Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Wisconsin

For the last couple of years, the Tea Party cranks have been getting all the attention with their costume rallies and town hall tantrums, and they really didn’t accomplish anything other than highlight the fact that most of them have no idea where Medicare comes from and that even if they claim they’re not racist, they have a high tolerance for those among them that are. They took to the streets to demonstrate against some nebulous threat that they perceived was looming but never materialized or wasn’t there in the first place, proving that if you demonstrate just for the fun of it, you don’t accomplish much more than get your face and your misspelled sign on Fox News.

The demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, are another matter. This time there is a real threat to the jobs and the future of a lot of people. Gov. Scott Walker is making his proposed bill to hit the public sector employees for their health insurance and pension plans sound like it’s the only way to balance the state’s budget, but it’s more than that; it’s an attack on the rights of workers to engage in collective bargaining, and the demonstrators — teachers, firefighters, and other workers in the public sector who would be hit by this — are rallying against something more than just paying more for benefits.

The difference between the Tea Party rallies and the demonstrations in the state capitol in Wisconsin is that there is genuinely something at stake.

Oh, by the way, to you voters who stayed home last November because you were “disappointed” with President Obama and how he hadn’t done enough to make you swoon all over again, this is what we mean when we say elections have consequences.