Who is Scott Walker? The question should be on the lips of every American who has lost a home, a job, or a sense that the American Dream is something worth pursing. The question might yield the significance of the disappearing elite’s refrain in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged -- Who is John Galt? Walker is a visible symbol, a dupe if you will, of the plutocrat’s vision of America, a land in which a tiny sliver of the population prospers while ever larger segments of the population are driven to their knees in economic despair.
Who is Scott Walker? Why, the question might become a rallying cry, the rallying cry, of ordinary Americans who rise up from their beds and learn to walk together in defiance. The question might become a call to join the good people of Wisconsin who strike, and engage in acts of massive resistance to state officials who take aim at dream of decent housing, health-care benefits and employment for all Americans.
Who is Scott Walker? The mere question could, and with concerted effort it just might, become the rallying point for Americans across the economic and social spectrum who join together to force debate about a new spirit of American constitutionalism, Americans who regard the promise of equality before the law to mean something other than the right for ordinary men and woman to suffer in silence as the limousines of the those such as the Koch brothers’ drive by.
Who is Scott Walker? The question is this generation’s equivalent to a fist raise in defiance, or a middle finger flicked in contempt. It is an invitation simply to walk away from institutions that can rely upon mere physical force, but who lack moral suasion. It is a question that should summon the rage of a people who are raped by investors too big to fail, while those too small to succeed lose their homes, often to investors who possess fraudulent notes.
My wife and I were in Hartford, Connecticut, yesterday at noon. We joined about 800 others in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. We’re not union people. We are both self-employed and fiercely independent. We know something’s happening to ordinary people: our clients still need us, but they now and all of a sudden lack funds, and access to credit of any kind. The stock market rebounds while ordinary Americans sink.
The vast majority of those who attended yesterday’s rally were union members. We did not have an agenda other than sorrow and disgust over a failed sense of economic justice. We stood with others, hoping that the sight of folks banding together would inspire others to realize that their suffering is not mere isolated sorrow, but a symptom of a broader failure, the failure of the American Dream.
I thought of Countrywide’s Angelo Mazilo, fined $22.5 million by the SEC and required to return some $45 million in ill-gotten gain for engaging in fraud and deception, but not charged with any crimes. I thought of Richard Fuld, who engorged himself on financial chicanery while driving Lehman Brothers into the ground, but was never charged with any crimes. And let’s not forget Joe Cassano, the pirate at the helm of American International Group, who also profited from failure and escaped criminal consequences.
The law is never so clearly seen to be a political tool as in these failures to prosecute. The Government contends these cases would be too hard, too complex to make. Oh, really? Why is that conspiracy laws are turned so easily and quickly on drug lords and their gangs, but not on the financiers who sold us bad debt and then left us holding the financial bag?
The law of conspiracy is simple: if two or more people agree to commit some unlawful act, and any one of the conspirators commits an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, all are guilty. Did the CEOs of AIG, Countrywide, and Lehman Brothers head empires based on fraud? The SEC sure appears to think so. Then why not treat all the salesmen as mules, couriers of the "product," and flip them as witnesses against those at the center of the conspiracy? We do it to young men and women in the cocaine trade. Why not do likewise to those who fed an addiction to easy cash?
The answer is obvious. The plutocrats rule. They govern. They finance elections. They fund think tanks. They are men like the Koch brothers, the billionaire ideologues pumping cash and support into the likes of Scott Walker, the Tea Party, and others who want to scream while the American dream goes up in flames.
Let’s get something straight right now: Wall Street crashed the economy. The men jamming the system with bad debt walked away from the mess. We bailed out the bankers. Wall Street is booming again, but now the middle class is asked to give back the small measure of security it has managed to hold onto in the past few years. Is it any wonder nearly 100,000 people turned up in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday to register opposition to Gov. Walker’s proposal to undermine the effectiveness of public employee unions?
So who is Scott Walker? He’s a corporate pimp in a suit. He’s power saying to the people that their dreams are not the dreams of plutocrats. Scott Walker is a cancer, a tumor growing unchecked in the heartland. Fighting this tumor with resistance of all sorts is a necessary surgery each of us can participate in performing. My wife and I were proud to be in Hartford yesterday to register our opposition to all he stands for. We’re looking forward to the next rally, and looking for other ways to do our part.
Ask the next person you see today the following: "Who Is Scott Walker?" When they answer either with a blank stare or by reciting his position, tell them that Scott Walker is a symbol of what is wrong with this country. Scott Walker is a code word for incipient dissent. Act out. Take back what the plutocrats want to keep all for themselves.