ok, I know that there is still a lot of work to be done. Because Robin Vos. Ugh. But, oh what a lovely morning! Tony Evers is being sworn in as our new Governor here in Wisconsin, along with an excellent team of elected and appointed officials. It hasn't really sunk in yet. But for those of you who don't live in Wisconsin, just imagine how you feel about Donald Trump, bracing each day for the ways that he is going to undermine this place that you love. We've been bracing ourselves since 2011.
But along with preparing/reacting to the worst over the last 8 years, I have been so inspired by all the people who stood up and spoke up, some people who got involved for the first time, some who dug in and did more of the work that they've been doing all along. I cannot say thank you enough. I am really in awe.
There is a deep love in this state. Not to brag or anything, but people regularly come from out of state and exclaim that they have never seen so much state love as they see evidenced in the merch that we carry. It surprises me, because doesn't everyone have such love for their state? but it also doesn't surprise me because, well, Wisconsin IS great. At his core, this is a belief that I have never seen in Scott Walker (nor in Donald Trump at the national level). I won't spend any more time enumerating his faults, I only mention this to emphasize what I see that binds us all together and will help us move forward into the work that has to be done.
Growing up in Madison gives me a particular privilege, I realize. We are the children of a UW medical researcher and a UW librarian. Our two closest childhood families growing up were of the Department of Natural Resources and City of Madison Parks Department. So all my life, I have known and loved people who work for "big government." I see their work and their passion and I have no doubt at all as to their commitment to this place. I think that's why it has been particularly unsettling for so many of us to have someone leading the state who seems not to share this commitment and furthermore casts doubt and suspicion on its employees at every opportunity. And I know I haven't even felt it that strongly, given my couple degrees of separation from government employment.
And, no, I don't think business can do better. I say this even as a business owner. I think we face many issues that are big and unwieldy, and yes, it takes institutions that are big (and even sometimes unwieldy) to deal with these issues. Well, I believed that before we were business owners because I am a liberal. But before we were business owners, I took Republicans at their word when they said they were the party of business and I believed that there were some merits in their ideas of efficiency and...whatever. I still believe there are merits to free markets and small government. I just haven't seen much evidence that Republican legislators actually adhere to those ideas except selectively as it applies to campaign donors. Because, let me tell you, we have all heard stories about government waste and fraud perpetuated by Republicans in the last 8 years. Transferring tasks from government to business doesn't at all guarantee efficiency or thriftiness, and it certainly doesn't guarantee the transparency that is owed to us as taxpayers. And, I don't know, how is there an approach to Capitalism that is so short-sighted? There seems to me to be a clear connection from business success to employee/environment well-being. I used to believe the myth of the rugged American Capitalist, forging their way in the business world, if only government could get out of its way. But then we opened our business, and I never felt so connected - to our customers, and to ties that extend beyond them, to their jobs, their agencies, their institutions, OUR institutions, OUR roads, OUR schools. Everything depends on everything else. The good news is that we now have a governor who believes that, who understands that one of the core underpinnings of what we love about this state is how we serve all of our children. The good news is that we have a state filled with people who love the state and have dedicated their lives to the work that enriches it. Oh, what a relief it is.