Student Council elections at Grandview High School are typical of those around
the country. Billy is running against Suzy for president while both candidates retain
a slate of contenders for respective lower offices.
Billy is running a bully campaign while Suzy takes the more “civil” approach by pledging compromise with adversaries after being elected. (“There are not two Grandviews, but one.” Sound familiar?)
But Suzy doesn’t learn from her mistakes. She stubbornly holds to the philosophy of ruling by consensus. That alone, she believes, will usher her to victory despite all evidence to the contrary. Suzy is naively idealistic while Billy masterminds mischief behind her back.
As Suzy is confidently working on her acceptance speech, Billy rigs the election. He delegates surrogates to stuff ballots at the same time he dispatches thugs off-campus to suppress the pro-Suzy vote. They flatten her friends’ tires, make hoax calls about deaths in the family, and erect obstacles anywhere possible.
Not only does Billy work underground but in plain sight. He packs the Rules Committee with supporters so that when or if charges are filed they’ll be summarily dismissed. Or if Suzy manages to win despite all odds, the rules will be changed post-election so Billy will appear to have won. Or as one infamous dictator describes: "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." – Josef Stalin
The problem isn’t with Billy, because everyone knows he’s a crook. The problem is with Suzy who should know better but refuses to accept reality. Simply because she prefers to live in an idealistic world of flowers, butterflies and happy faces doesn’t make it so.
Her learning curve is insurmountable because of the self-inflicted mental block. Like old age, she cannot adjust. Her mindset won’t allow it; she cannot accept reality because it’s not what she wants. Rather than fighting fire with fire, she turns the other cheek like a meek little lamb and hopes for the best. All because she’d rather suffer (and her constituents along with her) for the pride of upholding integrity, never accounting for the fact she’ll never win any position where she could actually do anything to preserve it.
The contest between Billy and Suzy is a picture of American politics on a miniature scale. Billy is Tea-Party-Republicanism and Suzy is the inflexible-Old-Guard Democratic Party – so set in her ways, she’d rather lose than “stoop” to the dirty work of exposing and prosecuting evil.
Barack Obama, apparently, is a member of the Old-Guard – with his lawyerly solutions and conflicted messaging. Why the hell would one concede when in the right? Morality is not a bargaining chip. Where is the outrage when witnessing criminality?
The nation cries for strong, moral leadership with clarity of vision. Why cannot our champions deliver? Is the learning curve that difficult?
What Suzy Obama should have known after winning the election [despite the many dirty tricks] is that Billy will never concede, never cooperate, never accept defeat – but will do all in his power to obstruct and derail. Yet, again, Suzy is too sweet to imagine Billy in any other capacity but a “worthy opponent.” She fails the job, condemning her legacy to the dustbin of history – only because she can only see what should be rather than what is. Her learning curve is impaired.
GROUND ZERO FOR THE STRUGGLE
In August of this year I visited Madison, Wisconsin, for the second time since Governor Scott Walker began decertifying unions in that state. Madison is the “Ground Zero” in the war between unbridled capitalism and balance – between the 1% and the rest of us.
Although Scott Walker may be the personification of union-busting, he’s just a puppet, as usual, of the corporate right. The powerful energy magnates, Charles and David Koch, are Walker’s principal backers. For without them, Walker could not walk and chew at the same time. The 2011 Koch-Walker hoax call exposed this truth.
Basically, Walker took millions of dollars in pensions away from teachers and state employees and delivered that money to corporations by way of excessive corporate tax breaks – calling this a “jobs creation package.” Republicans in full control of both House and Senate in Wisconsin stripped public workers of their bargaining powers, pensions, and benefits. Union rights were smashed by the stroke of a pen.
How’d Walker’s plan work out? Wisconsin now ranks 41st in jobs creation since the 2008 Crash. You see, it’s never been about jobs but the redistribution of wealth – concentrating capital into the hands of the few, Robin Hood in reverse.
But Walker was sly. He promised firemen and police their unions would go untouched if they just voted for him in 2010. Divide and conquer. But now that he’s been in power for more than three years, he’s decided to go after them too – not just teachers, janitors, and state workers. (I wish you could see cops cuffing cops and firemen in the Capitol for demonstrating for their rights. Search YouTube for videos.)
The arrests for singing, carrying signs, or simply “observing,” are incredible:
Public employees are under attack all over this country, not just in Wisconsin, but in over two dozen states controlled by the right. Do you think postal workers are immune?
Imagine you’re in a union with a contract set to expire in 2015 – like the APWU. Now imagine a political figure coming into office and within a month informing you your contract is terminated and your union’s bargaining power is history. What would you do? Smile and say, “Thank you, sir. Do it to me some more”?
Now imagine your governor giving away your pension and retirement funds to his special rich friends who happen to contribute heavily to his campaigns. Your future is wiped out. You now have no hope of retiring. You’ve been robbed!
Would your response be, “Oh, well. Walker means well”? Or would you fight for what’s rightfully yours? You’ve worked hard all your life and built a meager nest egg for your senior years, and now all that’s gone. The question is yours to answer – Are you passive or aggressive?
If they go after bargaining rights, chances are they’ll go after others.
Such is the case in Walker’s Wisconsin.
Union members [joined by farmers and small business owners] formed a choir to perform each weekday at noon in the Capitol and on the lawn as a form of peaceful protest against Walker’s thievery.
At first there were about a dozen, but the chorus expanded in time to hundreds plus an orchestra. The Solidarity Singers were born, and tourists flocked to the Capitol to listen, then to sing along. A chorus booklet was published so others could join in. The song leader would announce, “Number 32,” and the choir would sing the verses [if not committed to memory] along with the new impromptu band and dancers that later enlisted.
It is now a jubilant celebration of freedom – non-violent, and immensely popular. Firemen, teachers, police, farmers, ministers, nuns, business people, clerks, postal workers, custodians, state employees, and tourists join together in song.
Apparently that was the problem.
Walker was humiliated by the singers. For good reason. Not coincidentally, he commissioned an “exploratory committee” to see about running for President in 2016 (with Koch backing). Speaking engagements were set in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida – early primary states, and he couldn’t afford to be embarrassed by what was going on at home.
So, Walker coerced his Republican-controlled state legislature to pass a new law prohibiting singing by four or more on the Capitol grounds without first being granted a permit – which was engineered impossible to obtain, the sole purpose of this red-tape roadblock. Furthermore, Walker’s party amended the new bill to ban “spectators” to the singers. Violations were set at $200.50 apiece, and then the Capitol Police were ordered in July 2013 to commence arresting singers and “spectators” – hauling them off like cattle. One would think this was Cairo or Damascus, not Madison, Wisconsin USA.
I had the privilege of attending one of the sing-alongs in August 2013. This I will never forget:
THE DEMOCRATIC OLD-GUARD HAS LET US DOWN
How could Scott Walker win the recall vote in a Wisconsin embroiled in such turmoil? The National Democratic Party let them down, and the candidate selected to run against him was from the old guard that said he saw nothing wrong with Walker decertifying unions, only that he didn’t announce such before being elected in 2010. What the hell?
The fault also lies at the feet of Barack Obama who showed no courage in standing up against poor advice dished out by his spineless political staff. He promised in 2007 to put on walking shoes to demonstrate with labor if collective bargaining was ever challenged. Where was he?
Although the Chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party did not blame the national organization for the colossal defeat, grass-roots party and union members (for the most part) do. After such a long, expensive and bitter battle (2011-2012), Wisconsin Dems cannot be energized to vote strictly party-line in the future after such a heart-wrenching defeat that could have been a victory if only the national leadership would have shown some balls. A traditional Democratic state in general elections, Wisconsin is now a purple state – thanks to Obama’s broken promises.
The Democratic Party is dying of old age, and along with that the America’s progressive agenda.
The definition of “old age” could be the incapability or refusal to adjust to new things. The condition also describes dying nations, movements, or systems that when fully functional in the past contributed notably to the advancement of the human state. With age comes wisdom, but it also brings lethargy where getting out of the recliner and exercising gray matter are related. It’s work to activate the few brain cells necessary to come up with new ideas or even to assimilate ones from the bright young techies down the street.
Change is difficult. But only when one is too lethargic is it so. Those who deny evolution are condemned to extinction, in the literal sense. We all must adapt to survive.
That’s what the “learning curve” is – the ability and willingness to adjust to fresh ideas and new conditions, to gain innovative knowledge advantageous to our future. Doesn’t the Democratic Party need an overhaul so we can all survive? Suzy Democrat has let us down. Let’s fire her and hire someone else who’ll valiantly wage the good fight with courage, clarity of sight and determination.