Covering a Story That Won’t Die is difficult. It’s exhausting. Day in, day out, talking to the same people about the same stuff all the time, trying to find something — anything — new to say about the same issues, getting calls from the same six pissed off people no matter what you do … it’s worse than just about anything.
Other than having your rights and working dignity stripped away, hearing your reasonable compensation blamed for financial catastrophes not of your making, and being vilified for the unpardonable sins of teaching schoolchildren to read and mopping the floors of public buildings, that is.
The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board has opposed all of the attempts over the last year to recall state senators of both major political parties and the governor.
It’s not that we agree with everything these politicians have said and done. Far from it.
It’s that all of these leaders were elected to four-year terms and shouldn’t be targeted for recall because of public policy decisions. The recall process is designed to quickly purge politicians for illicit behavior, not to punish those who take controversial stands on single issues.
Yes, the recall organizers targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker have a long list of complaints. But the critics of any governor of any political party always can cite many faults.
First of all, the recalls have hardly been “endless.” It’s been 18 months. When you’re talking about decimating the rights people have enjoyed for generations, maybe 18 months isn’t quite the Wars of the Roses. Tone down the drama. Remember the Maine.
Second, “critics of any governor of any political party always can cite many faults.” They’re all the same! There are governors and critics, and who are we to decide if some criticism has merit and some doesn’t? It’s not like we have any responsibility to set an agenda or sort out truth from fiction. And it’s not like gathering a million signatures was any kind of test at all of the strength of public objection.
Tens of millions of more dollars are being spent during tight times on misleading and divisive political ads. Our leaders are distracted by and obsessed with opinion polls and raising piles of campaign cash, rather than tackling Wisconsin’s many pressing challenges.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, most of the money Walker’s raising would otherwise be spent employing hucksters in other states to make shitty campaign ads, so at least there’s that boost to the economy. This isn’t cash the Kochs would otherwise be giving to Wisconsin’s farmers and starving kittens and nuns.
You know, I have less of an issue with an actual endorsement of Walker than I do with this puling about how icky the recalls are. At least that’s taking a position in the fight, instead of standing off to the corner loudly deploring the tone in the room so that everybody can see what a superior person you are.
People are pissed off. They’re “divided.” They have come to the realization that lots of their neighbors, co-workers and relatives don’t agree with them on stuff. Some of them have come to understand, with a degree of shock that’s really uncalled-for in 2012, that a lot of their fellow humans will hurt just about anybody including themselves to feel like they’re one-upping somebody else. It sucks, having your eyes opened to just how many people around you are assholes. Guess what?
This is what the world is like, under its skin. This is what we do. The Wisconsin state constitution provides for this process, which is playing itself out as it should be. In fact, we’re damn lucky the only major political violence in Wisconsin has been economic. Other places, you’d be thrown in jail or shot or worse. The recalls haven’t killed anybody.
They’ve eaten up money that might otherwise have been used for other mechanisms of democracy, and that’s too bad, but you could just as easily say Walker should have ended this months ago by backing down as that his opponents shouldn’t be forcing the question in the only way available to them.