So far, I've said very little to anyone about the ongoing uh...hoo-hah in Wisconsin. For starters, I don't know or understand labor unions - particularly public ones - very well, and I'm not well-versed enough in economic policy to engage the pros and cons of the proposed budget on the table. So, this is not a statement about whether Governor Walker's proposal is good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable, helpful or unhelpful. However, I do have two non-policy-related things to say:
The first is about teachers "skipping school" like bratty high-schoolers who don't want to take a test. Hey, teachers: your job is to teach students. Getting fake doctor's notes to "excuse" you from your job, and then forcing your students to skip school to provide support for your political opinions constitutes major derelict of duty. Why did you decide to teach in the first place? Have you seriously stopped to think about what it is that your students are learning from you right now? They are learning that lying, shouting, screaming, cheating, and generally not attending to life's duties are acceptable means of achieving one's goals in life. Where's your values education now, Teach?
The second is this: Elections. Have. Consequences. I couldn't care less that the Democrats in Wisconsin don't want this legislation to pass. They are free to disagree vociferously, to state their case on the airwaves, the internets, and the editorial pages. They are free to organize peaceful protest rallies in support of their cause, or to utilize legitimate means of blocking the passage of legislation - the filibuster, for example. They are free to attempt to persuade their Republican colleagues (or the constituents of their Republican colleagues, who might, in turn, appeal to their representatives) to oppose the legislation.
They are not free to simply not do their jobs. For me, that's what this is about. You were elected to serve in the Wisconsin State Legislature. You were elected to cast your vote in the Legislature in accordance with a) your conscience, and b) the collective conscience of the district you represent. You were not elected to cross state lines and hide out like a scared little girl because you know that you are going to lose the vote. What about that says "mature adult" to you? Do you teach your children take their toys and go home every time their friends want to play a different game? Would you have thought it appropriate for the Steelers to simply not show up to the Super Bowl, and refuse to play the Packers, since they were likely to lose anyway? How can you honestly get up in the morning, look yourself in the mirror of the fancy hotel room you're staying in, and be proud of what you're doing?
My parishioners have recently decided that since it's "cold and flu season" (or, um, the end of it...), that we should no longer "pass the peace" in church. I find this ridiculous, since a) how many centuries of "passing the peace" has the church endured? Somehow the gates of hell and sickness have not yet prevailed... And b) Jesus touched people who were sick all the time, even though he risked catching their illness, as well as the social impropriety. If we're putting our hands up in defense and saying, "whatever you've got, I don't want to get it," is that really loving one another? I lost this battle at our council meeting last night. If I'm to take a lesson from the Wisconsin Democrats, I could simply refuse to show up to church on Sunday morning. Maybe I'll try that, see how it goes over. Oh wait...I have a job to do.
One of the things about being an adult is that you do your job and you play by the rules in your doing of it. Absolutely no one is going to starve to death as result of this legislation in Wisconsin. Democrats need to understand: the tide was against you this past election cycle - them's the breaks. So you go to work, you do your job, you do your best to encourage good legislation, and at the end of the day, you take the vote. You win some, you lose some, even some you think are really important. Learning to handle this is part of being an adult.
Bottom line, Dems: Grow up.