Friday, March 4, 2011

On Wisconsin

Speaking at the SUNY Farmingdale graduation a few years ago, then-Senator Hillary Clinton told the audience that whenever someone complained to her about a law, a tax, or other issue, her first question was, "Did you vote in the last election?" Not "Did you vote for me?" Just "Did you vote?" Far too often, she said, the answer was no. "If you are not going to exercise your right to elect the people who govern you, then you don't have the right to complain about what they do."

I've recently gotten a couple of emails from people I know, asking me to support the Wisconsin 14. These fourteen state senators, recognizing that they do not have the numbers to vote down the Governor's proposed budget, have decided that they can prevent its passage by not having a quorum present to vote on it and have been hiding out in Illinois for more than two weeks.

When, exactly, did they lose sight of how this country works? We elect our leaders by a majority vote. We pass laws by majority votes of those elected representatives. If the majority of voters are not happy with what their representatives do, then they have the opportunity to vote them out of office and replace them with people who will do what they want.

If the majority of the people in Wisconsin are, in fact, against the proposed budget -- and I am not here to debate the pros or cons of it -- then they should have elected enough state senators to vote it down. That there are nineteen senators ready to vote for it presumably means the majority of the state's voters are also in favor of it. If not, there should be a reckoning come the next election.

So suck it up, Wisconsin. You elected (or, by not bothering to vote, allowed to be elected) the governor and all 33 of your state senators. Tell your 14 that they need to do the job you put them in office to do, whether they like the outcome or not. After all, how would you have felt if, rather than playing the Packers in the Super Bowl, the Steelers had said, "Gee, we're going to lose. Let's go hide in Miami."


  1. Insightful. Maybe we should start calling 'common sense' something else.

  2. You have obviously never tried to run for office as an independent or third party candidate. Voting isn't nearly as important or as powerful as being able to decide who or what is on the ballot in the first place.