Badger Blue, Times Two: Contempt, thy name is Fitzgerald
LP - Who is Scott Fitzgerald and why does he need to be removed from office?
BECAUSE I WAS THERE.
I was there in the committee room on the evening of
March 9, 2011, the night a partial Wisconsin Senate rammed through the bill
killing collective bargaining for public employees. Not in the hallway. Not in
the gallery. In the room. I was standing ten feet from Fitzgerald, on the
other side of the table at which he was seated. Don't ask me how or why, it is
a long story for a different day. What matters is that I was THAT close. Close
enough to observe him, evaluate his body language, and hear his words without
amplification. For those who don't work with me, I and my coworkers make our
living in part by watching and evaluating people to determine their credibility
and truthfulness. It is a skill that comes unconsciously to police officers.
That night I watched in utter horror as Scott Fitzgerald ran the sword
through the belly of Wisconsin democracy. With Fitzgerald at the helm, he and
his Republican cohorts steamrolled, at breakneck speed, what should have been a
deliberative, transparent, and reflective process. I bore witness as the rule
of law disintegrated in this man's grasp.
I watched him ignore another warrior in this fight, Representative Peter Barca, as Barca asked those pesky
and annoying questions such as "what exactly is in this bill we are voting on?"
(Fitzgerald himself said "changes" had been made, and Barca clearly had not been
given the opportunity to READ IT before voting). Or another obnoxious question
of "why are we violating the open meetings law and not providing proper notice,"
while Barca clutched a copy of the REPUBLICAN Attorney General's opinion on the
issue. When I say Scott Fitzgerald ignored Barca, I mean that he literally
spoke over him as if he wasn't even in the room. In Fitzgerald's world, there
is no room for dissent, and the rule of law can be broken at will to further an
agenda. However, in my world, ignoring a colleague, and dismissing his very
presence as a human being, is disrespectful beyond words.
As this unfolded in front of me, I looked in Scott Fitzgerald's eyes. What I saw was
pure, unmitigated contempt. It was so apparent that it almost dripped off of
him. He couldn't begin to hide it, and I seriously doubt he even knows
Contempt for Peter Barca. Contempt for the 30 or so people watching
this from the small committee room gallery, who were truly struggling to not
come unglued. Contempt for the thousands of citizens who were streaming into
the Capitol on the news of this cloak-and-dagger legislative charade, and whose
growing roar could be heard from within the room itself. Contempt for the
hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens who had marched in the snow and the
cold to have their voices heard. And, most certainly, contempt for the
thousands of citizens who just had their voice in their workplace stripped
without apology in order to further the interests of corporate campaign