Yesterday Wisconsin held a big recall election for governor and invited the world to watch.
Wisconsin tidied up nicely. We wanted to make a great impression.
Our weather was sunny without blazing, breezy without gustiness.
Our strawberries ripened early, our brats and cheeses were piled high.
Our flowers bloomed, our corn waved.
Our road construction, while widespread, was nowhere near ubiquitous.
Maybe we hoped the world would be so impressed with our good housekeeping that they would ignore our in-house squabbling, name-calling, and finger-pointing. Wisconsinites have had a stormy relationship with each other, especially for the past year or so. It doesn’t help that two of Wisconsin’s authority figures–our governor and our labor unions–can’t get along, and many of us range along behind one or the other. We hide behind their coattails, calling names and coming out only to grapple and scuffle.
Unfortunately our brawling is more enticing to the world than our cheeses and our corn. The world loves sibling rivalry and family fights and general nastiness and we have been delivering in spades.
The media ignored our neat rows of corn and soybeans; they paid only passing attention to our rolling hills, our lush valleys, our sparkling water.
They came to see the family feud continue.
Our polling places were pleasant and organized, but the world didn’t care.
They waited, with baited breath, for us to poke fingers in each other’s chests while screaming in each other’s faces.
The problem is that Wisconsin has a big family. The bigger the family, the more opposing the opinions. The more opposing the opinions, the deeper the schisms. The deeper the schisms, the more bitter the rivalry. And we can’t all get our way and we can’t make each other see reason and our frustrations are piling to the heavens.
Wisconsin is a beautiful state. We have a lot going for us. We have a lot going against us. This morning we have poor winners, poor losers, recriminations and gloating and frustration from all sides.
We’ll never see eye-to-eye. There will always be dissension.
We can’t wait for those in authority, whether they are unions or the governor, to make us get along.
We have to find a way ourselves.
Let’s admit we may not agree and may not even like each other much but we share a home and don’t want to pull it down around our own ears.
Let’s show the world our good manners and gracious behavior.
Maybe they’ll get bored. Better yet, maybe they’ll buy our brats and cheese.