Wisconsin is the center of the political universe right now as the recall election of Governor Scott Walker is taking place today. The battle pits the forces of good versus evil, with the unions being placed in the role of bad guy – at least to members of the right; and for the left, it is Governor Walker and his forces.
Generally, being a conservative, I understand the importance of Governor Walker remaining in office as politically speaking, a democrat win here would boost President Obama’s chances of reelection and another four years, we cannot afford. However, the provocation for this fight was totally unwarranted and in my opinion denies citizens certain constitutional rights, so I am not rooting Governor Walker on to victory.
Being a retired police officer puts one in a unique position when it comes to political battles. Those on the right generally support you because you enforce the law put hold a grudge against you because you belong to a union. Likewise, the left does not care for you because of your law enforcement powers but feels a kindred spirit for said union membership. When the battle is over unions and their standing in society, well cops are between a rock and a hard place.
I am all for fiscal responsibility. If government cannot afford their workforce, then it must make cuts. Layoffs and renegotiated contracts are perfectly acceptable and in difficult times, we must all share in the pain. However, the problem with the approach taken by Governor Walker is that to achieve these ultimate goals, he is taking away bargaining powers from government unions, eviscerating the essence of their existence. Many items are (such as health care) now not negotiable and will be dictated by government fiat. Yes we gave you a raise but we are taking it back to pay for health insurance. It makes the right to unionize illusory. It would have been more intellectual honest if the Governor just disbanded the unions.
The right to unionize is a fundamental right, that is it cannot be denied by the government. Workers are free to join a union (or not) if they so desire. As was just said, the government cannot abridge this right but that is what Governor Walker did by removing certain bargaining rights. If you do not work for the government, all the traditional bargaining rights remain intact and if you do work for the government, those rights have been abridged. It makes no sense to treat unions and the members differently just because of who their employer is. It is irrational and unfair.
It is a hallmark of our legal jurisprudence that citizens be treated equally, that is those in similar situations must be treated alike. Wisconsin and their Governor fails to understand this basic concept. The status of working for the government without more does not give the government the right to take away inherent bargaining rights traditionally found among unions. It is ostracizing a group of citizens for no other reason than who they work for.
A person or a group’s status does not invite government punishment. It is un-american and for those who are cheering this on, wait until the government turns on you. As for Governor Walker, the damage he has inflicted will be reflected in either result of the recall election. If he remains in office, the government’s attack on a group of citizens will be validated and if he is removed, then Obama gets a big lift into the fall and a step closer to re-election and four more years of what we are going through.
Either way – not fun.