results of the recall election of Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker tell you most of what you need to know
about the state of politics in the U.S.
the one hand, you have a governor who did not hide
his desire to divide and conquer the unions, eliminate
collective bargaining, decimate government services
and serve a small cadre of wealthy, powerful and shady
corporate interests. He was bought by the Karl Rove,
the Koch Brothers, and other criminal organizations.
Thereís even a possible federal indictment for him on the horizon, in connection with
an embezzlement investigation that has already ensnared six of
his associates and aides.
The oppressed are made to feel like winners even as they emerge empty
despite all this, Walker
survived the recall, and it wasnít even close. Plus,
he did it with the support of 38 percent of union households - you know,
the people Walker
wants to crush. Various explanations have been given
for the election results, including the notion that
the people simply didnít like the idea of a recall,
or that the Super PACs flooded Wisconsin
with money for their boy Walker, giving him a sizable
financial advantage over the Democratic challenger
and handing him victory. And he did it without the
help of the Jim Crow-style voter ID bill he signed into law.
whatís going on here? No one can question the corrupting
influence of money in politics, particularly since
the Supreme Courtís Citizens United decision.
Money is a big factor in elections, and when a few
billionaires can decide which jerk to put in office,
their money trumps the votes and drowns out the voices
of the common folk. But still, the 1 percenters require voters to
get their candidate in office and seal the deal. These
people, known as ďlow informationĒ voters - a charitable
and technical sounding term for uneducated, ignorant
or gullible - are the real problem.
the Wisconsin recall election, and countless elections throughout the country,
both state and national, these low information voters
vote against their economic interests and derail the
democratic system. A democracy works only with an
educated, informed populace, which the United States lacks and desperately
needs if it will have any chance of overcoming its
working class voters have made a pact with the devil
- in the case of Republican Party, this should be
taken in a literal sense - and now they (and all of
us) are paying for it. Convinced that government programs
are welfare - translated to mean the blacks and Latinos
are getting freebees they donít deserve - they will
oppose them if doing so will hurt blacks more than
whites. It is the legacy of the Southern Strategy that has allowed conservatives to politically
capitalize on white resentment of black progress.
That resentment is summed up in a scene from the 1997
film, Rosewood, a film depicting the massacre
of a prosperous black Florida town by a white lynch mob. The following is an exchange between
two white men in the film:
#1: You know heís [Sylvester] got a piano? A ni**er
with a goddamn piano. Iíve been working all my life,
I ainít got a piano.
#2: You donít know how to play one.
#1: That ainít the point.
Old man Cummer, up that
house of his, heís got a piano. That ni**erís got one, and I donít.
Rosewood massacre of 1923, like the Tulsa race riot two years earlier, was precipitated by claims that
a black man raped a white woman. But the racial tensions
in these massacres and others reflected an underlying
social and economic competition.
A democracy works only with an educated, informed populace
some working-class and poor whites have been content
with being one rung above people of color on the totem
pole, still they have remained on a very low rung
and out of luck. There is a reason why the U.S. does not have a vibrant
labor movement. And there is a reason why America maintains the flimsiest
social safety net and the worst economic inequality
of the advanced nations. It is because white members
of the 99 percent - or enough of them, at least -
have acted not in their own interests, but in the
interests of the 1 percent. It is oppression by remote
control, and the oppressed are made to feel like winners
even as they emerge empty handed.
the culture wars, including gun worship, abortion
bans, homophobia and immigrant bashing, become substitutes
for concrete policies of economic uplift and social
with hard times, people have clear choices. Either
they join forces across racial and ethnic lines and
fight their common adversary, or they double down
on the dumbness, thrive on misinformation and assign
scapegoats. The Tea Party, which now prevails in national
politics and owns a major political party, represents
the latter of the two choices. It is this mindset
that gives us creeps running state houses throughout
the country - not just in Wisconsin.
For example, the governor of Michigan is dismantling and disenfranchising majority-black cities, while the governor of Florida, the largest
Medicare fraudster of all time in his old
job, is purging 182,000 Latino and black voters from the rolls.
yet, once again, someone out there is voting for these
people. Until we resolve this, America
will never get any better.
BlackCommentator.com Executive Editor, David
A. Love, JD is a journalist and human rights advocate
based in Philadelphia, is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law
School. and a contributor to The Huffington
Post, the Grio, The Progressive
Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These
Times and Philadelphia
Independent Media Center. He also blogs at davidalove.com, NewsOne, Daily Kos, and Open Salon. Click here to contact Mr. Love.