Thursday, March 10, 2011

Politics and Character

By Alan Burkhart

As of this writing, Wisconsin Democrats are still hiding out in Illinois in an attempt to block a vote on a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights (privileges?) of state employees. Predictably, the rhetoric continues to fly.

Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader Mark Miller said Wednesday Democrats will "join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government," but he refused to say when.
- - FoxNews / AP

If Miller wishes to “join the people of Wisconsin,” he can start by returning to work and doing the job he was elected to do. He can face the fact that his party is in the minority, and by extension the people who voted for him and his party are also in the minority.

The Wisconsin Republicans have made attempts to negotiate with the Democrats on the public sector union issue. They’ve offered to compromise. But with the Democrats stubbornly refusing to show up to work, the Republicans took the next step. They separated the union legislation from the budget bill and voted 18-1 to approve it. Now of course the Democrats are crying foul. Like they always do when forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. Like all bratty children do when they don’t get their way.

I'm 53 years old and have no memory of Republicans fleeing a capitol like cockroaches under a spotlight (feel free to correct me if you know of such an occurrence). The Democrats have done so 3 times in recent years. First in Texas a few years ago (they scurried away to Oklahoma), and now Indiana and Wisconsin.

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Here's where character comes into play: When faced with adversity, people of strong character continue to push forward. This can be something as simple as you or I going to work in spite of a really bad case of hay fever. In the case of the Wisconsin Democrats, it's a matter of doing the job they were elected to do in spite of being in the minority. That job is to contribute to and vote upon legislation in a manner consistent with the will of those who elected them. Instead, the Democrats have behaved like a little boy who takes his football and runs home because he can't be quarterback. Maturity is part and parcel of strong character.

The Wisconsin Democrats are currently in the minority because that's where Wisconsin voters put them. By running away to Illinois, they have bastardized the democratic process by refusing to be a part of it. This is a perfect example of how endemic poor character is to the Democrat Party specifically and to the left in general. Rather than work within the rules and preserve the integrity of the process, they've run away like a bunch of spoiled children until they can get their way.

All the while, principled Republicans are standing up for the people who put them in office. They're doing the job they were elected to do. And, the Republicans did so in the past when they were in the minority. They do so now in the U.S. Senate where they are still the minority party.

The Republicans have their shortcomings. They're human and therefore imperfect. More than one Republican has slipped and fallen, and more often than not paid the price for whatever indiscretion he or she committed. But they're doing their level best to address the fiscal crisis besetting this nation while the Wisconsin Democrats hide outside the borders of the state that employs them.

The Republicans seem to have learned from the mistakes that got them pushed into the minority a few years ago. Call me a partisan if you wish, but current events are what they are. Should the Republicans start waffling and backpedalling on fiscal issues, I’ll be among the first to plow into them about it. But right now, they are the ones taking up the cause of repairing our economy. They are the ones making the tough choices and at least trying to right the ship. Give them credit where credit is due.

The Democrats, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, still haven’t learned those lessons. Such principles as fiscal responsibility and self-reliance are alien to the collectivists on the left. And that’s why, whether they like it or not, they’re now in the minority and likely to stay there for years to come.

Related Reading:
Wisconsin Senate GOP Votes to Strip State Workers of Collective Bargaining Rights