They’re nuts in WisconsinPublished 6:53am Friday, February 25, 2011 Updated 7:51am Monday, February 28, 2011
On February 6 people were running out onto the streets of Green Bay, Wis. screaming and hollering because the Green Bay Packers had just won the Super Bowl championship. As a matter of fact, people were celebrating throughout the state of Wisconsin.As a born and bred Minnesotan who went to college in Wisconsin and later worked in the state for almost 10 years, I thought those Wisconsinites were crazy in 1997 when the Packers won the Super Bowl, and thought so again just a few weeks ago.As I said, I thought my former Wisconsin brethren were crazy.Now I think they’re nuts!Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed making ends meet in Wisconsin by cutting the benefits of state, county and school district workers.Walker’s a Republican and the Democratic leaders of the state didn’t care for his plan too much.So what did 14 Democratic lawmakers do to avoid a vote on the bill in the Wisconsin House?They ran away to Illinois.The Wisconsin State Patrol was dispatched to the homes of some Dems lawmakers who were refusing to show up at the state capitol building in Madison to vote. Since the State Patrol won’t cross state lines, Illinois seemed like a good place to hide. Just a month earlier Wisconsin residents were speaking words of ewar with Illinois residents as the Packers fought the Bears in Chicago for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Now they were taking refuge with them. That’s nuts!A couple days ago rumors were circulating that some of these Dems lawmakers were returning home in the dark of night to retrieve clothes and other personal items they had gone without while hiding out in the Chicago area.So the Dems scheduled a vote on the budget bill for Thursday and the State Patrol was dispatched to the homes of the Dems lawmakers once again with a goal of hand-delivering the lawmakers to the Legislative floor in time for the vote.Like I said earlier, this isn’t crazy, it’s nuts.But the craziness didn’t start or stop at the Capitol. There were activist movements statewide.In my old hometown of Chippewa Falls, Wis., students at Chippewa Falls High School staged a walkout to support their union teachers. A day later a similar walkout was staged 12 miles away in the city of Cadott. Across the state students were walkout out to support their union teachers. That’s crazy!At the Chippewa County Courthouse last week the county employees walked out of their offices and onto the streets with picket signs to protest Governor Walker and his plan. That was kind of crazy, too.But I’ll tell you what’s even more crazy.On Tuesday night at 5 p.m. on the corner of Lincoln and Union Avenues in Fergus Falls, there were three local union workers holding picket signs of their own with words painted on them criticizing Governor Walker for being wrong. There must be a way to balance Wisconsin’s budget without busting unions — but it isn’t going to be because union workers from Fergus Falls support any of the plans!
Jeff Hage is the managing editor of The Daily Journal. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.