I was hanging around back of Cranberry Creek yesterday – the nice people will give me carrots and apples from time to time – when I saw a man come rushing past. He had an anxious air to him – jumpy, looking around. Being the super friendly horse that I am, I trotted over and asked if I could help.
The man shook his head, but I could tell he was lying.
“What’s up?” I asked again.
He hesitated, then fessed up. “I’m on the lame,” he admitted.
My immediate thought is ‘lawbreaker’, and I figure I’ll stomp his ass and drag him over to the cops at Monona Gardens. He sees what I’m thinking and shakes his head.
He goes on to explain that he’s in the state government, and him and 13 other officials are running to prevent the new Walker administration from passing some new laws. He goes on about unions and collective bargaining and worker’s rights.
“I believe the legislature has the right to extend collective bargaining to state workers,” I tell him. “They can give, and they can take it away. Isn’t that the way it works?”
The man reluctantly agrees. “But it’s more than 50 years of precedent,” he says. “It’s not fair.”
Fair. Hmmph. I’m a horse. I can’t even get my name on a ballot. Oh well, I decide it wasn’t time to air my complaints. He was pretty shook up.
“And what will taking off to another state accomplish?” I ask.
“It will prevent them from voting for the wrong measures,” he replies. “It will protect the rights of workers.”
That’s nice, I think to myself. But he can see I’m not convinced.
“We can stick it to the Man,” he finally adds.
Ahh, stickin’ to the Man. That’s interesting. I firmly believe in sticking it to the Man. Who is the Man? I can’t explain it, but when I see him, I know who he is. So I debate the issues here.
Pay cuts to public employees? Fine, that’s understandable in these tough economic times. Contributing to health insurance and retirement? Ditto. Being more flexible to promote and reward workers based on merit. Sure, that’s reasonable to expect. Having more accountability so bad seeds aren’t overly protected by work rules, so grievances are acted upon in a prompt and fair manner. Good points. All these are desired by the Walker administration to attack debt, make government more efficient, to help balance the budget.
That leads to one last question: is crushing the union an essential part to solving the budget crisis?
Hmmm. I consider it a short while.
“Hop on,” I tell the stranger. He looks at me uncertainly. “Let’s stick it to the man,” I add. The fugtive grins and jumps on board.
We spent the day racing over the fields and trails of southern Wisconsin. We know that the State Patrol was on the lookout for us, so we avoided the roads. We slipped into barns and under trees when helicopters flew overhead. We thought we were caught once when a State Trooper found us hiding out behind a shed. But the man was a decent. He just winked and noted that there were lots of cops to the south. He headed off, pretending he’d never seen anything.
It was a perilous and hasty journey, but I eventually deposited my wayward legislator in another state.
I want to thank the nice farmer who gave me some oats. And the two kids who fetched me some carrots.
I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I have to admit it was fun. Dodging cops. Hiding out.
And most of all, sticking to the Man.