Friday, April 1, 2011

Judge Sumi really, really means it

In just a little while, Dane Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi will hear arguments on the request by Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne to block the union busting law until she can consider whether or not Republican legislators passed it properly (this morning's front page article). I don't have to tell you why it is being challenged. We all remember with a bit of rage how Sen. Scott Fitzgerald rammed it through in violation of the state's open meetings law while 14 Democrats were 'on the lam' in Illinois to deny them a quorum on the notorious budget repair bill.

Yesterday for the THIRD time, Judge Sumi basically asked Repubs what it is about her temporary restraining order that they did not understand, at one point threatening sanctions if they continued to defy the court.  Now Guv Scott Walker is all polite on us saying he'll abide by the law because he has to, but doesn't really want to.

He really does remind me sometimes of the playground bully who thinks he has the ball and can run home with it if he feels like it.  Democracy - you run for governor, you win by withholding your real agenda from voters, you start implementing the real agenda, voters are outraged, but you think once elected you can do whatever you want, and now a court says, well, maybe not, meanwhile your approval rating sinks into a deepening abyss.

Democracy - really doesn't stop on inauguration day.

Democracy - you have to abide by the law (yes, King Scott Fitzgerald, that even means you), even when it means you don't get your way during your reign.

United States democracy - founded on a revolution against the king, founded on a revolution against tyranny from the crown, when rule by the monarchy felt a lot like a suffocating oppression.

All you protesters and fed-up public and private sector workers who have seen you labor rights eroded, your wages sink, your houses lost to foreclosure, your kids' education in jeopardy, your health insurance disappearing - please ponder this. We are only in a 'budget crisis' by design of the corporate backers of these politicians and these initiatives in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Indiana, and elsewhere, by design of mega-corporations who want to get government - and you - out of their way. They have no intention of creating good-paying jobs because they don't need to and don't want to - except for the fewer workers they need at lower wages and benefits (a la Kohler, Mercury Marine, and Harley Davidson).

In the public sector, they want to outsource your jobs, our schools, our utilities, our airports, our flagship university, our prisons, and more so that they can run things for their financial benefit, so that they can make more and more of this country into a corporate state - a bit like England in the 1700s.

The more this happens, the more we lose access to the big decisions that effect all of our lives and the common goods (along with the good of the commons), the quality of our lives, our environment, our educational institutions, etc.  We can challenge government; it remains accountable to us. Corporations remain legally accountable only to their shareholders, or in the case of the very private Koch brothers, to themselves.

Once upon a time, writing like this would leave one vulnerable to accusations of being 'leftist,' or 'socialist,' or a crazy liberal. But now we know that what I write here is merely descriptive,  not polemical.

Republican appointee Judge Sumi is one great example of this. She is hardly anybody's liberal, but she is obviously pretty convinced that Ozanne has an excellent case and an excellent chance of winning. While no one can say yet how she will ultimately rule, or what pressures she is dealing with right now, the response of King Fitzgerald to the perfectly legitimate actions of Democrats to prevent quorum, the deceptive and hasty maneuver to get the union-busting law passed, and then the response from the Walker administration when Judge Sumi said, 'whoa, wait, not so fast,' again reveals the essential thing we need to know right now about this administration and it's Fitzgerald enablers in the Senate and Assembly.

Folks, stay very engaged in this. Don't give up or lose hope. Something special has been sparked here in Wisconsin. Democracy can overcome corporate monarchy one more time, this time before it has a chance to re-entrench itself. I want democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people, not for the corporate giants, their shareholders, and their wealthy investors. I have a feeling you do, too.

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