Remember two Sundays ago?
At this point, that seems like a lifetime ago. But I remember it quite clearly.
Our Green Bay Packers were the toast of the state and on top of the football world. I watched the game in Oak Creek and remember the sound of fireworks going off after Aaron Rodgers' final kneel-down.
All around Wisconsin, car horns honked and people celebrated the state's first major sports championship since 1997.
A few days before the game, in this very space, advising people to enjoy the Super Bowl week. Included in that piece were these two sentences: "One of the greatest things about sports is how unifying it can be for to a community and a state. For all of our differences, we can rally behind the same cause and share in its success."
United we stood.
And now, not even two weeks later, we want to kill each other.
What the hell happened?
Listen, I'm not going to waste time writing a column about how we should all listen to Bob Marley and sing kumbaya around a campfire. Or, in the words of Steve Martin, wish "for all the children in the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace."
Clearly, these are extremely divisive issues. Huge ripple effects would be felt if Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill passes. Whether you think they would be for better or for worse is your own point of view, but you can't deny the magnitude of what he's proposing.
Whenever I write a column, I try to come up with angles that have not been considered, or bring attention to something I feel isn't getting enough play. That's pretty difficult given all the media attention, local and nationwide, this situation is getting.
But here's a question I haven't seen posed: Have we just witnessed the biggest 180-degree turn a state could ever take? It's certainly the biggest one I can remember.
Debate is healthy. People have mobilized to stand up for what they believe. The protests in Madison have stayed peaceful (so far...knock on wood).
It reminds us how lucky we are to live in a democracy.
But it's crazy to think about how far we've come in two weeks.
As I said above, I like to point out things I feel aren't getting enough attention. Here's a few links to stories that are good things to keep in mind as this situation progresses:
- One thing I definitely feel is getting overlooked is that, while the collective-bargaining changes are the most jarring, there is so much more in the bill. WKOW in Madison has a very nice write-up of exactly what the bill entails.
- So much back-and-forth has gone on between Republicans and Democrats about the extent of the financial problems the state is really facing. The Journal Sentinel provides a nonpartisan breakdown of the state's financial situation.
- Oak Creek Alderman Steve Scaffidi's column in the Small Business Times is a welcomed break from the partisan rhetoric and vitriol.
For the latest collection of links, stay tuned to Patch's "Budget Battle Tracker."