So very far from the sandbox

OK, it’s obvious they are reading from a script. After a new state budget was approved for Wisconsin, one Democratic legislator after another after another after another said the budget doesn’t reflect our shared values. They went on to ridicule many of the budget policies. Some spoke sparingly, others went into great detail. Some zeroed in on one offending budget feature, others compiled lengthy lists. None of them ever did say which values were violated. Evidently they didn’t get the memo from the newly elected state party chair on the need for values-based messaging.

The Assembly’s top Republican, on the other hand, swore up and down that the budget is just what the people of Wisconsin want and need. The Senate GOP leader pronounced himself proud of the final product, too. They both rattled off the things the good citizens of our state should be thankful to them for. Left to the imagination was what – or whose – values they were advancing.

Still, it’s clear from a vantage point outside the Capitol that the values lawmakers put on display as they practice politics and build budgets are not the values we all were taught in kindergarten.

Share. Take turns and play fair. Don’t hit. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Clean up your own mess. Stick together.

The Golden Rule is terribly hard to find too, both in the budget and the behavior of those who wrote it.

What a better state Wisconsin would be, and what a better country America would be, if our politics didn’t so often scream “you are on your own” and instead reflected that we’re all in this together and need to look out for each other. What a healthier planet we would have if governments and businesses and consumers alike picked up after themselves and put things back where they found them. How sane and just our society would be if public policies matched those sandbox values, if we stuck together and shared and treated others as we like being treated.

All you really need to know about politics today is how much was apparently never learned in kindergarten.

Mike McCabe