Your Views: What would Rip Van Winkle think about our democracy?

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letter to the editor
Monday, December 4, 2017

The fictional Rip Van Winkle wandered off into the Catskills in 1817, fell asleep and woke up 20 years later. If he had fallen asleep in the Chequamegon Forest a decade ago and awakened today, he would probably wonder who stole our democracy in Wisconsin.

He would wonder why we had elected and re-elected a governor and a representative who are afraid to hold press conferences and refuse to meet with the people who elected them. He might wonder why most of their public appearances were for photo-ops and ribbon-cutting ceremonies in businesses and factories and never in public places where the people are.

Poor old Rip would remember when candidates won or lost elections based on the issues and not on whether they raised more money than their opponent or because they represented a gerrymandered congressional district.

He would probably remember people like Gaylord Nelson and want to know what we were doing to protect our natural resources and why our wetlands were disappearing.

Rip might wonder why public education had become a liability and not an asset. And why teachers were now blamed for whatever is wrong with education.

I am thinking that he would return to the forest and sleep for another decade hoping that when he woke up again, he would find that the Koch brothers had given our democracy back to us.




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