04 March 2011

For shame!

So much already has been written and said about the crisis now playing out in Wisconsin sparked by
Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill and his Budget Proposal that I can add little to the conversation. I try to stay calm but I am daily confronted with the human ramifications of this heinous initiative. And I know that there are other states now acting on Walker's lead. They are all Republican States. Headed by Republican governors. And supported by Republican legislatures. And they need to be terribly ashamed of themselves, for I consider they operate without conscience. 
Montaigne writes of conscience in one of his essays. He says, that conscience “ . . . makes us betray, accuse, and fight ourselves, and, in the absence of an outside witness, it bring us forward against ourselves.” A bad conscience turns us against ourselves. A bad conscience affords us no rest because wherever we go, there we are, and we always know what we have done. In this way I think I can say that the Republican government in Wisconsin has no conscience; they are monsters. Or, as the medical profession would describe them, they are sociopaths. What their actions are doing to my colleague down the hall, be he a secretary or professor, is criminal behavior: stealing from the have-nots to enrich those who have more than they could ever spend is inhuman. And with a smile they return to their tables well-supplied. 
As a result of their actions, Governor Walker and his gang will miss not a meal, but my colleagues all over the state will discover their lives changed dramatically and their tables, both real and metaphorical, much less full. The education of their children will suffer because there will be fewer teachers working (yes, working!) with less resources in classrooms  stuffed  like the stateroom assigned to Rufus T. Firefly in A Night at the Opera.  And this scene will be not at all humorous: here the bodies will be strewn all over the stage as at the end of Hamlet: “So shall you hear/Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts.” 
Of course, Montaigne acknowledges that conscience might also offer us peace and security. “As conscience fills us with fear, so also it fills us with assurance and confidence. And I can say that in many perils I have walked with a much firmed step by virtue of the secret knowledge I had of my own will and the innocence of my intentions.” It is that last phrase that seems to me significant here: the innocence of my intentions. To cause serious harm to so many people and to offer benefits to so few seems hardly an innocent enterprise, and returns me to my thesis that the Governor and his political cronies have no conscience. 
The initiatives of the Republican government here are not about substantive issues; there are many feasible alternatives to the actions they have begun. Rather, what I am observing is a naked and unashamed grasp for power perpetrated by people without conscience. It is sickening to watch.
Down there in Madison the only ones with a conscience are those living in Illinois.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such clarity, righteous anger and compassion in the early morning. Thank you for a rousing read.

04 March, 2011 08:47  

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