Skool Daze

          It’s been playing out like a light-night C-movie from the 1960’s. In fact, it would be hard for even the most twisted of screenwriters to make this stuff up because, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. The protests of teachers unions in Wisconsin against their new governor (or rather, the taxpayers of Wisconsin), has been a spectacle from the beginning.
          As is happening across the country, Wisconsin has found itself in the hole financially, so last November, the voters there (and in many other places), decided to give a conservative leader a chance to turn things around. In doing the job the voters gave him to do, Governor Scott Walker has found himself in the center of a firestorm of political rhetoric and left-wing ire. He’s been compared regularly to Hitler and the recently-relieved-from-his-position former dictator of Egypt. All this because he was trying to close a budget gap and lighten the taxpayers’ burden by asking that public employees pay a little more towards their own health care and pensions. What he’s asking is still less than those in the private sector (the ones paying the bills) pay for their own pensions and health care. He also hopes to end their collective-bargaining rights. Even liberal icon President FDR would have agreed with him there. In a 1937 letter he wrote, “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
          But facts are a hard thing when you’re a liberal, or a progressive…or a spoiled brat. So, into Madison to the state capitol they came, but not just teachers union members, or Wisconsinites, for that matter. They came wearing their union t-shirts, the SEIU in purple, and a bunch of people in red shirts, and college students who just wanted something to protest like their grandparents in the ‘60’s did. Clueless high school students were taken on “social justice field trips” by their teachers, not knowing what was going on (“We’re trying to stop what this dude’s doing”). Geez, you’d think these teachers would have at least made sure their students knew the name of the “dude” they were protesting! There’s a good chance that even their teachers didn’t know exactly what was going on, though. Check out this video of the protesters spending the night at the capitol. It could only be described as a middle-of-the-night drug-induced haze, with protesters banging a drum and standing around looking stupid. Hopefully, these were just miscellaneous protesters and anarchists, not actual Wisconsin teachers.
           To add to that odd mix, there were doctors, state employees no less, who were passing out fake sick notes to the teachers who were out protesting. Now these teachers are obviously not sick…something about that smells like fraud to me. If I was a parent with kids in the public schools in Wisconsin, and I found out that he or she took paid time off at the taxpayer’s expense to protest, I’d be asking for their resignation.
As if all this weren’t enough, the Democrat members of the Wisconsin senate are still on the run, refusing to come back from their secure location out of state in order to provide the quorum needed to continue debate on Gov. Walker’s legislation. The State Assembly, however, did pass the bill, causing the Democrat members of that body to shout “Shame! Shame! Shame!” to their Republican counterparts as they left the chamber in the wee hours of February 25th. Democrat Rep. Gordon Hintz was also heard above the racket shouting to Republican Rep. Michelle Litjens, “You’re f***ing dead!” He later apologized for his sleep-deprived outburst.  Had it been a Republican representative saying that to a Democrat representive, well, we all know what would have happened.
          This type of “civility” was on display again last weekend when Fox News reporter Mike Tobin was shouted down during one of his live shots from Madison, and was later assaulted when the camera cut away to a shot of the capitol’s interior. Tobin stated, “One thing I think should make clear – the people coming after us from every live shot here, these people hate. These are people who don’t respect diverse viewpoints.”
          I could go on even more about what these protests have been showing us about those protesting. Since these things are never about what liberals say they’re about (“it’s for the children”), I have to believe that maybe some- not all- of those in Madison have other motives. Is it about union power? Money? Probably both. I found this quote in the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell. It’s from Al Shanker, the former president of the American Federation of Teachers, who said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
          This isn’t just about Wisconsin…or teachers…and it sure ain’t no Tea Party.


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