Mountain Sun

Mountain Sun

Friday, February 18, 2011

By His Own Definition, Governor Walker Is a Bully

It is an indelible hallmark of the conservative species that even as they relentlessly beat the crap out of their victims,  they whimper about being helpless victims themselves.  The case of Governor Scott Walker provides another great example.  The story begins here...

Gov. Scott Walker says he is confident state workers will continue to show up for work and do their jobs, despite their potential disappointment in his emergency budget proposal.
However, if there is worker unrest, Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond…The governor says he’s briefed the National Guard and other state agencies, to prepare them for any problems with workers, as they learn of Walker’s emergency budget plan

So said Governor Walker to Milwaukee Public Radio as he unveiled his attack on collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin.  But I want to emphasize a point here--note that Walker’s threat of using the National Guard --the National Guard!-- came before any reaction from Wisconsin’s public employees—and certainly before any signs of “unrest” (which have never materialized).  It is important to be very clear about this:  Walker’s completely unprovoked and aggressive threat to deploy the Wisconsin Guard came before most public employees had heard any specifics about the radical nature of his "budget repair bill."

It is important to emphasize this because of Walker’s later claim that he and other Republicans would not be “bullied” on this issue:

If anything, I think it's [public protest against his bill] made the Republicans in the Assembly and the Senate stronger. They're not going to be bullied. They're not going to be intimidated.

So let's get this straight--Governor Walker is attempting to ram a bill through special session, in one week,  in order to strip long-held legal rights from his own employees, while at the same time threatening those employees with the National Guard.  This is how Governor Walker and his partners are standing up to the bullies.  Many of whom are school teachers and their students.

Perhaps Governor Walker needs to read his own definition on exactly what a bully is.  According to Walker's own guidelines--guidelines issued by the State of Wisconsin and issued to the same public school districts he is currently threatening with the National Guard--he’s the bully.  From the “Bullying Prevention Policy Guidelines” issued by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction:

Bullying includes aggressive or hostile behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the bullied. It is typically repeated over time. Bullying takes many forms, including, but not limited to, physical or verbal assaults, nonverbal or emotional threats or intimidation, social exclusion and isolation, extortion, and the use of a computer or telecommunications to send embarrassing, slanderous, threatening, or intimidating messages.
 Bullying is a form of victimization and is not necessarily a result of or part of an ongoing

So who's the bully, and who the victim?  Who has the power in this story, and who doesn't?   Is it the Governor with the huge legislative majority and the explicit threat of National Guard deployment, or is it his employees and their students, walking with hand-lettered signs out in the cold mid-February snow of Madison Wisconsin? I think the answer is pretty clear to any human being.

Bullying can be a problem in some Wisconsin schools, just as it is in schools across the country. But it's especially serious when the bully and his gang run the whole state.

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