Ann Althouse, Labor / Employment, Politics, State Judges, Vicious Infighting

The Wisconsin Police State

Is Wisconsin experiencing the worst Super Bowl hangover ever?

Is there a huge difference between living in a North African country and living in the state of Wisconsin right now? Can somebody please send in Richard Engel to conduct an interview with a bearded lumberjack making a barricade out of cheese?

In case you haven’t been following along (and I understand that it’s not as exciting as the next Charlie Sheen interview), Wisconsin no longer has a functioning government. I’m not exaggerating. The Republican Governor, Scott Walker, and the Republican legislature basically want to take away the right of unions to collectively bargain.

In response, Democrats have fled the state. Again, I’m not exaggerating here. Instead of allowing democracy, however disagreeable the outcome, to play out, 14 Democratic legislators have simply decided not to play. They’ve fled, preventing the legislature from getting together a quorum to vote on Walker’s budget.

And man, are there protests. It’s getting to the point where if Wisconsin had a functioning government, it would probably declare martial law….

There’ve been some great/disturbing pictures and videos coming out of the protests in Wisconsin. Here’s a great one from @Karofsky on yfrog. The woman at the center of the picture is Shirley S. Abrahamson — but you know her better as the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She’s being forced to present her credentials to police in order to simply walk into the courthouse:

It’s not just important people who are having trouble getting into public buildings. Check out the valiant effort by Meade, husband of law professor / blogger Ann Althouse, to cut the line get into a building during a protest.

It seems public opinion has turned against Walker’s draconian union busting plans as well. A new poll shows that 60 percent of Americans oppose the key parts of Walker’s proposal.

But that’s no excuse for Democrats refusing to let the government function properly. We are a nation of laws. We are a nation of majority rule with minority rights. What kind of message does this send to the rest of the world when the so called “best” democracy in the world functions like this? These legislators need to show up to work, get their ass kicked in a fair process, and let either the courts or the next election cycle deal with the fallout. That’s how things are supposed to work, in America.

If Walker’s fiscal policies are unappealing to the people of Wisconsin, then they shouldn’t have voted for him last November. Let this be a lesson to the Wisconsin public employees who are about to have their union busted that next time they should be more informed and more active when an election rolls around. Let the 60 percent of the people who now oppose this plan pay some goddamn attention to things during election season aside from which politician is getting a little action on the side.

Sorry Wisconsin protesters, but elections have consequences.

The Long-Term Effect Of Wisconsin’s Union Battles [NPR]
Poll: Sixty percent oppose weakening collective bargaining [The Hill]
Meade is new media. [Althouse]

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