So Walker and his Republican buddies did it. They pulled the plug on government unions in Wisconsin; thus poking the union machine in the eye. What a bunch of morons. I mean, it was a dumb enough scheme to begin with, but they knew they had to do it with a quick knock-out blow. Once that was denied them, they needed to re-group and play it cool for a few years; at least until things simmered down some.
But no. They believed the hype about the future going to the bold and they went bold. And now, they're screwed. Royally. Whoever out there that's telling people that politics isn't real doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. Life isn't a slippery slope; it's a pendulum. The more you push in one direction, the more the other side will push back. Make a win on abortion rights in the 70's and you've enraged anti-abortion crowds for decades to come.
That's the reality of it. Actions cause reactions and there are no knock-out blows. And if your plan requires your opponent to lie down and die after you blast them your hardest, then your victory will most assuredly be short-lived. The only easy victories are the ones your opponent can't rally support around.
Cause and Effects
And like the whole collective bargaining thing, that wasn't a cheap gimmick or some easily won toss-off from a simpler age. People fought for that, almost as hard as the people who fought against it. And finally, the people who were against it realized it wasn't worth the fight. Because you know what the alternative is? Strikes. If you don't give unions the right to negotiate contracts legitimately, then they'll take the power illegitimately. That's life. That's how it works.
And then, of course, there's the impending recall elections which will most assuredly take down at least a few of the eight eligible Republicans. Their Senate leader doesn't think recall laws are "legit" because you shouldn't be able to recall a politician for how he votes. But why the hell not?
It'd be one thing if the Wisconsin GOPers had run on the platform of crippling unions, but they didn't. Now Wisconsinites want another bite at the apple, now that they know what they're getting. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. As I've said before, democracy is not a term-limited dictatorship. Nor is it a free pass to do whatever the hell you want, just as long as you can trick your way into office.
These recalls are what democracy and accountability are all about. If you don't like facing the will of the people, then you shouldn't get into politics.
And that's why Obama couldn't just give us single-payer universal healthcare. Well, the main reason was because Democrats in Congress wouldn't have let him. But even if he somehow pulled out all the cards and forced it on them, that would be the least of his worries. Because people don't like it when you move too far, too fast. People get scared with radical change. And if everyone were to be told they'd be losing their health insurance soon, and instead be taken care of by Big Daddy Government; a lot of people would have been unhappy about that; to say the least.
And so it's about giving people what they can accept. That's what democracy is all about. Because democracy isn't some nice-guy, feel-good gesture designed to make us all feel happy inside. And it's certainly not about giving us the best leaders, as we obviously could do better than what we've been getting. It's about giving people control over their own lives, so they feel like the system can work for them. And if you deny them that power and insist that elections are meaningless and you hide your real plans until after you're elected, then you're going to get bad results.
Democracy isn't for the benefit of the people. It's for the benefit of the government. People who have input into their daily lives are a lot happier and saner than people who do not. That's simply undeniable. That's not to say you can please all the people all the time, as you obviously can't. But you at least need them to think that they have a legitimate means to control their lives.
And that means we must ensure that elections have meaning. And in Wisconsin's case, that means they're just going to have to have another one, as the last one was obviously a lie. Politics are real.