'On Wisconsin!’ Public Servanthood and PATCO

by Frank Hill

One of the great fight songs of all time is On Wisconsin! which is usually reserved for the Fighting Badgers of the University of Wisconsin football team.*

‘Forward’ is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.’

‘Retreating’ and ‘running away’ from their elective duties seems more like their ‘driving spirit’ nowadays what with legislators running away from their own state to hide out in some Motel 6 across state lines in Illinois.

Thomas Jefferson considered public service to be the highest calling to which a person could be called. Public service has always been considered somewhat of a ‘sacrificial’ life career inasmuch as the financial rewards have always been considered secondary or tertiary to ‘serving your fellow man’ in such important and noble professions as public safety, the military and yes, elective political office.

You do public service because you think it is ‘the right thing to do’. Period.

The uprisings in Wisconsin and now Indiana and Illinois bring to the forefront of what a ‘public servant’ really is. In our minds and experience, it is an honor beyond measure. A person gets a chance every day to impact, hopefully in a positive way, thousands or perhaps millions of their fellow citizens. There are not many other areas of work where such an outcome can be reasonably expected on a daily basis.

What strikes us as odd is that the very 'leaders' (sic) in these states who were elected by their fellow citizens to be their 'honorable representatives’ in a civil legislature…are basically running away from their sworn constitutional duties to debate, argue, reason together and try to persuade without the use of bodily harm, threats or force in order to conduct the necessary business of the public.

In short, they are ‘cowards’ for running away from the debate. Any elected legislator who flees the arena of duty to hide out in some undisclosed location across state lines is not worthy of being re-elected to any office in the future. Vote them out and vote someone in who will stay on the job and vote yes or no on a bill and then go home.

One solution for these yellow bellies might be for the Wisconsin legislators to vote in the Illinois legislature; the vagabond Illinois legislators vote in Indiana and the Indiana fleers vote in Madison, Wisconsin. That way, they can make their supporters ‘happy’ (sic?) by not voting on the bill they are opposed to in their home states and they can partially fulfill their duties to vote somewhere at least and not look completely idiotic and cowardly.

Here’s something to think about: If public sector unions can dictate the operations of our duly-elected legislative bodies by having their supporters just leave their states and suspend activities on the floor of state legislatures, why do we need to elect anyone to fill the jobs of state representatives or senators? Who becomes the ‘public servant’ then? And who makes the tough decisions, the unions or the elective officials who were elected by at least 50%+1 of the registered voters in their districts, just like the Constitution said?

Even revered President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke of the dangers of government unions for this very reason.

Recently-inaugurated President Ronald Reagan was faced with a similar dilemma in 1981 when the air traffic controllers at all of the nation’s airports went on strike demanding more pay and limiting their work week to only 32 hours. He cited a law that forbid strikes by government unions {5 U.S.C. (Supp. III 1956) 118p.} and told them they had 48 hours to decide whether or not to come back to work.

Only a handful did.

Reagan issued an order to fire the rest of them because their strike represented a "peril to national safety", (which it did…no one could fly without air traffic controllers in the airport towers across the nation) under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

Substitute air traffic controllers were found and hired and PATCO was decertified as a government union.

And the word got out that if you are a government worker, a public servant working for the rest of your fellow citizens first and foremost, not yourself, that you better not go on strike or else you would lose your job.

When was the last time you heard about a government union strike since then until this year in Wisconsin?

If the pay and conditions of a public sector job are not to a person’s liking, they have the option to do what every other American has had the chance to do since the beginning of our Republic:

Get a job in the private sector or start your own business and hope to become the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.

Public sector employees are serving at the will of the people. Not the other way around.

*On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time. (U rah rah)
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
"Forward" is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Raise her glowing flame
Stand, Fellows, let us now
Salute her name!

(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).

Related discussion: Memeorandum

1 comment:

  1. This is an abuse of the "Quorum Rules"... It is intended to prevent a vote from taking place in the event of an unannounced or secret vote. Or in the case of exceptionally bad weather.
    The Democrats have had enough time to be notified and the vote should be allowed to proceed.
    Perhaps they should vote to change the rules to avoid this in the future.

    ReplyDelete

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