Madison, WI – Altering the character of a state is relatively easy. First, you simply have your party take control of all three branches of government. Next, you cram some 1,500 provisions into a budget bill which you then pass in a special legislative session that limits time for debate on those provisions. If the people express concern about what you’re doing, you simply tell them in so many not-so-subtle ways that their opinions don’t matter and aren’t even worth considering. Here, the “will of the people” is merely an extrapolation of the will of conservative think tanks, corporations and the puppets they get elected.
That’s what is happening in Wisconsin. In one fell swoop, the Republican-controlled government is punting the state back into the 19th Century.
By the end of the week, public employees will be stripped of collective bargaining rights. People will be able to carry loaded guns. Bounty hunters will be making a comeback. $800 million in education funds will be wiped out, as will school districts’ ability to levy taxes. Child labor laws will be rolled back. Yesterday, The Feral Scribe spent the day at Wisconsin’s capitol building to photograph some of the protesting going on. It was loud, but peaceful, and at times seemed almost celebratory. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.