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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/10/12

Pure Transformation or Persistent Deterioration? What Next Wisconsin? America? The World?

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Kristine Mattis
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And as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end
That bullshit is bullshit, it just goes by different names "

Paul Weller (The Jam)


We all know the old Albert Einstein adage that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What does that say about Wisconsin? June 5th 2012 saw an exact rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett -- and the exact same result, the only difference being that Walker won by an even wider margin than before.


While pundits have been pontificating about the causes of such a seemingly absurd victory by Scott Walker after the enormous groundswell of citizens fighting for sixteen months against the governor and his Tea Party Republican administration, most of the discussion has been shallow and fraught with inaccuracies. Furthermore, mere speculation on the causes of the Walker win only point to the ease with which our society retreats back to often unfounded conventional wisdom. Walker outspending Barrett 7 to 1, an ignorant electorate hell bent on voting against their own interests, and poor "messaging" by the Democratic party/candidate may all have played a part in the crushing Walker win, but these observations only scratch the surface of the problems facing Wisconsin, the country, and the world and serve to fuel the media's incessant focus on the horse race. This insistence on focusing on the superficial always serves, by design, to impede the discourse on substantive issues.


The following represent some of the points directly and indirectly connected to the Wisconsin election which I failed to hear in the media discourse on the subject:


In Wisconsin:


  • Scott Walker did NOT originally campaign on taking away collective bargaining rights. Thus, when he and his cronies claimed that he just carried out his campaign promises, they lied.


  • The right to collective bargaining has nothing to do with and does not preclude balancing a budget.


In America:


  • The fact that private sector and non-union employees do not have living wages, full benefits and access to health care is a travesty, but their friends and neighbors in unions in the public sector are not to blame. ALL workers should have such benefits, which all humans should be entitled to. By demonizing fellow workers who have these basic human rights, we only allow the elite to sit back with their excess riches while the rest fight for scraps. The haves promulgate the falsehood of entitlement abuse through exploiting the fear and selfishness of the have-nots. It is a divide and conquer strategy through which the elite pit the working class against one another in a race to the bottom. In reality, the hoarding by the super-rich few is to blame for the lack of basic resources for the many.


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Kristine Mattis holds a PhD in Environment and Resources. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice, public health protection, and ecological sustainability.

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