I know, I've been a bit of a slacker lately. I'll admit that we were a little tired from all the button-making and protest activity around the time of the recall. But please don't think we've changed our minds or our commitment to making this state the kind of place that is true to its citizens. Nor have we changed our mind about how poorly we think of Scott Walker as Wisconsin's Governor. So, yes, we ARE voting for Mary Burke! It's a no-brainer as far as we're concerned.
We had a slightly bizarre experience this week as we received an anonymous letter complaining about our hypocrisy of supporting Mary Burke while supporting the buy local movement at the same time. It included a tirade of (now shown to be false) talking points put forth by Walker about Trek's outsourcing and wages. Essentially, the writer granted that we could sell whatever we wanted to sell but that we should not be hypocrites about our buy local principles AND support an outsourcer at the same time. Trust me, I am not losing sleep over this. I mention it mostly because it elicits an interesting reaction in me which I'm quite sure the letter-writer was not intending, namely, we restocked our buttons, I realized I had to write this blog post, and I went and bought a Stand With Wisconsin bumper sticker for my car. I don't actually know what's a good approach for modifying someone's behavior. Because any time someone has criticized me for my politics, I mostly just double-down. Take, for example, the I <3 Wisconsin (except Scott Walker) notecard. I found it this week, removed from its pocket and all remaining stock hidden amongst some journals. This happens every once in a while with some of our political signs or merch - they will be flipped over, shifted to the back, generally removed from view. I imagine a Republican snickering as they walk down the street: 'that'll show them... they won't sell any and then they'll lose money ... and THEN they'll turn into Republicans ..... ?" Right, as you can imagine, when I find the hidden merchandise, I just move it back into a prominent position, and the notecard-hiding-shenanigans just caused me to tell Sachi to order more of them (they were running low after all). I don't know, maybe no one is going to change anyone's minds we just have to be happy with our little shenanigans and feelings of triumph over little moments? I mean, I DO realize that not all our customers agree with me and I personally feel like I don't make the shop intolerable. I mean, it is clear where we stand but we can all be civil, can't we?
Well, anyway, the letter was civil enough so that's not my complaint in this instance. Mostly it is the anonymity that irks. This applies to internet comments too (as I have observed a huge kerfuffle over Mary Engelbreit's response to Ferguson... I mean, Mary Engelbriet?! Who can be hateful to her? Apparently a lot of people. As a P.S. to that, I will note that whenever I get discouraged with the level of hate generated in the internet comments section, I retreat to the SNL skit with the Devil). How is it that we can be so brave to say things, and yet not brave enough to claim our words? It's an odd incongruity and hypocrisy... which, I believe, trumps the hypocrisy of which I was accused.
I am willing to concede that I have my share of inconsistencies - letting slide behavior in people I like which I would otherwise abhor in people I don't. But the idea that Scott Walker is a more buy-local-friendly candidate than Mary Burke just makes me laugh. I'm sure that all of his WMC campaign donors called him up and said "ixnay" the outsourcing criticism, just as I am sure that he would be the first in line to outsource jobs if it would improve the profits of his CEO pals. I doubt the workers and small businesses of this state matter to him much at all. That is one of many reasons why I believe he is a poor choice for Wisconsin's Governor. And when it comes to creating jobs and improving the lot of the average Wisconsinite, I trust Mary Burke's experience in business at Trek as well as her committment to our local community, much more than his as a politician who believes in small government only as it suits him, but not enough to effect his paycheck or his ability to grant favors to people who have donated to his campaign. Sheesh... there I go again... it is so easy to run a negative campaign!
But you all knew where I stood anyway, I just felt the need to reply to the anonymous letter-writer and since there wasn't a return address, this is what we ended up with. Not that I imagine I would have any success having a dialogue had there been a return address. Don't worry, I'm not that foolish.
The real challenge as we approach election day, to my mind, is to resist the temptation to take only cheap shots and run a campaign that is entirely based on all the ways that Scott Walker is bad for the state. On the whole, I think that Mary Burke is doing a good job, but, actually, I don't watch campaign commercials. I change the channel if they come on, but most of the time I'm watching Netflix or running to the sewing machine during commercial breaks. There are many faults of Scott Walker and they are of great concern to me. Sachi has been making buttons that address that, but we have plenty of "Keep Calm and Burke On," "I'm voting for Mary," and so on. I do believe she will be a good leader for this state.
I revised my Keep Calm Wisconsin print and have an updated version for this campaign season.
Sigh.... Russ..... Remember how nice it was when the Senate would vote on things and he'd be the lone Progressive Left voice voting against? How good and principled you felt as one of his consitutents? Instead of embarrassed by those lists that come out with Ron Johnson's name on them - undercutting veteran funding, jobless benefits, affordable care... oh the list goes on. Sigh.
I also ordered the great Stand with Wisconsin graphic sticker for the shop. I really love the graphic - Lily calls it the blue punch. We got it at the shop for the casual shopper, but we'd also encourage you to get them from the AFL-CIO shop for $1 each if you buy ten or more.
And, what else? Just please please vote. Even if you don't live in Wisconsin, vote wherever it is you live. We need MORE people participating in this system, as flawed as it is. I know, I'm an optimist, but I personally think that politics would look a LOT different if all the people who don't show up to the polls would. Even with the manipulation by Wall Street and the writing of laws by ALEC and lobbyists, I believe in the power of people to have an effect but only if we do not cede our power and our votes. I ran the numbers in advance of our primaries earlier this month and if my calculations are correct, Scott Walker and Ron Johnson came to office due to just 3% of eligible voters. And 12 times more voters than that simply declined to vote. Clearly the outcome could have been different. Especially in this "off" year which everyone says always leans Republican because Dems don't come out ( ARGH! come out! come out! Think what the years could have looked like if the Dems came out in 2010! We could have still had Russ! We could have Tom Barrett, who, not incidentally, is doing cool things in Milwaukee). I am glad to see various initiatives, particularly aimed at women (and, I hope also, in African American communities) to get information and tools in the hands of ALL people so that everyone can participate in our democracy (little nod here to Ask. Learn. Vote! which is working to connect women in Wisconsin with the tools to cast their votes).
Learn about your candidiates. Register to Vote. Vote. YOU MATTER. YOUR VOTE MATTERS. The only people who tell you otherwise are the ones who profit from you staying home.