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josie's avatar

Are the Wisconsin state legislators who ran away to hide in Illinois being cowards?

Asked by josie (30931points) February 18th, 2011

Their party is not relevent to the context of the question so I will not mention it.
As you know, in order to avoid debate or a vote on the various issues that affect public employee unions, a group of Wisconsin state senators took off and are hiding in Illinois. I presume that this is to escape the jurisdiction of the Wisconsin state police.

I am sure they think they are being clever and “making a statement”.

I think they are cowards.

What if a cop or (as I more closely identify with) a soldier, ran away and hid instead of doing their duty?

There is only one word that I can think of to describe that sort of default of responsibility-cowardice.

Indeed, I say again that they are cowards, plain and simple.

What else could they be?

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17 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

I suspect that the legislators think they are doing their duty by avoiding the vote. And it’s the vote they are avoiding, not the debate. The debate is ongoing, as are the protests. I fail to see how they are cowards, unless you think they’re just afraid of losing a vote. But I don’t think they’re afraid. I think they’re doing everything in their power to get their way—which members of the other major party call “courage” whenever they’re the ones doing it.

zenvelo's avatar

No. Anytime someone takes a non-violent action to stand for a principle, it’s not cowardice. It may be counter-productive, but it is not cowardice.

Cowardice is rolling over and giving up just because the opposition is overwhelming. Cowardice is standing by and doing nothing.

Aethelwine's avatar

I told my husband I didn’t feel like playing Trivial Pursuit tonight because I knew he’d kick my ass. I locked myself in the bedroom and watched Glee instead.~

I agree @josie. You do what you sign up for. If you don’t like it, get out.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jonsblond Yes, and they signed up for a job in politics. Is this not a political move?

Qingu's avatar

@josie, I don’t ever remember you calling Republicans cowards for brazenly using obscure procedural rules to obstruct Democratic agenda during the past entire two fucking years.

SmashTheState's avatar

Sure, they’re cowards. They’re taking the easy way out. The union brothers and sisters who stormed and occupied the legislature? They have courage. Of course, cowardice and spineless toadying are prerequisites for holding office. If they had the courage of their convictions they’d be in the legislature with baseball bats, dealing some rough justice to the Repuglikan fascists.

cloudvertigo's avatar

No, this would not seem to be an issue of bravery. What is likely at stake is news coverage and opinion. Through local protest and this pointed act, American news is covering what is happening with Wisconsin’s (what is happening in the other 49 legislatures?) budget instead of only covering what is happening at the national level.

Traditionally, teaching is known as a low paying job and it would seem that the Republican’s in Wisconsin are being put on the spot to be shewn as ogres’ whose solution to hard times and budget shortfalls would be the revocation of union bargaining and, presumably, lower salaries for teachers and other union members.

Cruiser's avatar

No…they are being sooper smart coming here! Rockford has lots of vacant housing to put them up in cozy digs! Welcome to Illinois Cheeseheads!!

josie's avatar

@Qingu I deliberately left out mentioning the party in an attempt to focus on the possible issue of cowardice. You brought it up.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SmashTheState While I find it hard to disagree that cowardice and spinelessness are prerequisites for holding office these days, I’m not exactly sure how the Wisconsin legislators could meaningfully storm their own workplace. It seems the sort of action that only becomes meaningful when others do it, which is why the union members are so important here.

Qingu's avatar

@josie, so if you weren’t wondering about any particular party (LOL) why did you never ask this question when Republicans were doing it over the past two years?

Also, just to be clear: the workers (and Democratic politicans) aren’t protesting the bill because it calls for lower wages. Unions have said they’d agree to lower wages. Their problem with the bill is that it unilaterally destroys union power to bargain over health and benefits. This has nothing to do with the budget, and everything to do with right-wing ideology.

bkcunningham's avatar

The governor has made it clear the state has nothing left to bargain with.

zenvelo's avatar

@bkcunningham There is always room to bargain. The Governor just won’t accept alternatives. And they refuse to raise revenue.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I’m afraid I don’t follow. The state doesn’t have any money with which to bargain, therefore the right to bargain itself must be forfeit? How does that work, exactly?

And was this before or after he gave +100 million in tax breaks to the wealthy?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu the legislators wrote a bill that passed which Gov. Walker signed Feb. 4 giving a tax reduction of $92 to $316 for every job businesses create, depending on their size and tax brackets.

I think it was during his campaigning before his election and swearing into office in January when he said he’d limit collective bargaining for most public employees to just wages and that “total wage increases could not exceed a cap based on inflation unless approved by referendum. Contracts would be limited to one year and wages would be frozen until a new contract is settled. Collective bargaining units are required to take annual votes to maintain certification as a union. Employers would be prohibited from collecting union dues, and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. Changes would be effective upon expiration of existing contracts.”

So I’d say it was before he signed the bill passed by the state legislators allowing business owers to keep more of their own money if they create more jobs.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, touche on the tax breaks. It appears I was susceptible to a pants-on-fire (or relatively similar) assertion. I don’t have a problem with tax breaks if they are conditional on job creation.

That said, I still don’t understand how you go from “we can’t afford to pay you what you’re asking, please negotiate or we’ll have to layoff people” to “we aren’t going to let you negotiate on these two other topics related to your employment.”

Just to be as clear as possible: my problem is not with lower union wages (neither are the unions, they’ve accepted the need for lower wages in light of the deficit). My problem is using the deficit as a pretext for taking away union bargaining rights, rights which don’t even have to do with wages.

Unions are a political force. Like any given political party, they are messy and prone to corruption. But for workers, they are the only reasonable counterweight to corporate power. The objectionable part of Walker’s plan has nothing to do with finances, and everything to do with politics.

bkcunningham's avatar

Someone told me today that we are viewing things through a straw. The straw is the camera lens of of the media. There are union teachers who are in their classroom teaching and not out on the streets protesting in Wisconsin. My friend actually said more than just that on the subject, and it was actually very eyeopening, eloquent and true.

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