Democracy In Action: Ohio, Wisconsin, and …

By , July 2, 2011

“There’s something happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear.”

In Ohio, public employees needed 231,000 citizens’ signatures to force a statewide ballot regarding SB5 — which outlawed collective bargaining by Ohio’s public employees.

This past Wednesday, opponents of that law delivered petitions with 1,298,301 signatures — more than five times the required number.

Our political system is broken.

Six months ago, Republicans were rejoicing after winning majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and many state legislatures. They proclaimed a mandate: to reduce taxes and spending, to cancel universal health care, and apparently to destroy organized labor.

And they did it. Republicans have unified in their opposition to any tax increases, extensions, or new enforcement methods. They’ve unified against universal health care (or any improvements in health care), and even proposed ending Medicare for seniors. They’ve unified in opposition to organized labor, seeking to destroy their most effective grassroots political opposition (public employee unions) by outlawing collective bargaining. And many public school teachers believe that Republicans unified in opposition to public education, or at least they’ve unified to vilify teachers — and that some Democrats are even joining that attack.

And now Republicans have discovered that the “mandate” endorsed by their campaign donors, who bought them their offices, isn’t shared by a majority of voters, and perhaps not even by a majority of the people who voted for them.

In Ohio, voters are expected to reject the law that would have ended collective bargaining.

In Wisconsin, voters are expected to vote to remove some or all of the six Republican state senators facing recall elections after they voted for the law ending collective bargaining there. They might also remove one or all of the three Democratic state senators also facing recall after fleeing the state to delay the vote on that law.

“There’s something happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear.”

Voters aren’t upset that elected officials are taking action. We’re upset that our elected officials aren’t taking any meaningful action to address our country’s problems.

In Wisconsin, politicians claimed that ending collective bargaining would help balance the state budget. After the law passed, they acknowledged that the law would have no near-term financial effects. It was always clear that the goal of the law wasn’t to save taxpayers’ money, but to wreak vengeance on unions, and destroy the only large political force opposing the GOP political agenda.

Are the Democrats any better? While I certainly despise the GOP agenda, Democratic politicians haven’t accomplished much, either, when they’ve held more power.

Even if voters reject Ohio’s collective bargaining law, the state will just be exactly where it started, except more bitterly divided and broke than before, and Republicans will still control the government.

Even if Wisconsin voters turn control of the state Senate back to Democrats, they won’t have enough votes to assure repeal of that state’s law banning collective bargaining by public employees; at best, they’ll have gridlock.

What do voters believe are the biggest problems facing America? The economy, education, and the national debt. Are our elected officials taking any meaningful action on any of these three issues? No. Instead, they’re pandering and rearranging deck chairs.

One Response to “Democracy In Action: Ohio, Wisconsin, and …”

  1. Bradley Senkovich says:

    I feel lately that I can’t even keep up with the political nonsense. It is hard to decipher what is fact and what isn’t.

    I tried contacting my local representative and came to a contact page that was down! I am glad their site was down. The reason they went down was because of people blowing up their email server and phone systems (not literally). I am glad more and more people are finally getting involved again as it seems over the past few years I’ve noticed a complacency. (if only PMA could have the same effect!)

    I know it is a generalization, but when democrats had power there was little cohesion. Sure they passed a record amount of reforms, but most of them were repealed or just faded into the background. Though, to be fair the last Democratic majority Congress only had 1.5 years to fix 8 years of mistakes. (I leave 6 months because it seems that politicians seem to think they need to be fund raising 25% of the time rather than do their jobs).

    I do appreciate how the president isn’t meandering to both sides. You know he’s doing something right when both parties are unhappy. Isn’t that the definition of a compromise?

    I am tired of hearing about how major corporations like GE getting away with not paying any taxes because they receive so much in subsidies and write offs it nets them zero taxes… So you are a large corporation who lost big time and gets to write off your mistakes? Who paid for the mistakes? Tax Payers.

    I know it is a change of subject, but did you hear about Indiana annulling the 4th amendment (http://goo.gl/mFMPW). Awesome right?

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