The farmer tells me that farmers are going to the Capitol to protest on Saturday.

I tell him I think it's stupid. It's not like Walker broke a law. People who voted for him should think twice about right-wing fascists next time they go to the polls.

The farmer says fine. He wants to go and he wants to take the kids.

I want to be supportive. I say, “The kids will go nuts there with so many people. I'll go with you to help with the kids.”

He says, “Actually, I am okay handling the kids in crowds. The person who is most likely to go nuts in a crowd is you. So it’d be better if you stayed home anyway.”

I say, “Ok. Thanks.” And I say, “I don't want to start a fight. I just want to understand. Why are you going now? It's over. Walker won.”

He thinks. Then he says, “Farmers want to show that Walker had a mandate, but he took it too far. We want honesty. Walker said it was a budget issue. But he should have said, “?Let's debate collective bargaining.'”

I don't say anything. Well, I try not to, because I'm trying to be less argumentative with the farmer. But I can't resist: “Why are you taking the kids?”

“It's an historical moment. It's the end of collective bargaining. I want them to be there.”

My ex emails the farmer to see if he's going to the farmer protest. My ex will be there with his girlfriend, who teaches first grade in public school.

So the farmer and the kids met my ex and his girlfriend for a day of peaceful protest. And the farmer took pictures.

I am struck by the fact that people identify themselves with their profession when they protest at the Capitol. Work and democracy are so closely tied together. That's clear in the Middle-East, where the upheavals are largely because autocracy does not create the type of vibrant economy that provides people with jobs. But the connection between work and democracy is clear in Wisconsin as well.

This is a good lesson for the boys — work is not just for money, it's for a good life, and it’s a way to feel valued by society.

But the big lesson of the day might be that the boys have a cohesive family because their dad and their step-dad have similar values: Democracy is precious and we need to participate to protect it.

The upshot in our house is that everyone had fun. They were bursting with stories: People dressed in cow costumes! Susan Sarandon was there!

I asked the boys, “What was your favorite chant?”

And both boys yelled: “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”

79 replies
  1. Kay
    Kay says:

    Good for the farmer. If he keeps this up, I may forgive him for changing the will without your knowledge. And BTW, we was right about the end of collective bargaining — it was a historic moment.

  2. raymond
    raymond says:

    I’m with the farmer here.

    If there was a way I could pay an additional %5 of my gross income directly to public employee pensions I’d do it. Teachers deserve to make at least 60-70k per year with generous benefits.

    We need to stand fast with our sisters in Wisconsin on behalf of the workers and peasants!!!!!!!

      • Mike
        Mike says:

        “Why should they be so much richer than the rest of us?”

        Better to ask why did we fall behind so much more (than the poorly paid public sector workers)?

        Answer: because Reagan busted the private sector unions and started the race to the bottom.

        This was a really vindictive “me me me” point of view.

  3. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    “I tell him I think it's stupid. It's not like Walker broke a law. People who voted for him should think twice about right-wing fascists next time they go to the polls.” I have comments about your comment.

    First, Walker may have not broken a state law, but he broke a promise and union contracts. Secondly, in general, people don’t “think twice” when voting. They rarely think once. I mean this figuratively, of course. Most people vote emotionally, manipulated by carefully orchestrated fear tactics. Thirdly, the vast majority of the people who voted for Walker are NOT protesting at this rally. Keep in mind, Walker did not win the election by any sweeping landslide. He does not represent the “American People” as he claims to. He represents a very frightened, uninformed piece of the electorate. And his sole intention is to break funding sources for the Democratic Party. But you’ve read that in a prior post.

    Finally, I think it was a great idea the farmer took your kids, for all the obvious reasons.

    Irv

    • Celine
      Celine says:

      Laws were broken, which is why many lawsuits are being generated against Walker. As it goes through the courts, the bill may be overturned. I do applaud the farmer for protesting and taking your kids, even as you thought it was stupid. It’s seems like the “dads” are more of a positive influence on your kids than you are.

  4. Steve C
    Steve C says:

    After reading this article, I clicked on your “CEOs can learn from job hoppers…” article. I found these 2 articles to compliment one another. Your farmer and your ex both struck beautiful chords by being there with your kids in WI. Sounds like both dads gave your kids quality AND quantity time.

    Hooray for your kids’ dads! I’m now 9 months unemployed after having worked 26 years in the same industry. These past 9 months have left me with many sleepless nights but the upside of the past 9 months: I’ve spent more time with my 4 kids (all school age), than I’ve ever spent before.

    I help them pack their lunches every morning and drive them back and forth to school daily and help them with their homework every afternoon, all jobs that were almost solely the responsibility of their mom prior to my unemployed status.

    I ask myself this… what will I think about right before I die? The answer… I hope it will NOT be ANYTHING job or work-related. No, for me I would like to recall just a few seconds of what I experience when I pick up the kids at school on any afternoon… how they run up to the car, all smiles, so full of happiness and joy, greeting me with a “hi dad” seemingly genuinely thrilled to see me.

    Just a simple memory of time spent with my kids but the trick is this… I do it EVERY afternoon. In regards to the CEO article, I can’t agree more. It’s NOT quality time that kids need or want, it’s quantity and I’ll add one more twist, consistency.

    I know I’ll eventually go back to work and things will change again but I also know I cannot forget the number 1 priority is to be there for my kids. Nothing will ever erase the experience and memories gained from these past 9 months.

    • Allen
      Allen says:

      I’m with you in the same boat. I’ve been unemployed after being at the same job for 9+ years. However the most wonderful thing of it all is spending soo much time with a daughter that is now 18 months.
      In many, many ways, getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me.

  5. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    Of course, the historical significance of the loss of collective bargaining for public employees is #1; but I think it is also a good lesson to children and to all of us that we should stand together and support one another during challenging times. It is the ethical thing to do. And it is the effective thing to do–to unify for a cause.

    The pundits are saying that we lost a policy battle this week; but that we won a political battle–that recalls will happen for those who rode rough-shod over the will of the people, clearly expressed; and that court battles will now rage; and this will affect the next election cycle for Republicans. I agree. This will not and cannot be forgotten.

    The farmer’s head and heart were in the right place. People will remember the tractors at the state house.
    Micheal Moore will be at your door, making a documentary!

    I wrote 5 letters this week to Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and to the “missing” Democratic senators. Next letter is to Alberta Darling, who I am pretty sure will get recalled. I think it is smart to not let this wave die down.

    Especially when we feel the impacts of the cuts to education and health care; and when the public union workers tell us how much money it is costing them, and how much control they have lost of their work life. It is then that more letters should go out to Walker and Co.

    Thanks to those who have stood together and who have supported this movement: the Farmer(s) and the protesters, the celebrities, the children and the common folk. Maybe other states will find inspiration from Wisconsin.

    • thatgirl
      thatgirl says:

      I hope there IS a lesson for other states in this. However, it’s not looking too good for Michigan, at present.

  6. .Bryan
    .Bryan says:

    The idea that both dads were THERE for the kids is very inspiring! I’m sure the kids felt loved, and had a memorable history lesson. It’s events like these that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

  7. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    I am sorry; I don’t think this is what democracy looks like.

    It might be what mob rule looks like. Or it could be what a child looks like when throwing a tantrum. But this is not my picture of democracy.

    Why is everyone giving the Democratic legislators a free pass for not staying in-state and discussing things like mature adults? Taking their ball and going home (i.e., to Illinois) was not the answer – and their exodus to an adjoining state is not what democracy looks like either.

    • chris Keller
      chris Keller says:

      The Democratic minority had few options. They voted with their feet.

      I felt it was a creative protest–they bought time till the people could learn what was going on and mobilize themselves to mount a response.

      • Jim C.
        Jim C. says:

        The people? THE PEOPLE?
        Those public employees are the ones getting fat off the sweat and tears of the people! They have generous pay and huge defined-benefit pensions while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet.

    • Lisa
      Lisa says:

      maybe you missed Walker’s comment, “I have nothing to negotiate”. As soon as one of the Democratic Senators showed up, the Republicans would have the necessary quorem and the bill would automatically have passed. By leaving the state, the Democratic Senators created an opportunity to slow down the process and allow citizens to become fully informed of all that is in this bill. Open debate and dialogue are an important part of the Democratic process.

    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth says:

      I agree. And emails were released that showed Gov. Walker trying to negotiate but Dems still stayed put in IL. I am a middle class Wisconsinite and am proud of what Govenor Walker is doing…collective bargaining in the PUBLIC sector needs to be limited.

    • Allison
      Allison says:

      They left to prevent a vote on the anti-worker union breaking legislation proposed by that state’s “tea party” Republicans.

      Leaving to prevent a quorum is a legitimate parliamentary tool to prevent a vote. It is just as valid a tool as a filibuster to prevent a vote. These are Rules of Order used in a democracy.

      I believe that those Wisconsin Senators are acting responsibly, given the circumstances. They are not running away from democracy, they are using a valid rule to prevent a quorum. They are not running from their responsibilities, they are doing the ultimate in being responsible.

      If people don’t like Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure used in representative democracy, well, they should try living in a country that doesn’t have them.

      • Brad
        Brad says:

        And will that be your position if and when Republicans do the same thing?

        Fleeing to prevent votes and tit-for-tat recall petitions are unprecedented in Wisconsin. Is this truly the worst legislation in the 150+ year history of the state? It better be, because the bar for political civility can’t get any lower.

      • Allison
        Allison says:

        Absolutely it would be the same Republican/Democrat – All the dems were doing was delaying a vote to get the public a chance to be heard. That is democracy at work.

  8. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I’ve always stayed away from politics and protesting. In college I had very politically active friends and although I may have agreed with their cause I never felt comfortable going out in public protesting. I guess I always thought it’s best to keep politics to yourself. The few times I’ve gotten into political debates I’ve been made to feel foolish and was sort of sent home with my tail between my legs.

    Having said that, recently I’ve been trying to be more vocal about my political views for a few reasons. 1. I’ve taken all I can stand and I can’t stand no more. Cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back, especially considering I’m unemployed and uninsured and just had to go there a few weeks ago. And 2. Penelope- you make an excellent point-“Democracy is precious and we need to participate to protect it.” I have not been a participant, other than to vote and donate $50 to Obama’s campaign. If Sarah Palin is allowed to spew her insane right wing garbage than by god, I can share my slightly more liberal views too.

    • davednh
      davednh says:

      The cut of Planned Parenthood is still a planned item – not fact as you suggest. Part of the $60Bn proposal of cuts proposed by Republicans in Congress. Democrats proposed around $6Bn. Note: our debt *this year* is well over $1 Trillion. When we are a second class country and everything costs 2X-5X what it does now and taxes are doubled we might not care about the planned parenthood issue as much. If we don’t cut there (and many other places) where, then? We should hit entitlements and soc security hard in order to keep good programs like PP – but my point is that the issues we face are much bigger than PP. Where do the big cuts come from? Those are tough and unfortunately when people try to take on big issues they are too often branded as “fascists” (note – that term can be applied to left as well as righ wing)

      • chris Keller
        chris Keller says:

        “Where do the big cuts come from?”

        I am wary of the big cuts theory . . . because this theory can undermine shared sacrifice. I believe that many, if not all, programs should give a little, should shave off some “fat” from their budgets. Then, if there is still a shortfall, more ruthless cuts can be looked at.

        Wisconsin’s taxes have historically made it not the most lucrative atmosphere for businesses to come and set up. Walker has authorized tax cuts to get and keep businesses in Wisconsin. All politicians have been forced to make a plan to increase jobs–in that spirit, Walker and Republicans have given the tax cuts to industry. I think that that sacred cow needs to be re-evaluated. And tempered.

      • fd
        fd says:

        actually in developing countries reproductive health and services are very high on the political agenda. so when the US is a ‘second class’ country as you put it and costs are x times higher, it might matter even more how many children you can have and when.

  9. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    So the big question is: What replaces unions and collective bargaining?

    I agree that both are dead. They were both part of the industrial era, and industrialism is gone.

    But that doesn’t mean we lie down and let the rich walk all over us.

    As long as workers are still stuck in the rut of trying to raise unions and collective bargaining (and let’s throw in pensions too) from the dead, then they’re not focusing on creating something new and more powerful from the ashes.

    • davednh
      davednh says:

      Exactly! Information is power. Why not use the internet and social groups to “collaborate” as a group. Not the same as a union but think of how big companies are scared of Wikileaks today (not just government). It might turn out that more open sharing of contract issues/offers would help reduce the changes of Govt trying to take advantage of individuals.
      …just a thought.

      • ninthgirl
        ninthgirl says:

        I’ve been thinking about this comment all day. I work for a company that is very union-phobic and I would LOVE for there to be a website where we could organize, if it could be guaranteed that we would stay anonymous.
        I think you have hit on a great business idea, if you could figure out a way to finance it. I talk to people every day, and I know that there are so many others who feel as I do about being stuck in a powerless position. An anonymous organizing website could give the power back to the workers. Now is the perfect time for something like this.

  10. AlliG
    AlliG says:

    Oh, P. Please tell me you don’t actually think the only time to protest is when someone breaks a law. Think about where we’d be if people throughout U.S. history had blindly accepted the law of the time.

    I’m glad this was a good experience for all.

  11. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    From everything I have read, the farmers have become motivated to add their voice to this fight for items that are in the bill and NOT related to the union issues. This bill contains major cuts to BadgerCare, Medicare, Family Care as well as education. The rural communities in which farmers live, work, and educate their children are said to be the hardest hit by these changes.

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      Thanks Lisa for this comment as I wasn’t aware of the major cuts in the bill as they relate to rural communities and farmers. In fact, the first sentence of this post – “The farmer tells me that farmers are going to the Capitol to protest on Saturday.” – made me wonder why farmers as a group were going to the protest.

  12. Amy Parmenter
    Amy Parmenter says:

    I love everything about this story. The farmer thinks of you – and your boys. The boys see their father and the farmer in peaceful coexistence. The have fun playing activists. And you are okay with it.

    And they all lived happily ever after…

    Forgive me but I like when stories go that way.

  13. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    American politics is fascinating. There are so many big characters, and outrageous things said, it’s a like a soap opera. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all, all the yelling and the pointing of fingers and the movement of it. So it’s really important to teach kids that you really have to pay attention, and not just vote the way your parents always have because it’s easier not to ask too many questions. It’s a hard one too, because people are so fiercely defensive of their political beliefs, which can be a good thing when it’s carefully thought out (protesting peacefully, seeking out all sides of the argument) but dangerous when it’s misguided.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      @ Harriet – the retail politics as soap opera is not exclusive of ol’ USA: check

      France;
      Italy (!);
      Spain;
      Mexico;
      Brazil.
      Their characters and their situations are so juicy, you only need to bring your popcorn. :-)

      • Harriet May
        Harriet May says:

        Yes, Italy is a good one! But I am English and we are particularly fascinated with America. When I was at college they showed the state-by-state results of the 2008 election at a local cinema. It was the middle of the night.

  14. Joan E
    Joan E says:

    When I heard about the plans for this protest, I wondered if your farmer would be there – glad to hear he was.

  15. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    Cheers to the farmer, your ex and you for working to create a cohesive family. This comment has nothing to do with democracy or the politics in Wisconsin (though I agree that the event was worth attending for your kids). I just wanted to let you know that I’m touched by the extended family you are building. I am married to a man whose daughter won’t talk to me and who won’t speak to his sister. I have a mother who makes me cringe every time I hear speak with her. So, bravo to you for trying to make a family that can work.

  16. Frank
    Frank says:

    You’re awesome, but good thing for the kids the farmer is around. And his reasoning is better than yours, at least this time.

    • ninthgirl
      ninthgirl says:

      I love the farmer and his reasoning MOST of the time. His observations are pinpoint accurate. Hooray for the boys and the men going to the protest!

  17. Steve C2nd
    Steve C2nd says:

    May not exactly be democracy in action, but it certainly is freedom in action, which is equally if not more important in terms of historic events. Good for the dads who recognized the importance of these days, and for including their children. I’m sure plenty of moms did the same.
    As for Walker, all I had to know about about him was discovered in a picture of him, posed in front of a large portrait of Ronald Reagan in his statehouse office. That identifies him clearly as a right-wing zealot who does not have the interests of the majority of Americans in mind. Most of the runaway economic problems this country is facing were started by the policies of Reagan. The real problem in this country is that too many are too uninformed to recognize that.
    To the other Steve C who posted here(not sure how that happens), good for you to recognize the unique value and opportunity to spend time with your kids. Far too many, men especially, have stated on their death-beds that they wished they had spent more time with their children, and less on chasing career and other goals. I hope you continue to savor this time, and then return to the workforce soon enough that this positive opportunity does not head south on you.

  18. Erin
    Erin says:

    I over look your left wing leanings because I think your off the wall workplace advice is fresh, interesting and occasionally spot on but I really don’t think the future of our country (our children) should be subject to collective bargaining or be strictly tossed about in the free market but then again, I survive in the current culture of constant change and I recognized eons ago growing up in the UAW state of Michigan that once the jobs are gone the union leaders pack up and go someplace else just as fast. I am starting to recognize more and more that my husband and I are the best and possibly only hope for our children’s future, that maybe we will be home schooling them…..anyway, thank you for discussing your families opinions and making me angry and then making me think. Also, to some of the others who have posted here, not all conservatives are uninformed. I was a democrat from birth, cut my teeth in a union hall spent my summers at AFL-CIO camp and worked for two democratic presidential candidates then one day I started listening to the other side and realized my thinking was severely flawed. My views and actions are much more balanced now but unfortunately it is hard, lonely work to actually look at all sides and try to come up with something better.

    • JJ
      JJ says:

      @ Erin – I don’t think your thinking was flawed. You just got old. People get conservative when they get older.

      • PJayBee
        PJayBee says:

        Not me. I’m 64, an attorney making mid-six figures, and I remain a liberal democrat. I’m married to a republican who feels his party has been hijacked by the Christian right, and tea-partiers, and he also thinks the conservative right and birthers’ relentless attacks against Obama and his wife are racist at heart. My husband is an actual, non-religious republican who voted for O. He says he wants his party back.

        • Nwesttraveler
          Nwesttraveler says:

          Right on. In my stste (NC) the Right has pushed their agenda past the fiscal issues into our homes and bedrooms. They pushed a constitutional amendment vote on same sex marriage that will be voted on to draw more right wing conservatives to the polls to increase their chances for their candidates. This has nothing to do with how our fiscal affairs are run. I don’t have anywhere to go but be an Independent which takes me out of the primaries in my state.

  19. New Normal
    New Normal says:

    Irv P., previous poster: “..in general, people don’t ‘think twice’ when voting. They rarely think once.”

    Brilliant & succint observation, Irv.

    Thank you!

  20. Steve Walker
    Steve Walker says:

    Cheers to your kids’ Dads and to all the people in Wisconsin who are protesting! You provide inspiration to those of us in other states (like Idaho) whose legislators are also busting unions. People hear are protesting in large numbers as well. Strange how little you hear about it from the corporate managed media. I appreciate your blog.

  21. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Penelope:
    Your final line about the boys favorite chant made me cry. That’s so beautiful; they’ll carry that for the rest of their lives.
    Nancy

  22. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    I heart the farmer.

    For all the communication problems you guys have, this was a really good discussion and outcome. I’m so glad he wanted to take the kids to something that mattered to him, and that they wanted to go with him.

    Also, he takes great pictures!

  23. Steven J
    Steven J says:

    Actual Walker did break the law. He and Scott Fitzgerald broke the open meetings law. The violation of this law, among others, sent a powerful state senator named Gary George, to prison a few years ago.

  24. michael
    michael says:

    You might want to let the farmer know that he and the children didn’t witness “the end of collective bargaining.”

  25. Mark
    Mark says:

    The lack of understanding of this situation is amazing. First, for the people that hate the “rich”, answer me, what do the “rich” do with their money? Do they bath with it? Do they eat it? No, they keep it in the bank. What do the evil bankers do with the money? They lend it out to other “rich” people that need to to expand businesses or hire workers or they loan it out for the purchase of real estate like HOUSES almost like the one you might own or a car or a boat so stop being stupid. Second, state public unions are completely incestuous in that they negotiate with the very people they can support in elections and the people that are NEVER represented in the negotiations are the taxpayer. I would like to see the contracts placed in the ballot for taxpayers to vote on and your cost in taxes to pay for them.
    If you feel bad about this situation there is something you can do right now- OVERPAY your taxes. You always can do it but “shared” sacrifice is always code that means taking my money.
    If you think I’m a union basher you are wrong. I was union member for 14 years, a shop steward for 12 years, negotiated 2 union contracts and participated binding arbitration so how many of the commenter’s here have any union experience at all.

    • Auntiegrav
      Auntiegrav says:

      I’m partly with Mark on this one. I am with the farmer in that Badgercare is important to farmers. Collective bargaining with the government? Not so big a deal. The employees can always just decide to quit if they don’t like the terms. If the government can’t hire enough to perform the services required, they’ll have to up the ante again. The problem is that everyone is wrong and everyone is partially right, also. Unfortunately, it is too easy to let decisions be made by the spreadsheets and not by logic and reason with cooperation and compassion in mind. What are people FOR (re: Wendell Berry)? The incompeters (computers) have made human hands and brains obsolete, and the arguments are always about “creating jobs”. In reality, jobs and economics are a SIDE EFFECT of real people doing real things that are really needed. You can’t just “create” jobs, and those bargaining rights are unreal when compared to needs of the land and society. Bargaining rights are really a means of compromise over desires, rather than people cooperating to fill needs. This bizarre election system (one dollar, one vote) doesn’t help things at all. Good luck with that whole “recall” thing. The future is here now, and it wants it’s money.

  26. Gala G.
    Gala G. says:

    Good for the Farmer!!

    If you (or the Farmer) attend anymore protest and take the boys – please let me know. Bry LOVES to go. And I know he would REALLY LOVE to go if Y was there. We took the kids (Ab’s first time and Bry’s 2nd) down on Saturday after I got off work. They didn’t get to see the Tractors bc I was working and they were at Tumbling.

    I’m very passionate about this and what has/continues to happen in our state. I’ve never been so passionate about anything other than demanding that Iowa County assist in providing my son (one you’ve never met nor will) appropriate mental health treatment. I was on fire then. I’m on fire now.

    Again, please let us know. The highlight of Bry’s day is getting to go to Ian’s Pizza and have some fun and fancy pizza.

  27. Gala G.
    Gala G. says:

    and I forgot to add….
    I think it is WONDERFUL that both dads were able to come together on common ground and teach your boys what democracy looks like. Regardless of what anyone has for an opinion….it comes down to “Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like….” And that is exactly what Democracy looks like….2 dads coming together regardless of their differences for a common theme.

  28. John Auston
    John Auston says:

    I thought you were supposed to be smart, P.

    A political post guaranteed to alienate half your audience? Pretty damn dumb, if you ask me.

    And it’s not like the Blogosphere is lacking in outlets for this sort of thing.

    Sigh.

  29. CairoGirl
    CairoGirl says:

    Bravo to the farmer for taking the kids! I initially dragged mine to the rallies supporting the revolution in Egypt and weeks later they are still chanting the slogans and singing the songs. They are so much more interested and informed about the world and how participating is so much more alive than simply watching.

  30. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    @ Jim C
    back to square #1: The founding fathers set up a system whereby the people could decide what is a common good and then designate government to provide for the common good via laws and taxes–yes?

    The jobs held by public sector workers are related to all the common good items we have decided upon since the days of the founding fathers–yes? We agreed to fund these services/jobs with tax dollars. We have elected representatives to oversee this system–yes?

    The workers in these jobs (some unionized, some not–I myself am NOT unionized but I am paid by the state as an independent home care provider RN) also pay taxes–their taxes help fund their pay, pensions, benefits . . . Yes?

    YOU may work in the private sector where the rules of the game are different. The original set-up and current system operate under different rules. YOU get social security instead of a pension, perhaps?

    I believe it is seriously flawed thinking if you believe that just because YOU don’t have a particular benefit that the public sector workers shouldn’t have that/those benefit(s). This includes collective bargaining–I don’t have it, so they shouldn’t have it??!! REALLY??!!

    I have also heard the argument: Other states don’t have collective bargaining, so we don’t need collective bargaining here in Wisconsin. That is the same flawed thinking. It smacks of sibling rivalry.

    All of us should think this through after carefully gathering our facts, including how our laws work and what is our history, back to square #1.

    Ruthless logic and knowledge of the rule of law are necessary to know/decide what is fair. Belonging to the Democratic or Republican party has little to do with it, except that those parties and their current competitiveness and incivility are now a part of our culture. But I maintain that you can figure this out without reference to Dems and Republicans . . .

    I think this is what other comments have referred to–that we should vote thoughtfully and decide thoughtfully, not based on party politics, but on real historical facts and on logic and rule of law.

    • Kelly
      Kelly says:

      Jim C.’s comments above sound like a whiny two year old: Why should HE have a toy? I want the toy! If I can’t have a ball, no one anywhere should have a toy! Except the toy is a decent wage and health insurance.

      To which I say: the problem is not that others have a toy you want. If you unhappy and want a toy, you can strap on your big-boy pants and figure out how to attain a toy. If other people figured it out first, great – use their ideas or get some of your own. PT’s advice to WI protesters is great in that context. It doesn’t, however, mean that we should be taking the toys away from others, which benefits no one except those who think like children. It just means we all lose.

  31. Sasana
    Sasana says:

    Penelope, I think you need to read more about unions and what they do and you should brush up on macroeconomics. I know Seth Godin in his pamphlet for scared middle managers to simply become passionate about what they do, or become bloggers, or both, dismisses “the factory model”. But “the factory model” is how everything gets made, and the labor movement keep spreading to all the places where things get made cheaply, because it isn’t OK to treat people like shit and collective bargaining is the only way to gain power if you are a worker.

    Seth Godin was typing his stupid pamphlet on a computer made in a factory, while pretending that the Wikipedia model has erased the need for factories. It’s so silly.

    He explains that people prefer things that are made cheaply, in factories in China, and then says everybody wants things that are unique and not made in factories in China. He doesn’t even hold it together for two chapters.

    You’re too dependent on his ideas. Please read some other ideas.

  32. Fran
    Fran says:

    You have written a simple and beautiful reflection of events that I hope will bring us together as multigenerational Americans

  33. Robert
    Robert says:

    Penelope, you are such a good writer…so succinct. The farmer has REAL backbone. He is secure enough to take your kids to something he BELIEVES in and to make them better persons. He is also secure enough to have an adult relationship with your ex. He is also secure enough in his fathering skills to father your ex’s kids in the presence of their natural father. Where I come from, they call the farmer a real MAN. Your children will be forever better for the values he is passing on to them and for the way he is able to communicate with you without renegging upon what he thinks is important. If more men were like the farmer, we wouldn’t have so many men confused about their rights and the role as fathers.

  34. Richard
    Richard says:

    Here in the UK we have had several farmers take their manure spreaders to places they disagreed with. Half a ton of manure spread all over his bank (and bank manager). Perhaps this guy should look east to find out how to REALLY do it!

  35. z
    z says:

    Penelope, for heaven’s sake. It’s not “over”. Another election could produce a new legislature and a new governor, who could change the law back. The protest is part of the process of people showing what their views are, so that the candidates can decide how they want to position themselves to run (or not run). Look what just happened with the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Look what happened with Prohibition, for crying out loud. If you think every political decision is permanent, you really don’t know enough about politics to write about it at all.

  36. Paul
    Paul says:

    Odd that in this entire thread about the teachers union in Wisconsin there has not been one mention of the students, you know, the customers of the service the teachers are providing! Recently there was an article that a staggeringly large number of 8th and 11th graders in WI could not read proficiently (like 75%)…if i were a member of the teachers union in WI, I’d spiffy up my job performance before I went out and clamored for a cushier compensation package. Penelope, please leave the political theater stuff to the other sites.

  37. Woody
    Woody says:

    When you are broke, something has to give, for now and the future. Give now or everyone will have to pay substantially higher taxes ad infinitum. Governors are elected by a majority of the people who want their opinions to rule and the Governor is doing just that. He has the nerve to act on the majority of people who elected him to office. If you voted for him and now are pissed off you didn’t do enough investigation of his background views and previous behaviors and shame on you.

    Unions beat the crap out of politicians both republicans and democrats in negotiations as the politicians cannot negotiate in the business world – cabinet people and secretaries of this and that are just friends who are politically connected.

    I was in politics for over 35 years in the U.S. and retired to take care of the original farm now/resort that has been in my family since pre-revolutionary war days and I get politics both U.S. and Canadian the only difference is that we swear at politicians in both English and French.

    I hear Donald Trump is considering a run for U.S. President – he would make the U.S. proud again and potentially drag a few nations to greatness (Canada and Mexico)with it.

  38. Liz
    Liz says:

    I’m glad I checked back in – this is more nuanced than some of the past posts were for a while.

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  40. Dan
    Dan says:

    This is exactly why I left WI. A bunch of left wing goons making it bad for the majority of normal people in SE Wisconsin. I am proud to say that before I moved to the free’er greener pastures of TN, Scott Walker was MY County executive and I happily voted for him. I also met him in person at an event at Marquette University. My friend used to work at a gas station where Walker would fill up his Saturn with gas and LOVED him. Y’all are crazy, he is the best thing that ever happened to that backwards, backwoods, alcoholic state!

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