When I was but a lad of nine years old, I got a President for my birthday. On August 9, 1974, my ninth birthday, Gerald Ford was sworn in as President of the United States. Ford had the formidable task of trying to heal the nation after it was rocked by the scandalous Richard Nixon.
Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace, because he and his scandalous behaviors had taken the nation to rock bottom - the point at which the people wouldn't and couldn't stand it any more and demanded change to the situation.
receiving two politicians, Jessica King and Jennifer Shilling, for my birthday. And as with Ford, these two were elected because of their predecessors' scandalous and amoral behaviors.
The two Republicans they defeated were scoundrels through and through. Dan Kapanke, defeated by Shilling, had a long history of violating campaign finance laws and the Freedom of Information Act. Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper was having an adulterous affair with a lobbyist and not even living in the district he represented or voted in.
But what really got the citizens of the state riled up was how they unquestioningly went along with Scott Walker's assault on the working class, the poor, women and even kids.
Having hit rock bottom for many people, they demanded that these attacks stop. When the Republicans willfully failed to heed the people, the people took up their legal rights and initiated recalls.
Six Republicans were at risk of losing their seats in recalls. But after the dust settled, only the two seats were claimed back by the people. Two of the surviving Republicans, Robert Cowles and Sheila Harsdorf, were in districts so red that, as one tweeter quipped, they'd vote for a goat if it had an "R" after its name. Another Republican, Luther Olson, won by a narrow margin, even though he hails from the birthplace of the GOP.
The last race, which was awarded to incumbent Alberta Darling, is shrouded in yet another scandalous cloud of incompetence and election tampering in Waukesha County.
Now two of the Democrats did themselves no favors by shooting themselves in the foot with some really stupid mistakes. Shelly Moore, running against Harsdorf, fumbled out of the starting gate by using public school email for her campaign. Sandy Pasch failed to make a clear divide between her campaign and an action committee she is part of, including using the committee's treasurer as her campaign treasurer.
While the Republicans are crowing that this is some sort of mandate, like Darling is foolishly doing, it is anything but that. First of all, they lost two seats and the Democrats have lost none. Secondly, while millions of Wisconsinites are seeing what's happening, and are righteously outraged by it, there are still millions more that haven't hit that rock bottom point yet.
I can't say when it will happen, but they too will reach the point that the rest of us are at. It could be when they realize their schools aren't in the great shape that Walker and the Republicans claim, and their kids are piled into overly-filled classrooms. It could be when the fee hikes kick in and they're paying much, much more than they've ever had to pay before. It could be when a loved one, a friend or a neighbor loses or is unable to gain the assistance they need due to severe budget cuts to the programs they need. It could be when they lose their job when their employer has to close because money is being taken out of the hands of the people and into the coffers of wealthy bankers and businessmen. It could be when they lose a friend who was shot by a "responsible citizen" exercising their right to carry a gun, even if they aren't properly trained or even fit to be armed. It could be when they realize they aren't able to make enough money to keep their house, because the unions which kept their wages at a sustainable level are no longer there to protect them, even if they never belonged to the union.
It could be any one of hundreds of different things.
But the one thing that is guaranteed is that eventually the majority of people will finally hit rock bottom and come to realize what a toxic miasma the Republicans are making of our state.
And then we can take the next step in reclaiming our state and continuing the healing process. I only hope it's before too many people get irreparably hurt by the Republicans' maleficence.
Until then, I would just like to thank my fellow Wisconsinites for the lovely birthday gift of two more senators who will do right for the people of this once and future great State of Wisconsin.