Election of a Lifetime

Vote Barrett. Photo/design by Callen Harty.

Tomorrow morning the polls will open in Wisconsin and by the end of the day we will know if Scott Walker becomes only the third sitting governor in our nation’s history to be recalled from office.  Wisconsin must stand up for its values as a state and do the right thing and elect Tom Barrett.

We are sprinting to the finish line, pushing with every last ounce of energy we have, every bit of our beings to win this race.  It has tightened considerably and either side could win.  Wisconsin must vote for Tom Barrett.  Every person who can vote for him must make it to the polls, even if they have to crawl to get there.  It is that important.

No vote can be taken for granted.  No vote is unimportant.  Don’t let anyone tell you that their vote doesn’t matter.  Barrett needs every single vote from every single person who cares about this state.  He must not only win, but he must do so convincingly.  With no evidence at all Walker’s supporters are already alleging fraud in preparation for Barrett possibly winning a close race.  This tells me their internal polling indicates it’s a lot closer than the slanted polling we’ve been getting from Marquette University.  I believe this is the most important election of my lifetime.  Not to sound too hyperbolic but the future of our state, and possibly the nation, really does hinge on the result.

Scott Walker brought this on originally with the bills he got passed for his corporate friends and for the cavalier way he did it.  But this election is about so much more than Scott Walker.  He is a puppet, a tool of the oligarchs.  He is the servant of the Tea Party and the personal representative of millionaires and billionaires all over the country.  He takes marching orders from rich campaign contributors and does their bidding here in Wisconsin.  He is the personification of ALEC (the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council, which gets businesses and right-wing government officials together to decide what laws will most benefit corporations and then has them introduced and passed in whatever states can get them through).  What he doesn’t understand is that they don’t care any more about him than they do the rest of Wisconsin.  They are using him.  When he is no longer valuable to them he will be discarded like anything and anyone else that gets in their way.

In the meantime Scott Walker does not represent the interests of Wisconsin.  He does not represent the people of this state.  He works for others.  This is what his supporters do not understand.  While they may support some or even much of what he does, they don’t understand that he is not looking out for their interests, unless by accident.  He is out to turn our state over to corporations and greedy, wealthy people from all over the country (including a few who are actually from here).

This election is only minimally about the damage Scott Walker has done, as it is going to take years to undo it.  It is more about the further damage he can and will do if allowed to stay in office.

If he is allowed to continue he will sell off our public lands so that others can make profits.  He will go back to work to get a mine for a company in Florida on their terms and with no regard for the environmental consequences or the future.  He will, as Tom Barrett said in the last debate, make us a “right-to-work” state (which means that unions will have even less influence and workers’ wages will go down while corporations continue earning record profits).  He introduced a “right-to-work” bill while a legislator in 1993.  Of course he will sign it if it crosses his desk.  He will continue to undo decades of protections for Wisconsin citizens and for the environment in our beautiful state.  He will work to end women’s choice and he will fight against rights for LGBT citizens.  He will do everything he can to deliver for his corporate overlords.

We must stop the corporate takeover of Wisconsin now.  We must band together in the next day and deliver the election to Tom Barrett because he represents putting an end to the dismantling of our democracy and the giveaways of our heritage.  He represents healing the divisions of the last year.  He represents a vision of the future closer to what most Wisconsin citizens really want.

Vote, Wisconsin.  Vote for Barrett, and save our state from the path Scott Walker would have us walk.

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About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Both are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he has been an actor, writer, and director since 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events.
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