On June 5, 2012, Scott Walker retained his seat as governor of Wisconsin, leading me to the conclusion that the majority of Wis. voters do not value public employees. And so a year ago today, we were in the midst of negotiating a rental agreement with friends because in the current market we cannot afford sell our home. We were also planning for a new job in another state where our values more closely align with those of public policy.
Clearly, Governor Walker has an agenda that does not include doing what’s best for his constituents. Public employees are the foundation of a healthy, thriving society. Yet those are the exact people Governor Walker has been targeting. First, he illegally busted public unions. According to U.S. District Judge William Conley, “Walker’s anti-union legislation contains parts that are discriminatory and therefore, illegal.” All along, Walker has claimed that he’s simply trying to balance the state budget. But is he really? After all, he rejected the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion that would have brought in a large sum of money in order to help Wisconsin citizens.
Let’s take a moment to think about a strong and healthy society. In a healthy society, people’s basic needs met are met with little difficulty. In addition, most people in a healthy society earn a little extra, so they can give back to their community, thereby keeping the whole strong. That is all made possible by ensuring a middle class filled with a mix of public and private employees who are typically not overworked or overstressed. In a strong society, public employees provide beneficial services such as police officers, firefighters, and public health officials, the type of people who keep communities safe. Furthermore, a Democracy relies on educated citizens which means putting a high priority on public schools. Finally, institutions such as public libraries and parks departments provide everyone with clean and beautiful places to go for recreation. What do all of these things have in common? They benefit everyone, rich or poor, old or young. And they should not be privatized.
When businesses become privatized, what usually happens is that only the healthy are cared for, only the strongest thrive, and only those who do not reduce the bottom line are valued. The flaw with the argument that it’s better to privatize is that people aren’t merchandise, people aren’t things. People are, well, people. As a group, we are stronger with diversity, we are healthier overall because of our differences. If Governor Scott Walker and his supporters can learn to value everyone, they may be surprised to see that the bottom line will flourish.
Sadly, I don’t believe that’s going to happen. Here is some news you may or may not know coming from the state of Wisconsin.
It’s been over a year now since my family and I knew we would be moving away from our hometown, away from family and friends, away from a community we will always love. I’ll be straightforward about this: the Wisconsin I knew is gone, and I greatly fear for the future of the state. Pulling taxpayer funding away from the public sector means that everyone will be supporting private interests. As much as I miss living in Wisconsin, at this time I can honestly say that I do not regret our decision to leave. And I know for a fact, that I am not alone.