Constitution Daily

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What Wisconsin senators can learn from Aaron Rodgers

February 28, 2011 by Shock and Awe


When the time came to sign the proposed Constitution, three of the delegates present famously dissented, refusing to sign what they considered a flawed document. In that spirit, Constitution Daily proudly introduces “Dissenters’ Corner,” featuring periodic posts of opposing viewpoints on today’s news and tomorrow’s public scandals. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares? You decide.


A screenshot from Governor Walker's webpage.

Recently in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker proposed a series of changes to unionized state employee benefits and collective bargaining that he argues are necessary for the fiscal and managerial health of the state. The governor's proposal caused the democratic members of the state to flee rather than vote on the proposal.

The proposal has also caused a national debate on many facets of political life and labor relations like whether national figures should enter the debate in Wisconsin and whether the state has become ground zero for the future of employee management relations in the United States.

We’ll leave it to others to answer those very important questions in subsequent posts. Instead, we ask our two newest writers, under the pen names, “Shock” and “Awe,” to answer the question of whether democratic senators should have stayed and debated, or whether they were right to flee the state.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry count a hundred.” I would add, "if really angry walk away."

In short, our debate will answer the question posed by the British punk rock band the Clash in their hit, “should I stay or should I go?”

The Senators should have fled.

While debate entails that the majority will have its way, while the minority will have its say, changing the fifty year status of law in Wisconsin should require an extra amount of breathing room not found in a straight up or down vote. Rather, the opposition to be an effective minority should take the time necessary to regroup. Doing so is as old as 338 B.C. when Demosthenes remarked, “He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day.” After all, perhaps their absence will make the heart of their opponents grow fonder so that a civil debate can commence.

The senators should have stayed.

Philosophers, pundits and politicos be damned – Wisconsin’s state senators swore an oath to “faithfully and impartially discharge the duties to the best of (my) ability” of the position to which the people of Wisconsin elected them, “So help me God.”

By pulling a cut and run, rather than fulfill their sworn duties to the people of Wisconsin and engage in the deliberative lawmaking process our founders intended; they’ve achieved nothing more than political circus and are no closer to controlling spending OR protecting workers’ rights. What happened to all the recent talk of civility and cooperation? At this point, most would settle for mild productivity. Wisconsinites, all is not lost. You still have Aaron Rodgers. At least he knows when to stand in the pocket and take one for the team.


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