Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trojan Badgers

Wisconsin isn't Wisconsin anymore. Our politics are not in keeping with our state's culture. We are a mild-mannered, polite people. Ask most anyone visiting for the first time to describe us, and chances are the word "nice" will cross their lips. But there's nothing nice or polite or mild-mannered about our politics these days. The New York Times was moved the other day to call Wisconsin the "land of cheese and rancor" and the "most politically divisive place in America."

Our laws are not even our own anymore. What was called "2011 Wisconsin Act 1" is not of Wisconsin. It was not written by any Wisconsin lawmaker. Nor was "Wisconsin Act 2." These laws were written by an invading alien force based in Washington, D.C. known as the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC for short.

ALEC cooked up Act 9 and Act  10 too. And Acts 14, 21, 22 and 23. Not to mention seven different parts of Act 32. All of Acts 35, 38, 93, 94, 174 and 285.

An incredibly detailed report by the Center for Media and Democracy shows the countless ways ALEC has worked to deliver a national right-wing ideological agenda to Wisconsin.

A website called "Kids in the House" managed by the U.S. House clerk's office says this to its young visitors: "Laws begin as ideas. These ideas may come from a Representative or from a citizen like you."

Or from a corporate-funded bill mill a thousand miles away.

We all know the legend of the Trojan Horse. It lives on as a metaphor for sneak attacks and concealed agendas. What we have now in Wisconsin is beyond metaphor; it is a living embodiment of this ancient tale. Under elaborate cover, wealthy outside interests bastardize the idea of representation, usher in their agenda and have laws written for their benefit, not ours. And they make Wisconsin look less and less like the state we all once knew.

Call it the Trojan Badger.

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