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It's enough to shatter your faith in electoral democracy.

As of this writing, the Wisconsin recall elections are a tossup.  Maybe the Democrats will pull it out, maybe they won't.

This shouldn't be the case.  If the election were about union-busting - solely about union-busting - I would be disappointed.  I would be dejected.  I would not, however, be casting aspersions on what this meant for the future of democracy in Wisconsin, and in America as a whole.

Scott Walker used the compensation of unionized teachers as his explanation for his union-busting legislation - saying it was inflated because unions work to get politicians elected.  Is this true?  I'm skeptical.

But why should this not be equally true of the public safety unions, who were split (some locals endorsing Walker, others his opponent, others staying out of it) as with the other public sector unions, which endorsed his opponent?  The reason they were left exempt was to send a message - back my opponent, and your livelihood is at stake.  A message that no union would be able to mess with Republicans again.

Consider some of the other legislation Scott Walker has signed.  A "Voter ID" law, among the most restrictive in the nation.  Rather than bring proof of your age and citizenship to be listed on the voter rolls, you need an ID card.  Now, perhaps if you're a driver there's a reason to have an ID on you all the time.  Me?  I have an ID lying around my bedroom somewhere.  If I was a college student - not able to use it to drink, not in a position where I rely on a car to get around - I might not get one.  Same thing if I live in a city, don't have that much money, and rely on public transit.  I might not have one - why should I have to go to the DMV and wait in line in order to be eligible to vote?  I might use my student ID, but that doesn't qualify.  To say nothing of the homeless, who might not even have somewhere safe to keep them.

Why was this passed? There was no voter fraud epidemic which had to be stopped    And it just so happens that DMVs in democratic-leaning areas were understaffed and had long lines.  

Certainly, if I lived in Wisconsin, I would make an effort to get around these obstacles.  But it's not hard to see how making Democratic-leaning demographics have a harder time voting shows contempt for democracy itself.

And then there's the gerrymander - partisan gerrymandering may be sadly common in this country, but rushing a bill through so that the recall elections can't stop you is not.  
  There's even little things, like the treatment of protesters, the lies about damage they caused, and the flagrant disregard for the Open Meetings Law.

What there certainly is in Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republican Party is a pattern of flagrant contempt for democracy, much of which is spreading nationwide.  And enough voters to make elections competitive are rewarding him for it.

(Some people blame this on Citizens United, but this is a symptom, not a cause.  A people who believed in democracy on principle would have passed a constitutional amendment to overturn it; instead, Republican voters support it because it helps them win.)

Our democracy is already dead, for about half the country views it as secondary to their side winning, and no democracy can survive long in such a position.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very well said. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    I weep for the future.

  •  It's still democracy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, debedb, Rich in PA, bunsk

    if lots of Republicans turn out to vote for stupid policies and politicians that make this a far shittier country.

  •  I wish it were different (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne

    but my thoughts have been going down this dismal road for a couple of weeks now.  The Wisconsin election returns are sealing my pessimism.  

    This is not the country I learned about in eighth grade civics so long ago.  I don't think they even teach civics any more. I do know my youngest daughter and grandchildren were not offered civics classes at any point in their education. Sad.

  •  not dead (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, bunsk

    but in critical condition. This is the beginning (hopefully) of a long, painful recovery. Or not. But our democracy isn't dead yet.  

  •  There are lots of folks who think (6+ / 0-)

    that flags and Bibles are all you really need, and anything else is "guv'mint innerference".

    There is a comforting ignorance that wraps these people and lulls them to sleep. Dreamland is always happier than reality...

    But, I am reminded of the quote from, of all people, Senator Amidala from Star Wars: "So, this is how liberty dies-- to thunderous applause". People will cheer for the destruction of their own freedoms, if presented to them in a slick enough package.

  •  Here again there should be a Federal law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe

    preventing state governments from enacting laws or regulations that bias elections because that is what it is.  Has the Federal government or Obama said anything about this.  No, of course.  The incompetence and silence continues.

    On a different note, I was in my car going to the pharmacy earlier this evening and turned on the radio.  Lo and behold it was a talk radio station and that revolting right wing creep, Mark Levin ranting about global warming..  His rant really pissed me off.  He basically stated that most scientists are liars and that all the climate science that supports man's contribution to global warming is all bull shit.  It got me so angry.  What happens if children hear this.  And of course there will always be uneducated or dumb adults who believe this crap.  The audacity of this creep to make a general statement that scientists are liars.  The right hates scientists because most scientists lean left.  But this is what I mean about Democrats.  They let that fat fascist fuck, Roger Ailes, put all this bullshit propaganda on the air waves. and do nothing about it  There must be some sort of standards for broadcasting on the radio.  Dam, even innocent kids could be exposed to all these lies. I tell you, if Democrats in Congress can't figure out how to make trouble for these guys that broadcast outright lies and misinformation, our cause is lost.  It's not just politics.  It's outright lies.  This is the kind of shit Hitler pulled when he came to power.

    •  About scientists... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, bunsk

      They don't hate scientists because they lean left.  They hate scientists (and the "educated elite") because they have critical thinking skills and can parse their bullshit.

      This space intentionally left blank.

      by fresburger on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:07:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I also read some place that conservatives don't go (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fresburger

        into academia very often.  They don't particularly like science because science has a lot of grey areas, especially at the forefront of research.  They don't like grey.  They like certainty, whether it is real or not.  That is why they like religion.  It gives them all the answers and that is OK with them.  It makes them feel secure.  They don't need proof  like a scientist would.  They have their faith. Of course it's all bullshit just like them.

  •  Please. This is what Democracy looks like. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Rich in PA

    The people should get exactly what they vote for.

    If you're fretting, it's over the brains of your fellow Americans who determine your destiny.

    If a Democracy in America threatens you, perhaps your issue is with the country you live in.

  •  Kind of a self-absorbed definition! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    I'll Rochambeau you for it.

    by Rich in PA on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 03:47:31 AM PDT

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