I moved to Madison Wisconsin in November of 2007—almost seven years ago to the day. I’ve always been a bit of creative type, gravitating towards the new, the weird, the exciting, and from the moment I crossed the Madison city limits, I was in love. I was coming from Appleton in the northern part of the state–a fine city in its own right, but nothing like Madison. With its laidback vibe, the sharpness of its citizens, and the vibrancy of its culinary, music and arts scenes, Madison just…got me.
I think Patton Oswalt described Madison the best, calling it a “weird magical fairy bubble of sanity in the middle of just fucking shit.” To me, that sentiment has never been truer than it is today, the day of Scott Walker’s official re-election to a second term as governor. Today, for the first time, I feel like this city, the city I love, has been tarnished, possibly beyond salvation.
Democratic candidate Mary Burke lost by six points (46% to 52%). Seems pretty close, right? Not after I looked at the numbers for the 2010 campaign and discovered that Walker beat Tom Barrett by basically the same margin. I wanted to believe with higher voter turnout the race would have been closer. But it wasn’t. Even with Walker’s war on the unions, women, same-sex marriage…hell, even amidst the “appearance of corruption,” nothing seems to have changed.
I’m not upset that he lied throughout his entire campaign. He politicks, therefore he lies. And the lies are so obvious to anyone who has been paying attention over the last four years that it is almost laughable. But he believed that people were so obtuse that they simply wouldn’t notice his blatant twisting of the facts.
The worst part is that HE WAS RIGHT.
It’s not Walker I’m disappointed in today. He is a predictable creature. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, ie anything he had to in order to win. It was us. We had to make the effort to see through the lies. We had the chance to be smarter. And we screwed it up.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. We didn’t screwed anything up. You screwed it up. 52% of you did anyway, plus whoever else was too busy to get to the polls yesterday (or for like a WEEK beforehand). And now, for the next four years, Walker can do whatever he wants with impunity, without having to worry about another election—unless he decides to take a shot at the White House in 2016.
(Sidenote: I’m well aware of the fact that some people who voted for Walker actually agree with his views that same-sex marriage is evil, women should be subjugated whenever possible, and that a $7 an hour job is enough to support a family of four in 2014 and beyond. To those people: I am not speaking to you. Ever. Go away).
Walker’s Wisconsin is a state of oblivion. He doesn’t want people who dream, who invent, or who want to improve things. People like that have ridiculous standards like wanting honesty, decent pay and social equality, and that is just way too much work. Walker wants people who come out of their holes once a year, vote the party line, and promptly disappear. He wants people who let him do whatever he wants, believe whatever he says, and don’t give him any trouble. He wants people who are too busy putting out the fires in their own lives that they don’t notice who is holding the matches.
So he damn sure doesn’t want me.
The seven years I’ve been in Madison has been time well spent. It made me an adult in pretty much every way possible. First post-college job, trade school, developing an actual career, marriage—all good things. But four of those years—over 50% of my time here– have been fraught with tension as I live under the weight of knowing that the man who stands for my state does not stand for me. He stands opposed to me in almost every way that matters. And I can’t in good conscience continue to let that happen. Bubble or no bubble, I think it might be time to move on.
I hear Austin is nice…