(Editorial cartoon by Tom Toles and published 6/4/12 in the Washington Post. Click on image to enlarge and then return.)
It's late and not yet official, but it appears Gov. Walker survived the recall vote. Needless to say, I am very disappointed. It doesn't help that he managed to survive by having a huge war chest filled by the 1%. It also didn't help that the DNC did little to assist Wisconsin Democrats. Whether that will have ramifications in November remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, however. The political landscape has been altered by the liberals in Wisconsin, altered in very significant ways. Perhaps the best analysis of that alteration comes from Katrina vander Heuvel in a column written for the Washington Post before the election results were known.
On Tuesday, all eyes will be watching to see whether Wisconsin voters will keep labor-bashing right-winger Scott Walker (R) in the governor’s mansion. But win or lose, the real story is the 15 months of people power leading up to this day. The real lesson lies in more than a year of progressive organizing, petitioning, canvassing and campaigning for the cause. The real result is a progressive movement that is deeper and broader than before. ...
By attacking labor unions, flooding Wisconsin with outside cash and trying to cleanse the electorate of people who don’t look, earn or think like him, Walker has taken aim at more than a single campaign cycle or a series of policies; his real targets are the pillars of American progressivism itself. With the Romney campaign gearing up, and super PACs taking to the national airwaves, we face an unprecedented, well-funded assault on our basic values.
But progressives aren’t backing down. They’re just getting started.
So when the results come in, reflect on the vast organizing effort that brought Wisconsin to this moment — and imagine where it still has the potential to go. Elections are over in a matter of hours, but movements are made of weeks, months and years. ...
And in the last 15 months, Wisconsin’s progressives have shown us that the battle against bankrolled austerity can be bravely waged by an army of dedicated people committed to protecting working families. They’ve reminded us that good organizing is our only chance to withstand the blitzkrieg of corporate funded advertising — and better yet, leave a lasting mark. Their movement, with thousands of new Wisconsin activists mobilized, energized and educated, can be permanent — and it can keep growing. [Emphasis added]
Hecate, another wise woman, pointed out just how important the work of Wisconsin liberals has been to the nation in that it provided the necessary conditions for the birth of the Occupy movement. I would supplement that comment even further and suggest that thousands of Egyptians massed in Tahriri Square provided the necessary conditions for the birth of the Wisconsin movement. The lineage is a noble one, and it is one to be celebrated as we recognize that the 99% exist all over the world.
So, all things considered, yesterday was indeed a victory, but it is a re-birth that will need to be nurtured for the years to come. We can do no less if we are all to survive.