Wayfinding in an unknown woods, not a soccer match

Published on: 6/1/2012

I’ve already voted in the Walker recall election, so I’m not sure why I keep trying to find new information that will either make me feel better about my choice or make me feel better about the outcome should my vote not prevail.

Besides, it seems to be a futile search, this quest for some bit of deciding truth. Each side has set its position in concrete. It’s easy enough to land punches when someone can’t or won’t budge from the spot. Those punches don’t seem to penetrate, though, do they?

Frankly, I can’t get steamed about most of the indignation hot buttons. Outside of cutting the legs off of the less-sexy-than-fire-and-police public employee unions, none of them seems likely to affect my own little selfish personal life in any substantial way.

Walker has real character and allegiance issues. Barrett has real accomplishment issues. Walker spins accomplishments to exaggerate them, Barrett spins character flaws to exaggerate them. Unbiased sources like Politifact don’t have enough information to help us designate who’s wearing the white hat and who’s wearing the black hat. Because everyone’s wearing a grey one, probably.

So who we choose comes down, in the end, to our personalities. To habit and taste. And to the issues we care most about and our beliefs about how to approach them.

I care about involving more people, not fewer, in decision processes. I care about local people having powerful input in making local decisions. And I care about hiring people for specific job qualifications and not for political orthodoxy or reward. I care about hiring people from Wisconsin for jobs big and small, all other things being equal.

I care about transparency, letting everyone see who does what so they can make their own decisions about propriety.

I care about not distorting or manipulating information to mislead people or to exaggerate an advantage. I care about integrity, and I believe using sneaky or questionable means taints even admirable ends. So I care about being careful of the claims we make and even the verbs we use.

Of course I care about myself and my family and my community. I care about my income and ability to support my family.  (I have hard evidence that the incumbent has been bad for that.) I care about education for my kids and other people’s kids. (I suspect the incumbent is bad for that.) I care about my daughters’ reproductive health and ability to enter a fair playing field in the workforce. (I think the incumbent is bad for that.) I care about maintaining public lands and public spaces for the common good. (I am pretty sure the incumbent is bad for that.)

Regardless of who wins, governance shouldn’t be about the winner’s side taking all. It should be about finding a way through the woods that gets most of us to safety.