Wisconsin Needs Healing


A right wing group called Citizens for Responsible Government has done something Nazi-like in Wisconsin. I don’t say that lightly. I’m in the midst of reading Erik Larson’s account of the rise of fascism, In the Garden of the Beasts. I’m heartsick that a conservative group would stoop to a similar style of exposure and attack, one calculated to sow neighbor vs. neighbor suspicion and fear.

One morning last week, an anti-teacher flier was delivered to Janesville, Wisconsin residents with their morning paper. (The Janesville Gazette had no knowledge of the plan). The flier attacked teachers, in an attempt to retaliate against those who signed the Recall Walker petition. Salaries and names of 321 teachers were listed. At the bottom of the flier was a "Parents' Rights Protection Form" urging parents to send it to Superintendent Karen Schulte and request that "my child be assigned to a classroom taught by a non-radical teacher during the 2012-2013 school year." This is just one example of the Divide and Conquer approach we must reject on June 5.

Fortunately there was a contrasting event last week. I traveled to Jefferson High School to watch candidate Lori Compas debate her opponent Senator Scott Fitzgerald. She called the Senator to account for his divisive policies with a gutsiness and grace that made me proud to be her supporter. We need people who are kind and respectful, yet brave and strong enough to refuse to tolerate wrongdoing. You can find out how to volunteer or donate to Lori at http://www.loricompas.org

I’m hoping that Tom Barrett will be our next governor. When I watch this video, I see his good-humored inclusive manner. Just like Lori’s style, Tom’s style is very different from Walker's arrogant, combative tone. Watch the reaction of the Stand With Walker people holding signs when Barrett shakes their hands.

What could happen in the next 2 weeks if we all walk up to our opponents, shake their hands and smile

whenever we see them? Let’s remember while we are getting ut the vote that we can be strong and kind.