Wisconsin Shows The Way To Avoid A Banana Republic

By Dr. Norman Berdichevsky

With the hindsight of two months and the further examples of avoiding congressional control evidenced by President Obama in his proclamation of amnesty in all but name for 800,000 illegal immigrants, the result in Wisconsin defeating the motion to recall Governor Walker emerges as an epic victory to avoid turning the United States into a Banana Republic.

Despite Vice-President’s Biden rabble rousing demagogic speech on June 19 in Los Angeles to AFSCME union workers as the self-declared defender of the middle class and public service union employees and all they “deserve” against their class enemies.

Directly addressing the union members, Biden’s facial expressions resembled Castro, Chavez or Peron in a mounting crescendo of shouting, fist pumping and finger pointing…

“We owe you! You shouldn’t be vilified! You provide the safe neighborhoods! You provide the good schools! You provide the school lunch program! You provide the day-care centers! You provide the hospitals! You provide the roads! You provide the ability of people to live a decent middle class life! We owe you!”

This is the rhetoric of a Banana Republic maximum leader, caudillo or jefe, not an American Vice President.

The severe economic downturn that has caused markets and house prices to plummet has resulted in the highest unemployment since the Great Depression in most Western countries. This has provided ample opportunity for those who preach class warfare to trot out the old slogans and insist that once again capitalism has failed and that the “workers” must stand united against their class enemies.

This wholly false appeal has not been able to stop the real “revolt of the masses” in the United States – the appearance of an authentic mass movement, namely. The Tea Party.

The Tea Party’s members are a true cross section of the American ‘middle class’ and are predominantly wage earners or retirees on fixed incomes. By measures of their motives and socio-economic standing, as well as their cultural values demonstrate, they joined in a mighty leaderless movement to rise up and give the Democrats under Obama’s leadership the “shellacking” they so well deserved and drive them from office.

Dr. Norman Berdichevsky

Those members of labor unions in the public sector who see their favored position and guaranteed security in the most unstable economic situation in the past seventy years continue to fight tooth and nail under the banner of ‘workers’ solidarity’ that is a myth and a slap in the face of all salaried employees in the private sector and the unemployed.

Their interests in reality clash with those teachers, nurses, firemen and other state employees in vital services who are in effect being subsidized by other workers’ higher taxes. The occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building in Madison in February-March 2011 brought us to the brink of The Banana Republic in which the rule of law has been superseded by threats and intimidation.

The ultimate Banana Republic tactic was the action of renegade state senators who violated their oath of office by flight to Illinois in order to avoid a legitimate action to carry on state business and end the occupation of the capitol building.

Nothing is more inimical to the notion of democracy than the very idea of a ‘recall’ for political reasons instead of malfeasance. In a democracy there is no “do over” allowed because your side didn’t win an election. The chaos one sees in Egypt now, so typical of the Arab world and Latin America, is what typifies a banana republic – the inability to follow through on an election and accept a new regime peacefully.

The dispute over who won our close presidential election in 2000 was decided in the courts and provided a model of how to settle disputes about the outcome of elections according to a constitution and the rule of law.

The elected Democrat legislators of the state Senate who fled to Illinois to prevent the necessary quorum of the Wisconsin Senate defied and ridiculed Wisconsin Constitution Article IV that states the oath of office they swore to uphold….

Oath of office. SECTION 28. Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, …. shall before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and faithfully to discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability.

After the referendum in Wisconsin, I doubt we will again see a recall motion for a “do over” or elected officials flee their state to avoid their sworn oath and demonstrate their contempt of the voters.

As a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. in Geography, 1974), I was well aware of the smug attitude of the Democrat establishment entrenched in Wisconsin, confident that the huge liberal student population resident at the University in Dane county could tilt any election. This time, statewide public indignation was able to surface and defeat the bill decisively.

Norman Berdichevsky is a native New Yorker who lives in Orlando, Florida. He holds a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1974) and is the author of The Danish-German Border Dispute (Academica Press, 2002), Nations, Language and Citizenship (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2004), Spanish Vignettes; An Offbeat Look into Spain’s Culture, Society & History (Santana Books, Malaga, Spain. 2004), An Introduction to Danish Culture (MacFarland, 2011) and The Left is Seldom Right (New English Review Press, 2011). He is the author of more than 200 articles and book reviews that have appeared in a variety of American, British, Danish, Israeli and Spanish periodicals such as World Affairs, Journal of Cultural Geography, Ecumene, Ariel, Ethnicity, The World & I, Contemporary Review, German Life, Israel Affairs, and Midstream. He is also a professional translator from Hebrew and Danish to English and his website is here.


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