cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The old saw that goes ‘in the eye of the beholder’ seems quite appropriate during times of electioneering, which now seem virtually never-ending in Wisconsin.
Two examples caught my eye as a beholder and made me think of what an opposite interpretation I have from the two people who were involved in the following:
First, Mike Tate, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin wrote an opinion piece in the ‘Your Views’ section of this morning’s Journal Sentinel. His view was a response to the Journal Sentinel’s editorial group deciding to endorse Governor Walker for re-election to the position he now holds. The Tate view contained such phrases as follows: “It saddens but does not surprise…that the state’s largest newspaper would continue to support the most divisive, and possibly most corrupt, governor in Wisconsin history.” Tate goes on after having excoriated the Journal Sentinel for having published editorials in favor of Joe McCarthy mentioning that hindsight might have the same embarrassing effect: “And so it will be with Scott Walker, who has been treated with the embarrassing kindnesses of Journal Communications, which props up the Walker agenda with a daily and unrelenting stream of propaganda via right-wing extremists Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner.”
Second, we have the lead investigator of the Milwaukee District Attorney’s John Doe investigation of Governor Walker’s staff members, et al, whose wife has a Blue Fist sign either in their yard or the window of their home. He, David Budde, has said that the sign is not his, but his wife’s, who is a Milwaukee County employee, and claims he has no position personally that would taint the results of his investigation.
In the first instance, I marvel at how diametrically opposed Tate’s position is to my own position; there simply seems no chasm, maybe other than the Grand Canyon, that would begin to compare. I either have to consider that I am a blatant ideologue with no ability to make cogent, reasoned decisions, or to assume that Tate must be a blatant ideologue, etc., etc. We two are so opposed there is virtually no way we could ever come together to find compromise positions. I doubt that I and Mr. Tate are the only people in Wisconsin who are so opposed to each other’s positions. I think, instead, there are tens and hundreds of thousands who have now become so significantly partisan as to have no ability to find anything that could serve as the ‘middle ground’ of compromise. That’s not a good place for our citizens to be; if that is to be changed, it will take many years for us all to give up, or at least modify, our strong partisan positions. The chances of that are not good in the current climate.
In the second case, how can any person in such a delicate public position not recognize the damage he could do to his own employment position and to the whole investigation that has been waged for years now. If the sign is that of his spouse, in what kind of relationship would a spouse not be able to be sensitive enough to understand the complications this sign could bring down on them and on his investigation? If we are to presume that his statement is true, and that may be a stretch given that both signed petitions, then it would appear that this household may be representative of what appears to be that deepening schism among the residents of this state. Or, Mr. Budde simply isn’t being truthful; how could you sign a petition and yet have no position when it comes to investigating the associates of the man you want out of office? This, on its face, is sufficient that the DA should’ve asked the sign be removed simply to avoid any such taint that might fall upon the investigation. This simply flies in the face of the integrity of the office when that is the last thing anyone needs, especially when 43 of the District Attorneys’ staff members have been identified as having signed the Walker Recall petitions.
In the eye of the beholder, indeed.
We need to be mindful that we each bring a bias to almost every situation we encounter, and we need to be aware of that before we open our mouths, or send an e-mail or write a blog article. To casually neglect to remind ourselves of the bias we carry into every encounter is to invite disaster of one kind or another.