Now is the Time to Keep Focus

By Thomas Heaney

Photo: Google Images 

Republican Sideshow is a unique threat & deserves to be defeated, replaced at the Ballot Box

If there is one thing that should unite the US electorate at all levels in the next round of elections, it should be retaining the right to vote for all citizens. Thanks to surprise attacks from the right at local, state, and national levels, even that right can no longer be taken for granted.

A dysfunctional arrogance of power has accompanied the most recent group of Tea Party approved elected officials. In Wisconsin, for example, those of us Wisconsinites who would like to offer alternatives to the sanctimonious, ALEC-approved prescriptions of our college dropout governor have learned we are not to be heard or accommodated in any way. We are to be defeated. Toward that end, Governor Scott Walker has focused his time in office on raising money from out of state interests. This includes tapping deep-pocketed prior donors like the Koch brothers. It is clear whose interests are being represented. And whose interests are not.

Walker appears to be playing the same kind of high-risk game Ex-Governor Palin played in Alaska. Should Walker leave office early, he can count on Fox News to hire him onto the panel of ex-Republican governors they already have onboard. This is a great way to earn a large salary for very little effort as long as intellectual honesty and personal integrity are of no concern.

Walker’s sanctimonious philosophical soul mate, Senator Ron Johnson has a similar disdain for the Wisconsin electorate. So far, he has chosen a rather limited role to play. He makes snide comments about President Obama from time to time and votes dutifully with Mitch McConnell’s loyal obstructionists as every loyal freshman, Republican, back bench, lobby-funded Senator is expected to do. Policy suggestions submitted to Johnson questioning our Senator’s positions and votes are met with dismissive email replies. There is no hint that constituent opinions matter one iota. For this we gave up Russ Feingold in 2010!

Yet another heinous example of rogue, rightwing over-reach now plagues the state of Michigan. Their governor, also elected in 2010, has replaced entire city governments with managers he himself appointed. Voter disenfranchisement is something being done personally by Tea Party Governor Snyder in the name of fiscal responsibility. This kind of self-serving hypocrisy and arrogance of power should be proof enough of the insincerity and autocratic nature of the Tea Party itself.

These “public servants” don’t hear and respond to constituent concerns. Rather, they attempt to lay down the law by releasing edicts and policy proclamations about how things are going to be different now that they’re in charge. This attitude should alarm every voter who believes in our representative democracy. After all, these elected officials serve at our pleasure.

The best way to counter these efforts is to make sure that every citizen voice gets heard, to remember what the rogue crop of 2010 has done, and then to return to local people their local control.

Most important is to act at the ballot box in every federal, state, and local election before it’s too late, while it’s still possible. The 2010 election must have consequences so that this sad episode is never again repeated. It is important that folks who can vote do and that those who might not vote, get access to the polls so that their voices can be heard. Voter ID may be only the beginning of what this group of rogue politicians has in mind.

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