It's no real surprise, I suppose, in the current U.S. political climate -- a slowly-recovering economy, sharply-divided political factions, and the utter unwillingness of people to negotiate like rational, compassionate, smart adults -- that we would see something like what is occurring in my home state of Wisconsin right now. Angry Republican governors representing other angry Republicans are blatantly trying to legislate to death the things they consider to be American menaces, like AZ. Gov. Jan Brewer and Mexican immigrants, FL. Gov. Rick Scott and the homeless, and WI. Gov. Scott Walker and unions. Under the very-thin guise of budget balancing, there is a values-agenda at work here, for none of these governors have had any difficulty apportioning scarce state funds to Big Business (remember Reaganomics and "trickle-down?" Yeah, that worked. Nice homeless population explosion there, Gipper). I've just never seen anything like this. With no shame at all, and no accountability for their hypocrisy, the leaders who are supposed to protect and serve every citizen, not just the ones they like and agree with and who feed their coffers, are directly attacking the rights of poor, working- and middle-class people. With pride, even!

In the case of Gov. Walker and Wisconsin, he and the Republican state legislators are attempting to ramrod through an un-amendable bill which by removing collective bargaining rights for almost all public employee unions, would make those unions essentially powerless. No one is arguing that government spending must be curtailed. No one is arguing that all of us need to make concessions and sacrifices. No one is arguing that there are only good or evil sides -- there are corrupt government leaders and corrupt union leaders. However, we should be reminded of the conditions that used to exist here not all that long ago which helped to form American unions. In our country, the working- and middle-classes must often band together to have any kind of say against the powerful and wealthy, who often are not exactly looking out for the little guy, yet are more than willing to use them at any cost to build a bigger bank account for themselves. That's the way it is in a capitalist nation, and in human nature. Unions, for all their flaws, help to keep things balanced. So this is why we have tens of thousands of people protesting at at State Capitol in Madison, why the police present to help contain the situation are showing particular kindness (Gov. Walker allowed for police and firefighter unions to retain their collective bargaining rights in the bill, because...well...you figure that one out), why the Tea Party feels the need to start bussing in Walker supporters, and why Democratic legislators chose to actually leave the state temporarily to stop the bill from passing.

I spent my first 22 years as a proud resident of Wisconsin, and the daughter of two Republicans, by the way. It was a great state to grow up in. Wisconsin was known for good schools, progressive government, hard-working and friendly, down-to-earth people who formed strong, vibrantly active communities, and yes, we always had high taxes. I went to school with farm kids who got up before dawn and "lake kids" who had mini-bikes and snowmobiles and speedboats, the sons and daughters of Pabst and Miller brewery workers, hardware shop owners, doctors and retail clerks and homemakers. And we all pretty much got along, despite our different circumstances. We all loved our beautiful state, even when it was 10 degrees below zero or people claimed we had funny accents. What happened?

Do you know any wealthy teachers or nurses? Gee, I sure don't. It grinds my guts to hear people like Walker try to malign them as overpaid malingerers who use their unions to ruin the State budget. Are there overpaid lazy teachers and nurses? Yes, as there are rotten people in any profession. But come on! Why do most people (and let's get extra-real here: those people are mostly women) go into service fields where they know by the nature of that work they will never be rich, and always work many many more hours than they will ever be paid for? WHY? Because they want to help, and feel that they can. And Gov. Walker wants to gut their ability to be heard. This is beyond shameful; it is inexcusable. Gov. Walker rejected the union proposal to cut worker benefits. Gov. Walker wants more: the destruction of their unions.

This is the grave mistake that Scott Walker has made: you can, as a politician, get away with a whole lot from a public that is so disjointed and disparate, who are numbed by phonies and crappy media and fighting, who just want to live their lives in peace and quiet. But, by god, you try to take away any American's voice...you are going to hear about it. Loud and clear, and forever.

So I stand with those who do what I can't. I didn't have the patience and energy to be a teacher. I didn't have the compassion and steadiness to be a nurse. I didn't have the bravery or strength to become a police officer or firefighter. Yet my life has been in the hands of them all. I have depended upon their selflessness and dedication every day. I count on their skills and judgment. I will trust them first.

If I were in Madison right now, and I wish that I were, I would take a few hundred bucks out of my bank account and I would buy as many hot coffees and yummy donuts as I could for the people who stand at the Capitol and won't back down. I would tell them how proud I am of them, to stay strong, and let them know that so many people are behind them all over the country. I can't change how we all got in this mess or why, I can't wave a wand and make things all better, and I can't change the minds and hearts of those who are determined to see others crushed.

But I can write this post. Yes, I can.