A Walker turnaround
January 27, 2012
Filed under Opinion
Let me be the first to say that I feel awful about contributing to the massive media coverage devoted to the Wisconsin recall efforts.
I hate it when topics get beaten into the ground relentlessly by the media, but I think this column will be a little bit different; it’s different because my position is anti-recall, and at least tentatively, pro-Scott Walker.
You read that right: pro-Walker and anti-recall. Let me explain myself.
I’ll be the first to say that my political views tend to skew liberal. I voted a straight democratic ticket in 2008 and 2010, but both times I was underinformed on the issues. I simply followed what I thought my political views were. But the past year and a half has made me reexamine my views, and I’m surprised by what I’ve found.
When Walker was campaigning, it was evident that Wisconsin’s budget was going to have a shortfall of about $2.7 billion when he took over. He said he would account for this by cutting spending, specifically by reducing state employees’ wages and benefits to help pay for his tax cuts towards businesses that would help promote job growth.
He then won the election, and did exactly what he said he was going to do. Naturally, people acted like this came out of left field and were shocked that he would do these things.
At first, I was with everyone else who opposed Walker’s cuts to the University of Wisconsin. I participated in the walkout from classes last spring, and thought I understood the issues at hand. However, once I looked into the subject, I started to see the other side of the issue and the reasoning behind Walker’s actions.
I’ll admit, it stinks that teachers are going to get paid less and get less benefits, but at least they get to keep their jobs.
Walker faced a tough decision when he took office. He could either cut jobs and keep some people happy, or he could cut wages and keep people employed.
He made an unpopular decision, but he stuck by it the whole time. Like dads everywhere would say, “the right thing to do and the easy thing to do are rarely the same thing.”
There was no easy way out in this situation, but it’s my opinion that allowing people to keep their jobs was the right thing to do.
Walker’s supported budget cuts resulted in a recall movement by those that opposed him.
Recall workers needed to collect 540,208 signatures, which is 25 percent of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election. There was also a time limit of 60 days to collect these signatures. The recall started on Nov. 15, and wrapped up on Jan. 13.
According to a Dec. 16 article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, supporters collected over half a million signatures in little over a month.
According to a Jan. 17 article in the Huffington Post, recall efforts produced over a million signatures. But an Associated Press article from Jan. 20 says organizers said they turned in almost 1.9 million signatures, which is almost equal to the 2.1 million votes cast in the gubernatorial election.
When the recall started, I knew right away that I didn’t support it or the thinking behind it.
To me, it looked like people were whining about the way things were, and this was their way to try and change it. I just don’t understand recalling someone for doing exactly what he or she said they were going to do.
I understand if people had tried to recall Walker for doing something terrible, or not doing what he said he was going to do, but he’s sticking to his word.
Where were all these people on Election Day, when they could have kept Walker from taking office in the first place?
The recall and the anti-Walker sentiments in Wisconsin are a good example of political participation, which is all well and good. I have nothing against political participation, which is a key component of a successful democracy, but people need to look at the different sides of an issue before making a decision and simply following the crowd, as I did at the beginning of all this.
Just because everyone is behind something doesn’t make it right or correct.