Sunday, December 26, 2010

Living in a Sad State

For as long as I can remember, I idolized teachers and people who worked in schools. My dad was a teacher. My Mom was a "Vending Machine Lady" in the lunchroom at our High School. As a matter of fact, most of my family worked in education. I thought trying to educate people and help them reach their goals was an honorable, respectable profession. Being a teacher is all I ever remember wanting to be. I tutored classmates, volunteered with the rec department, basically did everything I could to help people learn. I did all of this even though I was constantly being told that a person with my disability couldn't be a teacher! I never let that stop me because I knew in my heart it was what I was meant to do.

After College I continued to fight the good fight. I applied for over 200 jobs before I was hired by Milwaukee Area Technical College 2 1/2 years later. I have been here for 25 years and I love what I do. I love the people I work with and I love our students. I also freely admit that I am paid very well for what I do. I am not ashamed of that. I was brought up to believe that you should find a career that you love, that you are good at and also pays well. I have succeeded at all three of those. I am proud of that!

With the current political climate in Wisconsin, that is probably a dangerous statement to make. Our Governor, Scott Walker, has decided to single out educators and other public service workers as the cause of our great states current (debatable) budget crisis. Even though the vast majority of workers in these groups fall into the middle class, Walker and the Propaganda Machine that is the Republican Party has convinced people that we are greedy, selfish money grubbing slobs.

The funny thing is that there really are very few money saving items in this legislation. Most of it centers around limiting workers rights, ending collective bargaining and basically killing Unions. If collective bargaining is ended, the only negotiable item would be salary and even that would have a cap. If Administrations no longer need to offer insurance how long before they stop offering the option altogether?

Even though the Unions have agreed to the monetary parts of the legislation, Walker and his cronies refuse to have any type of dialogue on this topic. This is nothing more than a vindictive attack on his opponents. The people who this hurts come almost exclusively from groups who voted against him. Walker justifies this behavior by using the tired old Republican standard red herring argument of a mandate from the people. In reality, he won with 52% of the vote. I hardly think 2% qualifies as a mandate.

Wisconsin's State Motto is perfectly concise and positive: Forward! My fear is that with Walker, The Republican Party and their Millionaire Donor's Club in charge, our new Motto will be: Backward!