This Probably Won’t Change Your Mind

So a Rabbi, a priest and a Chinese guy walk into a bar in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Rabbi says:  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”Rabbi Hillel

The priest says:  “Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”St. Francis of Assisi

And the Chinese guy says:  “But erections have consequences.”


Actually, the Chinese guy says:  “He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.”Confucius

Which is why it pains me to see friends, neighbors and even families so bitterly divided over Governor Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill, and its attempt to strip Public Employees’ right to collectively bargain.

“What rights!?” “Where do these rights come from!?” screams a Conservative friend.

I don’t know. Where do any rights come from? We make them up. Then we write them into contracts. Contracts like the ones that allowed bank executives to receive jaw-dropping bonuses despite a clearly sub-par 2008.

Your tax dollars, unceremoniously yoinked from your paycheck, and transferred to stagnating pools of capital in the bank account of a person who routinely finds the equivalent of your weekly take home in their sofa cushions.

And you can forget about it ever “trickling” back down. If that were the plan, no one would have a problem with a 3% marginal income tax increase or even the Estate (Death) Tax for that matter. I’m sure we can agree that certain people are lobbying very hard to keep that from ever happening. So hard, in fact, that wealth seems to be trickling in the opposite direction. That other stuff, however, continues to roll downhill like it always has.

But look at me engaging in “class warfare.” I think I owe the top 2% of you an apology. I see now that those bonuses were necessary to help these firms “retain talent.” Mortgage default swaps don’t just conceive of themselves and then magically convince Moody’s to give them a “AAA” rating. That takes talent, and I get that now. Clearly, this is for the common good and more than worthy of my taxes.

However, I humbly ask this:  If you believe that our current economic situation is NOT the result of fraud and theft at the very top business and financial institutions, but is because a teacher can have a say in how big her class size should be, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

And if you believe that our state debt is in NO WAY connected to our Federal debt, and that our Federal debt is in NO WAY connected to two decade-long wars and a prescription drug plan paid for on the country’s credit card, but instead is because cops, via collective bargaining, can require that all of their officers get bullet-proof vests, we should probably talk about something else.

If you believe that $35 billion in oil subsidies is money well spent, but a nurse being able to put a reasonable limit on her shift is bankrupting the state, we will probably never see eye to eye here.

And if you truly believe that Charles and David Koch have only your best interests in mind, (unless Scott Walker is reading this, in which case, thank you for reading, Governor Walker) there’s probably not much I can say to convince you otherwise.

We’ve heard what Governor Scott Walker (graduate Delavan/Darien High School, 1986) has had to say, now let’s here what Walter Scott (Scottish novelist and poet, 1771-1832) had to say:

“The race of mankind would perish did they cease to aid each other. We cannot exist without mutual help. All therefore that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-men; and no one who has the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.”

“The working man is not the enemy, butWorking Girl’ starring Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith sure is.”Gene Shalit (1988)


-Dylan (graduate Rufus King High School [M.P.S.], 1987)

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