I've read that most of us vote with our pocketbooks rather than our hearts. Since my pocketbook and my heart are empty when it comes to politics, I wonder if I can just vote for the highest bidder. That means you, Mary Burke or Scott Walker, union bosses or Koch brothers. While it might seem un-American or anti-democratic to sell my vote, I suppose it's kind of what we expect out of the politicians we elect: big corporations will expect Walker to continue to support policies in their favor, while big unions will expect Burke to do their bidding. As an unemployed public school teacher married to a church employee, I feel it's my duty NOT to vote unless I get a good price for my support.
When Scott Walker led the valiant fight against fat cat state employees, he was not my favorite guy. I'd given up opportunities at more lucrative careers so that I could benefit from the long term stability of teaching. Suddenly, benefits and job security were gone, further evidenced by my dismissal for non-performance reasons (that means monetary) from the School District of Menomonee Falls. At the moment I was told I was to be jobless, I wanted to blame someone, and Scott Walker seemed like the perfect pigeon.
The problem is that Walker did not sign my dismissal--the school board did; Walker did not approve the idea--the superintendent did; Walker did not submit my name--my principal did. They did not value me enough as an exemplary employee, probably because my value was finally approaching that of a "median" teacher in Wisconsin. I'm sure it did not help that my family cost more in insurance. Of course, firing me for those reasons would probably be illegal, so they said the rest of the department included the team members they wanted going forward. Fiscally and intellectually conservative Waukesha County, for ya.
So, I soon decided that Walker was not fully to blame for my dismissal. I did not promote myself enough, I probably cost too much, and I have never been attractive enough to keep a job based solely on that. As I settled into the thought of being thrown away by my school district, I waited for the bold cries from my fellow union members--a union I chose to join, even after most of my colleagues chose to disband. I waited some more. They kept charging me my dues through July. It's now September and a new school year, and I'm still waiting for the loud, powerful union response to my district's actions. They never even sent me a refund or a Walmart gift card to help feed my family.
If Walker wins and sticks it to teachers even more, I certainly don't want to ever teach again, but what's my incentive for voting for Burke and unions? Even if schools were fully funded again, don't I look like the teacher who must have failed and should be avoided as an employee? Besides, why would I now want my former friends and former fellow union members to suddenly be back in the lap of relative luxury while I'm stuck starting over and starving.
On top of all that, my wife works for a church with a school that participates in Walker's choice program. As a believer in a free public liberal arts education and a separation of church and state, I am philosophically against supporting private religious schools with taxpayer money. However, she works there. The same policies that forced me to be unemployed have ensured her sustained employment and the constant recent growth of our church. I told another member that our church should be pushing members to vote for Walker, since a Burke win might spell the end for the choice program and the millions of dollars our church and school will need in order to afford the addition we're putting on the facility (to house all the new students).
The last factor in the mix is that since I am currently unemployed and partially looking for an out-of-state job, I really do not know which candidate will work best for my own pocketbook in the near future. I want to land a business job instead of a teaching job, but I will take either. However, Scott Walker has not exactly proven to be good for business in Wisconsin, so he is not the obvious choice at that point, anyhow. Plus, Burke might just keep all of the Act 10 policies in force because she's one of those business Democrats who tend to drift away from unions when it makes sense. And that brings us back to what makes sense for me: cash. I can deliver two votes to the highest bidder between Burke and Walker. You two know how it works because you're preparing to deliver yourselves to those who pay to play, so please send a little my way.
UPDATE: Mere hours after I posted this article, a "pollster" called with all these questions about me voting. I told him I wasn't going to vote, but I answered the questions, anyhow. After several minutes of relatively basic opinion questions, he began giving me all this negative information about Walker, including the connection to the Koch brothers and mining companies in Western Wisconsin. I told the guy Walker sounded like a pretty bad dude, but I also told him I had not changed my mind about voting. I'm still waiting for the best offer for my vote.