I loathe Scott Walker.
That his politics are not my own should not, of course, surprise you, but that’s not what’s loathe-inducing about him.
No, what I hate about him is not so much that he’s conservative (whatever the hell that means, these days), but that he’s successful: he wants to wreck shit, and he does.
He wanted to destroy public unions in the state, and has pretty much done so.
He wanted to open up the great north woods of Wisconsin to mining interests, and has pretty much done so.
He wanted to slash Planned Parenthood’s presence in the state, and has done so.
He wanted to make a point about Obamacare, and has thus deprived poor Wisconsinites access to the expanded Medicaid program within the ACA.
And now he’s aiming for the University of Wisconsin system, seeking to further the process of privatization (which began decades ago) not just by further cutting state aid—$300 million in his latest budget—but by attacking the very collegiality of university governance itself.
Oh, and the swipe that professors don’t work hard enough? That’s a freebie.
The University of Wisconsin system, which has existed in various forms for almost 170 years. Compared to the University of Bologna or the University of Paris, each established in the Middle Ages, that’s nothing, but it is as old as the state itself (both were established in 1848), and has arguable played a key role in the growth of that state.
Not just in terms of economics and industry, but in terms of an ideal and a promise, a public institution in the best sense of the term.
And now Walker wants to cut it down to size, to cut it loose from both the citizens of the state and the citizens of the university, to turn it into a giant work-training facility.
And I loathe him because he might just succeed in bringing my beloved alma mater to its knees.
There is one bright spot: an early draft of a bill had deleted the phrase that “the search for truth” is “basic to the purpose of the sytem”, but apparently that was “a drafting error”, and the search for truth remains.
I doubt very much that it was a drafting error, and has only been re-inserted after its deletion was publicized. Perhaps this means that this terrible idea can be stopped.
But I had thought all of those previous terrible ideas would be stopped, and they weren’t. In fact, they were either popular enough to get him/not-unpopular enough to prevent him from being re-elected.
So, yes, I admit it: I loathe him because he’s effective. He’s good at wrecking what I believe makes Wisconsin a decent place to live, to work, to learn, and to wonder, to think that there could be something more, something better.
At least he’s given me a theme to use for his presidential campaign: Walker—Wrecking Ball 2016.