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Proud of Wisconsin Democracy

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 in Our View

Yesterday, a grass roots coalition of Wisconsinites delivered recall petitions signed by over 1,900,000 Wisconsin citizens to recall Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and their right-wing cronies in the state legislature. Included in the total was over one million to recall Walker alone.

Mike Tate, Chairperson of the State Democratic Party said “In Wisconsin, you have made a historic stand.”

We say it was more than that. It was truly a demonstration of what democracy looks like.

The signatures, on over a ton of paper, were delivered to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Madison and should be easily sufficient to force a recall election this summer. Only a little over 540,000 signatures each are required to recall Walker and Kleefisch. Petitions sufficient to cause a recall of four other Republicans, including State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, were also delivered.

Walker and his cronies in Madison can be expected to exhaust every opportunity, legal and otherwise, to delay the recall election itself. They will argue that the unions were behind it, that a recall costs too much, is unneeded, that we should wait till the next election. They will run their countless TV ads saying their “reforms are working” and trying to scapegoat teachers and other government workers for the “budget deficit” they created on paper.

Ever since the Citizens United decision, big corporate money has flowed into our elections seeking to buy our votes. To imply some equivalency between this money and that provided by union sources is a joke. They create a false reality with their big money media and offer their prepaid candidates as a solution.

It is the greatest threat to democracy in our lifetime, and the recall effort provides a template on how to beat it.

Thousands of citizen volunteers, and I personally know a lot of them, got out and did the hard leg work to gather these signatures. They did not ask for anything for themselves except the knowledge that they would not go down quietly, that they would be heard.

This is what democracy looks like. That every citizen has an equal voice and an equal vote at the town hall meeting. That governments are created by the people to represent their interests and can be changed if they don't.

This is also the Wisconsin tradition of democracy. Scott Walker forgot this tradition at his own peril. And it makes us proud to be in Wisconsin this fine sunny morning.

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Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

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