–making us take a LOT of the same “sacrifice” as those making a TON more money. And at the same time, we are concerned “union” and are being stripped of those rights too. It’s like we are being double punished.

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