June 24, 2014
The Jaws of Power
By Senator Lena C. Taylor
One of our founding fathers, John Adams, once said “the jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” This has been the reality of Wisconsin politics since January of 2011, when Governor Scott Walker was inaugurated. Since then we have seen a consistent narrative in which Governor Walker has used the power of his office to silence and belittle his political and ideological opponents. From attacking collective bargaining rights to disenfranchising voters, it is clear that Governor Walker has no desire to represent all of Wisconsin’s citizens; instead he looks to strengthen his resume and to consolidate power for himself.
Recently, allegations surfaced that Governor Walker was at the center of a “criminal scheme” in which he illegally coordinated with groups to raise money for his and other conservative campaign organizations during the 2011-2012 recall elections. In an email to conservative pundit Karl Rove, Governor Walker outlined his work with conservative interest group Club for Growth, and one of its advisors R.J Johnson. Walker wrote, “Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state [and Twin Cities].”
Governor Walker’s response to these allegations has been less than satisfactory. In a statement from his campaign Governor Walker contended that "the accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Democrat District Attorney by me or by my campaign is categorically false.” Instead of addressing the issue, Governor Walker attacked the prosecutor claiming his opinion is invalid because he doesn’t share Governor Walker’s controversial ideals. Governor Walker further tried to silence his critics by claiming that “This is a case that’s been resolved, that not one but two judges have said is over.” This ignores the fact that the case is currently being reviewed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
This isn’t the first of Governor Walker’s scandals in office. Earlier this year an investigation into Governor Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive yielded convictions for six of his former aides. Two of those aides were convicted on criminal charges of using public time for political business. Walker avoided conviction by claiming that he had nothing to do with the illegal activities.
If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Governor Walker has been implicated in schemes that subvert the laws of the United States more times than an innocent man should – and it’s not because every claim is made by a political opponent that is out to get him. It’s just the facts. Governor Walker is the living representation of our founder’s fears. He is the “jaws of power” always ready to “destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.”
This is not the leadership Wisconsin needs or deserves. Instead of the transparent, progressive government that Wisconsin is famous for, Governor Walker has propagated a culture of shady politics in Wisconsin in which our basic rights are traded for elections victories. Instead of working to lower unemployment and ensure that our citizens have access to basic necessities like healthcare, Governor Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin have been fighting to ensure that the wealthy are given tax breaks and that those who disagree with him do not vote. While the country moves forward, Wisconsin lags behind. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that Wisconsin is 37th in private sector job growth and has a 1.2 percent job creation rate, while the rest of the U.S has a 2.1 percent job creation rate. In Milwaukee, 85 percent of children in cannot read at grade level. And Wisconsin now leads in the nation in incarceration rates. Instead of focusing on the issues that affect all Wisconsinites, our Governor is bogged down in controversy and scandals.
We must honor Wisconsin’s history by staying true to our rallying cry – Forward! We must stand up to Governor Walker and demand to be represented by someone who truly seeks to embody the people, not by someone who only wants to represent himself. We must fight to reinstate the values of freedom, liberty and democracy in our state. Now is the time to raise your voice against the jaws of power and take a stand for our democracy.