A week later I’m certainly more levelheaded about the defeat. The simplest answer to why Wisconsin got duped is C.R.E.A.M (1), and while there were certainly a number of other factors, the cash advantage that led to a steady stream of Walker advertising can’t be dismissed. Much smarter folk than I have spent a good part of the last week examining all the reasons, large and small, why Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. For me though, the #WiUnion movement wasn’t just about removing Walker or stopping his policies, it was about putting better leaders in place and promoting positive solutions to the challenges that face our state. For many reasons the recall election path seemed like the most logical way to achieve that goal. Now that the race is behind us I’m looking to answer a fictional President’s famous question, “What’s next?”
Ideally I want someone to hand me a bouquet of heart balloons and point me towards the next step. I know I want to keep fighting for the things that I’ve focused on for the last year including quality education (including science in the classrooms), jobs for my neighbors, labor rights, women’s health issues, LBGT equality, and transparency in government. Maybe if I was in Milwaukee I’d have an immediate outlet as Palermo’s Pizza workers fighting for the right to unionize and save us from Flu Finger Pie (2). However, living in a small village outside of Madison, I don’t have a quick answer.
My son is almost 3 and while I’d like to think I’d have found this passion as a childless bachelor I’ll admit he and my partner’s well being is what drives me to work towards a better community. Community is also the word that I believe will dictate my next steps. I think we need to work from the ground up as we both educate our neighbors and elect candidates who put community before profit. So to do that here’s my next steps:
- I need to start attending my village and school board meetings. I need to learn who in my community is working towards solutions I can get behind. As Walker, and those of his ilk, move their agenda forward, our communities are really going to be left to their own limited tools.
- I’m going to look towards campaign and candidate training for myself and hopefully some friends. In victory and defeat respectively, two of the most inspiring stories of the last few months have been the campaigns of Jenni Dye for Dane County Board and Lori Compas for State Senate. To see people move from the streets to the ballot was a sight to behold.
- I need to continue to push my own comfort zone and keep talking. I haven’t bought a Johnsonville sausage in 18 months but rarely have I turned to a stranger in the store to let him know what Johnsonville’s donations to Walker have led to. When I made calls or knocked doors I dreaded having a Walker supporter appear on the other end when I should have been welcoming the opportunity to share information.
- Along those lines, I need to read more…a lot more. I need to armed with knowledge not just rhetoric for discussions with friends, neighbors and strangers.
- Lastly I’m posting this to my blog and keeping a copy in my backpack. We all have to hold ourselves accountable for the future. If Barrett had won, complacency and acceptance wouldn’t have been acceptable and it sure as hell is not with Walker still around.
(2). For a good recap of the Palermo’s strike, read up here: http://www.theuptake.org/2012/06/10/records-show-palermos-strikers-safety-concerns-are-real/