Tonight Scott Walker is the winner of a state he already won the right to run. They are saying its a test for the country, the “stirring of something on a domestic level” and a warning for Obama. While the pundits speculate about the 62 million, (by some estimates 34 million Republican, 4 million Democrat, the rest special interests), which lambbasted the state the last months, I can’t help but wonder: Have any of these people ever been to Wisconsin?
Do they know it’s mostly Catholic and Lutheran, and yet prochoice? Do they understand the thick accent derived from German and Scandanavian settlers which still influences the socialist ideals? Do they know it’s one of the most literate states in the country? Or the fattest? Do they know that La Crosse is a place, not a sport, and jorts never went out of style..the rest of the country merely came back in? Do they understand, to a Wisconsin voter, politics are the most fun since football season is over?
Last fall as the nation turned its attention on my hometown, I hoped they would see what I saw: The liberal, diverse, highly educated (most PhDs per capita), Best City to Live In several years running capital city. Madison’s economy is a town similar to my new home, Washingon, D.C. It runs on the government, a handful of insurance companies and the internet and tech fueled startups like ShopBop and Epic, which employ the bright, hard-working and conscientious graduates the UW turns out every year.
It’s a smart city. Which is why I was shocked in horror to watch last fall as a bunch of out-of-towners drove tractors around the capital, and my little brother and sister’s high school classes poured into the Rotunda to cheer in red and white sweatshirts along side my former classmates. But then that’s Wisconsin. We’re the only state that owns our own football team: This is not a sit back and watch the t.v. ads kind of voter.
Is this a state which reflects the country? I’d like to think this country’s population is half as passionate, as well-informed and half as loyal as the average Wisconsinite. This is a state of people who will paint their faces blue or red or green, (my Catholic gradeschool voted for Ralph Nader one year), but never gets drunk on anything except beer. Political affiliations are an identity, and supporting some cause, any cause, is a favorite past-time in a state with 3 seasons of winter, but every mind is always independent.
If you ask an 18 year old Wisconsinite why they voted for Walker, or against, beyond the tears and jeers, you will hear a logic as crisp and as clean as the air on a January morning in Eau Claire, (where Obama once said he’d create green jobs). In the satirical outfits worn by college students and postgrads, (some of them my friends – see Where’s Waldo), you’ll find ideological statements that hit too close to reality. No, there was no way Democrats could outspend Republicans in Wisconsin.
In this heated liberal seat like Madison, my mother said it was bad enough you couldn’t put a Walker sign on your front lawn for fear of retaliation. The teachers had taken the fight into the classrooms, (National Honors schools, some of the best public schools in the country). And yet, when you drove into the cornfields just beyond the Beltline, spreading between Madison and Milwaukee, and down to Janesville where the oldest GM plant still operates, there were the “I’m with Walker signs”.
There on the front lawns in an America as idealistic as a BP commercial, Wisconsin voters were loyal to their governor. Just like they were loyal to Tommy Thompson, Republican, and in Tammy Baldwin, Democrat and openly gay, and to Paul Ryan, Republican and antiwar. Because the funny thing about a state that tried to recall their governor, they’re a pretty loyal bunch.
Scott Walker did what he believed was best for the people of Wisconsin. He balanced the budget, decreased unemployment, and protected the majority of the state in a time of economic uncertainty. He didn’t win on womens rights, or social issues, or individual privacy, or gun rights, or domestic security, or foreign policy, or social welfare programs. He didn’t win as a Republican governor; He won as the governor of Wisconsin.
Obama and that rich guy Mitt Romney? That’s a whole other game.
From my Facebook
A victory for taxpayers across Wisconsin and America! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this historic victory possible!
Guess I won’t be taking my teaching career back to Wisco for a while…
Michael – shared a link.
Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans
Yet another day in Wisconsin history that makes me so happy I no longer live there.
Yay! Proud to be a Wisconsinite!
today was a good day because i got my first hire, pretty little liars returned, and i realized how smart my decision was to move to chicago. =)
Its times like these I just retreat more into myself.
Kristin V. –
Learned 2 “important” things today: 1. The Turtle Lake mascot is not a turtle but rather a “Laker” and is a picture of an anchor (very disappointing). 2. it is legal to throw anything out your window in this part of the state.
I’m moving to the moon.
Wisconsin will live to fight another day. Tomorrow is my last day before finals with the freshmen. Even if my state doesn’t respect what I do, my students have.
Kristen E. –
miller park with my favs!!
BREAKING: Madison, Wisconsin Voter Turnout Over 100% http://t.co/XrJ2Silh