Monday, June 4, 2012

Electing An Idea

Unless you live a) under a rock or b) somewhere other than Wisconsin (which, seriously, are pretty much the same thing, lol, amirite? Okay, I'll stop that now.)--

Unless you satisfy one of those two criteria, you'll know, dear reader, that tomorrow is a special election for Wisconsin's governor. The sitting governor, Scott Walker, is contending with the man he defeated to win last time, Tom Barrett.

It's funny, because this race hasn't really been about Mr. Barrett at all. In fact, it's my belief that Mr. Barrett is a placeholder, an avatar, a blank; because Gov. Walker is running against an idea. This is a clash of ideologies.

Now, that hyperbole gets thrown around a lot any time there's a particularly vicious political campaign. But I think it's true this time, for one reason.

How many I SUPPORT TOM BARRETT signs have you seen, dear reader? There are some out there, sure, but not many. But here, there, and everywhere one sees RECALL WALKER. Why?

Because what matters to those who voted to recall Gov. Walker--and those who will be voting for Mr. Barrett--is not electing Mr. Barrett. What matters to them is ousting Gov. Walker. Their votes are not votes cast for a candidate: they're votes cast for an ideal.

That ideal, of course, is Not-Walker.

And on the other side, you have the Standers, those stalwarts who seem somehow to be a collective consciousness of conservatism. Superficially, they may be casting their votes for Walker, but not as an official: they vote for Walker as an ideal, as Yes-Walker. 

What those ideals are--what Not-Walker and Yes-Walker entail, specifically--is not within the purview of this blog: and not really that interesting to me, either. What does interest me is that in tomorrow's recall election, Gov. Walker's opponent is not Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee; Gov. Walker's opponent is a concept, an idea: Not-Walker.

I don't think that's how it's supposed to work. This idea, this mindset that problem-solving doesn't involve providing a solution, is flawed, I think. There are three steps to fixing a problem: IDENTIFY the problem, REMOVE the problem, IMPLEMENT the solution. The Wisconsin recall election seems to have ignored the third step (as is common in politics). That being said, I understand the Recallers' conviction (even if I disagree with it) that Gov. Walker is a significant threat to Wisconsin's future; they think they have to remove him as fast as possible to stop the damage.

That's all, then.



mlanuta said...

Would a non Walker supporter support wheel chair ramps everywhere?

Katie said...

Great insight! It happens every time -- a war of ideologies, in which the candidates basically serve as symbols. And this is why I hate politics!!

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