They did it. They actually did it.
The Republican-led Wisconsin state legislature, with Scott Walker’s signatures and thus final acts as governor, actually passed a set of bills designed to restrict the incoming governor from being able to exercise his duties the same way Walker had done for the past eight years, according to reporting from the Capital Times in Madison.
The legislature and Walker pushed these bills through a special session, which was only announced after Walker had lost a re-election campaign to his Democratic opponent.
To call this an un-American action is no exaggeration. It is not hyperbole. It is reality.
One of the tenets of American democracy is the concept of the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. Many of us take this tenet for granted — when a person loses office, of course, the other should be able to assume that office without incident.
It wasn’t always this way. When John Adams lost the presidency to Thomas Jefferson, the world watched in awe at the ability of the two men, who hated each other at the time, to put aside their collective pettiness and allow one to leave office while the other assumed it, according to TeachingHistory.org. And since that small but important act, presidents, governors, legislators, and other elected officials have continued to do the same in our nation.
Walker and Republicans in the legislature, however, have thwarted that tradition.
So a lot of Madison elites are laughing at Scott Walker for not understanding how Venn diagrams work but...ah...that is pretty bad pic.twitter.com/Cbe3ews1KA— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) December 14, 2018
It is true that Walker will reluctantly leave office and Gov.-elect Tony Evers will eventually be seated. And it’s still important to note that Walker isn’t challenging Evers’s right to take his place.
But there can be no questioning of fact that what Walker and the GOP did in Wisconsin, in the final month of his tenure as governor, was nothing short of disrespecting the ideals that our founders tried to lay out for us. The transfer of power between Evers and Walker will indeed be peaceful, but it will also be petty, at least on the part of the latter individual.
When the new governor assumes office, and Walker leaves, it will be an event that is marred by the final action of the outgoing governor, who has demonstrated he is a sad, jealous, vengeful, and egotistically little person by removing powers he himself was happy to have wielded.
His departure from office is a good thing. Walker’s time in Wisconsin, as the chief executive of the state government, deprived millions of Wisconsinites of better opportunities, of healthier lives, and better outcomes. Walker’s gubernatorial “leadership” also made our state a laughingstock, with the outgoing governor embarrassing us at many junctures while he was in charge.
Walker’s legacy, however, is long-lasting: The rural-urban divide, which wasn’t fantastic before he took office, exploded under his watch, according to research by Kathy Cramer. That seemed to be Walker’s goal overall: He actively encouraged that divide, regularly deriding the people of Madison, Milwaukee, and other city centers as outsiders, as not really representative of Wisconsin, and encouraging outright hatred of these areas, per reporting from the Journal Sentinel.
That divide-and-conquer mentality will soon be gone from the governorship in Wisconsin, but its consequences will stay with the state long after Walker leaves. In his final meaningful act as governor, he decided to take one last crack at it, using bitterness and divisiveness in signing bills that were (and it bears repeating here) un-American in nature.