Letter to the editor
River Falls resident surveys political party power and public opinion, supports Mary Burke for new governor
October 31, 2014
Over the past four years Wisconsin has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most politically polarized states in the nation.
Our state has always been a study of contrasts, capable of producing pairs of both Joe McCarthy and “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, and Paul Ryan and Russ Feingold.
I remember a time in the recent past when Wisconsinites seemed capable of remaining relaxed, easy-going, and tolerant of differences. That mood of acceptance is gone. Now there is a casualty of careless wielding of power by the ruling party.
When one party holds all the power, it needs to use that power in a wise and cautious way in order to keep the respect and loyalty of all citizens.
In Wisconsin, the ruling party has taken the opposite path. It misses no opportunity to uncompromisingly dominate the minority party.
Consequently, about half the citizens of Wisconsin feel disenfranchised, shut out of the decision-making, and unrepresented by the current administration. Understandably, this leads to bitter division, reflected by the relentless polarization in public opinion polls.
Domineering single-party control of political power has led to widespread bad blood among friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. This harms us as individuals, families, and communities. It also harms us as a state in a country facing so many urgent challenges that demand we work together for the common good.
Mary Burke is the gubernatorial candidate with the best chance of reconciling Wisconsin’s differences and cooling down our current atmosphere of overheated partisanship. She has expressed an intention to work across the aisles to govern cooperatively. Her economic savvy and concern for all of Wisconsin’s varied constituencies can help heal the divisions that threaten our state’s future.
She can make us feel good about Wisconsin again, and she deserves our vote as governor.
Thomas R. Smith