…and probably none of yours.
Like many of you, I have been following the budget and union event in Wisconsin. I’ve probably been following for longer than you because I live next door and this issue has been in the news for years here. Yes, I have some opinions on the matter. No, I don’t care to share most of them. In fact, if it weren’t for my husband pushing me to write something about this you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. So I’ll voice these two thoughts: I find it unethical to try to affect the outcome of events in a state that I don’t pay taxes in, yet I see what is happening there as a serious threat to our form of government. And both of these opinions have been formed by my religious beliefs.
Over my years as a Hellenic Polytheist I’ve become more and more libertarian in my political leanings. I think that is a natural result of delving into both the ethical backbone of the religion and studying that in the context of the culture if was practiced in. The Greek city-states were autonomous and were very different from one another. When they weren’t waging war on one another they stayed out of each others business and let each city govern as it saw fit. The city-states joined together to form defense leagues to repel foreign invaders and they cooperated for religious festivals. This was a very early form of Federalism, which is a core concept in US libertarianism. It had it’s weaknesses, but many of those weaknesses are minimized and the strengths of freedom and diversity are increased in modern Federalism. Add to this the Delphic Maxim of ‘When you are a stranger, act like it’ – meaning that when you are outside of your home or city-state you should be act like a polite guest. Don’t act like your way is the best and everyone should conform to you.
All of this leads me to be very uncomfortable with people traveling to Wisconsin to join in protests – on either side of this issue. The citizens of Wisconsin are the ones who should be free to decide what their future should be as they are the ones who will live that future. They are the ones who pay the taxes, union dues, and have children in the schools. The protestors from outside the state will hop back on their buses and go home and that will be that for them. I also wonder why people from outside the state, who don’t know or live with the complexities of the situation on a daily basis, feel compelled tell Wisconsinites what to do. Are we smarter than the citizens of that state? Do we not think that they are capable of deciding important issues like this? When I enter another state or another person’s home I am very conscious of the fact that I am a guest and I try to act like one. I have made a conscious decision in my life to live out the ethics of my religion in all aspects of my life and I honor the best ideals that my religion has brought forward into modern times.
There is one thing happening in Wisconsin that I will speak about – the Democrat Senators who have fled the state to stop the government from being able to function. On important issues like budget, a quorum of Senators must be in session to allow a vote to take place. By fleeing the state, these Democrat Senators ensure that a quorum cannot be achieved. Although I won’t join in the efforts to recall those Senators as I am not a voter in their districts, I see their actions as a threat to our form of government – representational democracy. Another gift of ancient Athens and Rome which the USA has refined under the blessings of the Patron Goddess of our country, Columbia.
While many focus on elections as the heart of our republic, the true test of our form of government comes after the election. If the losing party recognize their loss and continues to participate, then representative democracy works. When the losing side refuses to participate and boycotts governance, as is happening in Wisconsin, then our form of government STOPS WORKING. Our form of government rests on two things – free and open elections by an informed populace and the willingness of minority parties to continue to participate in governing.
It’s no fun to be in the minority, to be in the party that loses heavily in an election. The GOP experienced that in our Federal government and had to stand by as laws were passed that they vehemently opposed. The GOP didn’t leave the country, though. They complained, they grandstanded, but they participated in governance. On Bills they opposed, they voted against the Bill and then they used that vote as part of their platform in the next election.
In Wisconsin, the budget crisis and public unions were a large part of the political discussion during the last election. Republican ad Democrat candidates put forth their ideas on how to deal with the crisis and the voters cast their ballots. In the last election they did something extremely unusual, especially for Wisconsin. They voted in a Republican House, Senate, and Governor. Democrats became the minority. But instead of doing their duty, upholding their sworn and sacred oath, they fled the state. And that is a very dangerous thing for them to have done. When elected officials do things like skip the state to shut down the government because you lost the last election, it puts our form of government in danger. It thwarts the will of the voters, it breaks the bonds of oaths, and it puts us out of balance with Columbia – which can bring Nemesis into the picture. If it can’t be corrected, we could slip further into inbalance with the scales swinging wildly back and forth. After all, don’t you think that when the Democrats are back in power, the other Republicans could use the same tactics? What if this becomes more normal?
I’ll keep watching events in Wisconsin, but this is about as involved as I will get in the discussion. And you certainly won’t see me crossing the border to join in the protests.