Friday, February 18, 2011

day 1: turmoil in the middle west

I am a proud Wisconsinite.  I will admit, I was not born in this great state of cheese, football, snow, and brats (I know...WI is about so much more, but besides the snow, those are a few of my favorites).  I was born next door, but my roots are here.  I have been living in Madison for almost 10 years and have loved calling this place my home for every single one of them.  That is...until recently.

I know that people get very edgy when the p-word is brought up, but my life  has been revolving around it for the past few days and therefore, I have no choice but to speak about it.
I work for the state, and despite what some people might say, I am not lazy (except maybe on Saturdays and Sundays...but even then, I have trouble sleeping past 9 AM and always find myself itching to do SOMETHING), and I am not entitled.  I enjoy my work and I am very grateful for having a job.   Last week, Gov. Scott Walker unveiled -- no, not just unveiled, but also pushed forth -- a bill that would strip union workers of most of their collective bargaining rights among many, many other things, including state workers paying more into their health and pension benefits.   Being a non-unionized state worker, many might say that I am deeply upset because I am being forced (not asked, but forced) to pay a large portion of my meager salary towards my benefits.  Some people may say that I deserve to pay more into them.  While I have opinions about those opinions, I want, nay, NEED to state:  I am not upset about paying more for these benefits.  Am I happy about it? Of course not!  I pay taxes just like everyone else, but I am willing to take a pay cut (by paying more into my benefits) to help with the deficit our state is facing.

The part of this bill that is wreaking havoc on my nervous system is the part where people are being stripped of their rights -- their chair at the bargaining table being harshly pulled out from underneath them.   I could question and question and question all of Walker's motivations for pushing forth his (his being a loose term) agenda.  But the bottom line that I can see is that he is not thinking of the people, of the future of the people, of what is good for the people.  He is dividing people based on public vs. private sectors, Republican vs. Democrat...when what we truly need is unity. Solidarity. Conversation.

I hope that I can continue to live in this state and be proud to say that I am from Wisconsin, home of the Green Bay Packers, home of the Wisconsin Badgers, home of some of the best people I've ever known.  Only time will tell, and I suppose, Scott Walker.


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