This is not what democracy looks like

February 19th, 2011

The students and public union members who have taken over Wisconsin’s state capital in an attempt to intimidate the duly elected majority have been chanting, viagra sale discount “This is what democracy looks like.”

This is not what democracy looks like. This is what mob rule looks like. It’s what self-interest looks like. It’s what a minority trying to thwart the will of the majority looks like. It is the exact opposite of democracy.

The reason America’s democracy has worked so long when so many other attempts at democracy have quickly failed is that Americans understand that the winners of elections get to govern.

I could not disagree more strenuously with President Obama’s agenda, cialis buy sovaldi sale but as he famously said, look “elections have consequences.” For the time being, he gets to implement his policies. In 2012, I will do my best to see that he is defeated and that many of his policies are reversed. That’s how we do it in America.

If you don’t like the results of an election, you work harder to win next time, you don’t attempt to overturn the results through work stoppages or by shutting down the government and refusing to return until the majority bows to your will.

I’m not saying the people don’t have the right to protest or advocate for their position, of course they do. But what’s going on in Madison is way beyond writing your representative, it is an organized attempt to subvert the results of a democratic election. That’s certainly not what “democracy looks like.”

This week we will probably find out who really runs Wisconsin, the voters or the unions.

And, quite honestly, I doubt it will end up being the voters.

Entry Filed under: Observations

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  February 19th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Very well said.

  • 2. Nick  |  February 19th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I mostly agree with you… but protest can certainly be more than simply writing your representative. If it was, then the Founders never would have included the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” together in the 1st Amendment.

    To be honest, I’m absolutely sick and tired of the phrase “the will of the majority”, for it is also often used as an excuse to take legitimate rights away from minorities without power. The will of the majority gave us Jim Crow. The will of the majority made sure “teh gay” couldn’t get married.

    With that said, these work stoppages are not good. I also think that anyone ought to be able to form a union. I just don’t think that businesses or government should be required by law to negotiate with one.

    Its a tough balance.

  • 3. Bill  |  February 19th, 2011 at 9:17 am

    One thing I have noticed about Scott Walker through watching him as Milwaukee County Executive is that he shoots straight and tries his level best to do as he said he would do. That anyone is surprised by his actions this past week truly is a sign that people don’t pay attention.

    That being said, I have my doubts that one could find anyone in the crowd surrounding and occupying the capitol building who actually voted for Gov. Walker and for myself, I support him wholeheartedly in his efforts to bring Wisconsin to a place of fiscal sanity and stability. He won the election by a margin of 6% and is now doing the very things he said he would do thereby fulfilling the job he was elected to do.

    What most of the protesters seem to have missed is that this is but the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. They happen to be first in line but further cuts are certainly coming. Gov. Walker telegraphed his intention during his press conference yesterday when he stated the reason for the rules changes concerning collective bargaining was to give local governments the ability to contend with their local unions in the budget battles that were coming because State contributions were going to be cut in the upcoming budget.

    Gov. Walker’s “modest proposal” will cost my family roughly $200 a month (by our calculations) as my wife works for Wisconsin DPI. It will hurt us in the short term financially as we will feel the pinch, but, as my wife said yesterday, “we have lived with less income and we have lived with no income – less income is better.”

  • 4. grumps  |  February 19th, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I’m wondering where you’re drawing your lines.

    If 200 AFP shock troops on the West Lawn of the Capitol assembling to listen to Dooley berate firefighters on their way back from a 911 memorial ceremony was the epitome of Democracy in action and 4000 cranky people on the North Lawn was an outpouring of Patriotism, how is this anything but a seven-fold expression of love for The American Way?

    When you think of people being told to sit down and take their lumps, you’re thinking about autocracy. And when autocracy rears its head in the service of corporate interests there is a name for that as well.

    Union busting isn’t new in the US. I guess it’s surprising that Walker is so baad at it given all his experience trying in MKE Cty.

  • 5. TerryN  |  February 19th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Very well said indeed, Elliott.

    I’m in MN this weekend and heard locally they are expecting 70K in Madison today.

    I thought we elected leaders to prevent this kind of “rule”. Of course your elected “leaders” need to respect the American system for it to work.

    Alexis de Tocqueville’s words ring true almost 200 years later.

  • 6. Debunked  |  February 19th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    If you feel that way, then we shouldn’t have the filibuster in the Senate.

    Maybe then we would’ve spent nine months on an actual public option in the health care bill instead of the watered down version of health care reform we ended up with.

    Walker pushing this bill through the way he’s doing it would be akin to Obama and the Democrats having drafted, voted on, and passed single payer health care reform in a single week.

    I would’ve loved to have seen the conservative protests if THAT had happened. But are you claiming if it had, then it would’ve been fine because “the majority spoke at the previous election” ?

    Sorry, you’re not allowed to try and claim the moral high ground when neoconservatives did the same thing in an attempt to PREVENT making health care available to over 30 million more Americans for almost a year.

    At least the Democrats allowed for months of debate and changed it significantly over that time. Not hours while holding an early vote to exclude the Democrats.

  • 7. Elliot  |  February 19th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Nick, I agree it’s a tough balance. And Grumps, drawing the line is definitely hard.

    This post is motivated entirely by the attempt on the part of some of the protesters to characterize what’s happening as “democracy” and a revolt of the “people.”

    Where else is “the people” defined as “the government workers who benefit from the regime’s taxation of the populace?”

    And the Minority leader saying he won’t allow the Senate to form a quorum until he approves of what’s in the bill is not democracy, it’s extortion.

  • 8. Elliot  |  February 19th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I’m in favor of the filibuster. I’m on record as saying so.

    If the state Senators had the ability to filibuster, I wouldn’t like it, but I’d accept it.

    Fleeing the state to prevent a quorum and then only agreeing to come back if the minority gets its way is a different animal entirely.

  • 9. grumps  |  February 19th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Why is Walker able, or even willing, to draw some sort of distinction between taxpayers and public workers?

    It will be a disaster when Main Street starts to feel the impacts of his actions. We’ve already started cutting back on some of the automatic discretionary spending and much more of it goes away when this tax increase hits.

  • 10. Debunked  |  February 19th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    How to make a conservative’s head spin?

    Conservatives love spouting off the statistic that only 50% of Americans pay taxes.

    Proposition: Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million people.

    Extrapolating, this means that roughly 2.85 million people in Wisconsin pay taxes.

    Conservatives love spouting off that public employees are overcompensated.

    Proposition: Roughly 20% of Wisconsin workers are state employees as stated here: http://www.wistax.org/news_releases/2010/1002.html
    — Relevant quote: “The state had 50.35 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees for every 1,000 state residents …”

    Extrapolating, this means that 20% of all Wisconsinites, or 1.14 million people, are a public employee.

    If all public employees are paid too much, as conservatives maintain, then all public employees must be in the bracket where they pay into taxes.

    Extrapolating, this means that 1.14 million of the 2.85 million Wisconsinites who pay taxes are public sector employees. Thus, 40% of all people who pay taxes are paying themselves.

    There you go. Conservative logic for the win.

  • 11. grumps  |  February 19th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    tee hee–You said “Conservative Logic.” Everybody take a sip.

  • 12. Dan  |  February 19th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Wow, debunked and grumps really have no intelligent comeback so they go off subject. Classy.

  • 13. Debunked  |  February 19th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    1) I made my response to his original point already in this thread.

    2) Why avoid the point I made in the second response?

  • 14. Roland Melnick  |  February 19th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    If Debunked’s math is accurate, we have too many public employees and I think he just accounted for everyone who voted for Barrett last election.

    BTW…well said Elliot.

  • 15. Debunked  |  February 19th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Yes, it must suck that we actually have people out there to teach your children, police the streets, prevent the spread of fires, tend to the sick, respond to emergencies, keep the water clean, handle all the trash, keep the streets clean, fix the roads, plow the roads, handle your sewage waste, maintain public recreation sites, keep electricity running to your house, and who knows what other public goods I’m missing.

    But of course, if you want to hire a private tutor to teach or lose income by having one parent stay home and home-school your children, hire and equip a neighborhood police force, hire and equip neighborhood firefighters, drill your own well, take your own trash to a private dump, clean the streets yourself, carry around bags of cement to fill potholes with, own your own snow plow, piss and shit in a bucket then carry that bucket to a waste disposal center, and purchase your own portable generator, maintain it, and keep sufficient gasoline on hand to keep it running…

    The fact that all of those services are available and it only takes one person per five to do all that is, in some ways, fairly impressive.

  • 16. Debunked  |  February 19th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Oh, and before anybody mentions the obvious response that electrical companies are private entities (while ignoring every other point in my comment)…

    Remember that there are 82 municipally owned non-profit electric companies throughout Wisconsin that distribute over 10% of Wisconsin’s total energy that typically have lower rates than the private company counterparts: http://www.meuw.org/

  • 17. Dan  |  February 20th, 2011 at 2:00 am

    What the hell does electric power have anything to do with the protests in Madison?
    And your second post was moronic and not on the subject.

  • 18. David Casper  |  February 20th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    “Why is Walker able, or even willing, to draw some sort of distinction between taxpayers and public workers?”

    Seriously?

  • 19. Debunked  |  February 20th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Do I really need to spell it out for you? The second post was bringing up an inconsistency in the conservative viewpoint that public sector employees are heavily overcompensated. The misinformation that public sector employees are heavily overcompensated is a core reason why these protests in Madison are occurring. And the protests in Madison is the core reason this thread exists.

    Second, regarding electric power, in my response to Roland I was merely bringing up a list of the various tasks all those public sector employees perform. If you, like me, have a private electric company locally then that particular item may not apply to you.

  • 20. John Foust  |  February 20th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I find it amusing that Walker and the WisGOP hold themselves up as the sole repository of business acumen and white-collar wisdom, yet when given the chance to work out a solution to a very large problem, their response is “We will not negotiate.” He wants them to cave even before he presents the rest of the budget.

    Where’s incumbent backlash when we need it? All these legislators who’ve been there for ten, fifteen, twenty years, through many permutations of guv-Ass-Sen being held by the two parties, and yet we’re supposed to be happy to let them get us out of the mess they created?

  • 21. Dan  |  February 21st, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    “I find it amusing that Walker and the WisGOP hold themselves up as the sole repository of business acumen and white-collar wisdom,”
    Well, at this time, with the Senate out of State and the Assembly hiding in their offices, yeah, that’s pretty much true.

  • 22. John Foust  |  February 21st, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Dan, you’re dodging. Address my point: Where’s the justification for “we will not negotiate”?

  • 23. Dan  |  February 22nd, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I guess, again, you must mean the democrats. they cannot negotiate if they are in hiding.
    As far as the Assembly, all I hear is a bunch of screaming and threats.
    If that is part of negotiations, so be it.
    The GOP is in Madison but the Dem’s don’t want to talk.
    And it seems to me that there have been some changes from the orginal bill, so something must have happened.
    But of course the Dem’s know how to negotiate, they learned it from Obama and the healthcare bill.

  • 24. John Foust  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    No, it’s Walker saying he won’t negotiate. The Dems and the unions said they’d like the opportunity to do so. Which news are you listening to? These are obvious facts.

  • 25. Dan  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Umm, no John. These are the facts: Walker doesn’t have to negotiate. The Dem’s lost the election. Too bad. the people of Wisconsin spoke. Get over it. If the Dem’s want to play games, then Walker has to play hard ball. He probably would have negitoiated if the dem’s didn’t Walk out and the union goons and thier supporters didn’t attack the Capitol like a bunch of spoiled little brats who kept saying mine, mine, mine, like the gulls on Finding Nemo.
    Did Doyle negotiate when he and the Dem’s wanted something done? No. Why do you think Wisconsin has the budget mess it has now, especially long term?

  • 26. John Foust  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I think what you’re saying is that even though Obama & Co. spent all sorts of time in hearings about their tweak to Romneycare, you think Obama was doing it the right way, and shouldn’t have listened to any opposition.

    Which way would you like it? Doyle was wrong and Walker is wrong? Doyle was right and Walker is right? Tell me about how you defended Obama and Doyle.

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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