Jun 13, 2015

Scott Walker's Attacks Are as Perverse as Ideological

Trying to comprehend why Scott Walker is attempting to destroy the UW System is akin to attempting to comprehend the violent criminal mind.

After a heinous violent crime, a healthy person—a victim or somebody reading a piece in the paper—might be wondering: Why did the perp do that, wasn't he afraid someone would get hurt?

Varying experiences of astonishment, shock, trauma and disgust might follow the acts of a criminal with bad intentions.

This what is happening now with Scott Walker and his unrelenting war on the University of Wisconsin System reportedly now becoming mobilized as Summer classes begin next week.

There is no context for most people, no way to empathize that a sitting governor would purposely destroy the pillars of what makes Wisconsin a great state. How do you understand a sociopath? We're not FBI profilers.

Defensive Posture

Make no mistake, the public political posture by the UW System administrators has been defensive and reactive as Wisconsin newspapers and TV 'news' across the state mostly present Walker's attack as a budgetary squabble among politicians, not as diverting a spectacle as Lebron and the NBA Finals.

No one is going to mistake UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca M. Blank and UW System President Ray Cross as the political equivalent of George Patton.

The usual suspects, the literate and politicized across the nation, are of course calling to arms the people of Wisconsin as the menace of Scott Walker and his surrogates in the gerrymandered Legislature toxify a world class center of learning, embedding the seeds of destruction into what historian Paul Buhle called a "verdant intellectual oasis."

This a political fight, its scope and importance, eloquently described by national political journalist, Joshua Marshall, in his follow-up to Marshall's widely noted piece last week:

I'm more interested in the practical effect of what Walker is trying to do than a discussion of tenure in the abstract. Because what Walker is doing is basically like lighting your own house on fire. States can get into financial jams and need to cut spending, either because of budgetary mismanagement or rough economic times. But if you look closely at what Walker is doing there's no real budgetary imperative behind it. It's just a desire to destroy a great public institution for the sake of doing it, driven in part by right-wing ideology and in part by the palpable animus Walker himself holds to people who managed to get an education.

A big part of what is happening here is that, to people like Walker, Madison is an anchor of Wisconsin liberalism. But not just liberalism in the partisan political sense, also scarier things like empirical thinking and new ideas. And it's not just the humanities. What really comes out in this article is how much of the scythe is aimed at the sciences. (emphasis added)

Wisconsin People Are Suckers

Marshall also gently chastises the Wisconsin people for being the suckers they are for electing Scott Walker and his lackeys in the Wisconsin Legislature: "At the end of the day, the people of Wisconsin aren't victims here. They elected Walker and his no less aggressive GOP legislatures. Indeed, they've reelected them, albeit in low turnout off year elections."

That's a fact, Walker never managed to garner much more than one in four of Wisconsin voters.

It's also letting the people off too easy who stayed away from the polls the last four years (especially in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin), mumbling 'they're all crooks.'

The "full-scale political disengagement of a substantial chunk of the American population" persists.(Greenwald, The Intercept)

This applies emphatically to Wisconsin, and this foolish political disengagement is what Scott Walker relies on when he burns down the next pillar of Wisconsin in his efforts to uphold his promises to the billionaires to whom he promised he would "divide and conquer" the Wisconsin people,  caught on video.

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