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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dear Forward Janesville

Dear Forward Janesville,

I love you. I really do. But, we need to get a few things straight between us. There has been a lot of confusion in the thinking of many people for a long time.


Hint: They aren’t small business owners, managers, or school teachers. Hint #2: If you haven’t been invited to hunt with Dick Cheney, you ain’t in the oil business.

So many people seem confused about who the rich people are! How can this be?

When I first moved to Janesville, I observed pure unadulterated envy of General Motors line employees and frequent references to the vast amounts of money they made. People working on an assembly line in noisy, dirty, roasting hot plant who have to work all the over-time they can get to make a good living, are not rich people!

Now I am seeing corrosive envy, not of the Koch brothers or the 100 most powerful and wealthy people or corporations, but of…school teachers and people drawing unemployment? Disabled people? Really? How low can we go?

Then, we have those local small business owners and managers and quite few of my friends who are downright delusional about themselves being rich and powerful. I am not even kidding! They believe that they are the wealthy and powerful people that the “welfare queens” are living off.

How can you tell people that they are not the rich and powerful? You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings!

In terms of real power, and IMNHO, there are only three social groups:

a. those who do not have secure food, clothing, shelter, etc;

b. the vast numbers of us who earn a living and are reasonably secure; and

c. the few who have enough money to buy their children entrance into Harvard or whose children and grand children will never have to work for wages.


Hint: You may be a manager today, but you may be unemployed tomorrow. You may be a doctor today but you will be a patient tomorrow.

Then, there are those people who believe that because they are in a management position or own a small business that they are invulnerable to life’s tragedies. They do not believe that they or their loved ones will ever need unemployment benefits. They do not believe that they or their children could ever die from lack of health care.

This is what living in the great state of Wisconsin has given people--a sense of security that is both wonderful and dangerous.


Hint: Have you ever been to a third world country that has a very comfortable upper class, no middle class, and 95% of people living in grinding poverty?

It isn’t 1811. People cannot survive by raising a garden and hunting squirrels. I will confess: I know people who really, really believe in their deepest heart that everyone should take care of themselves and their families and if they cannot, they should starve or die from lack of health care. Now, if it were them and their families doing the dying…I just don’t know?

It is 2011 and we live in a complex world of multi-national companies that come and go, and go, and go…Individuals are not responsible for the complexity of the economic world we live in.

If you give me a choice between living in a third world country (I’ve been there) and France, (I’ve been there, too) I’ll take France any day of the week.

The Republican Party is destroying the middle class in Wisconsin and the USA and turning us into a third world country. You cannot destroy the middle class and then prosper in the damaged economy.


Hint: We can seeeeeeee you!

In the Holiday Inn Express, we have small business owners and managers meeting with Lt. Gov. Kleefisch. Protesting outside we have, what? Small business owners and managers!

Forward Janesville, I have a message. Most of you aren’t rich. You haven’t been hunting with Dick Cheney. You are not invulnerable to the vicissitudes of the economy and the tragedies of life. You do not want to live in the third world country that is being brought to us by the Republican Party.

And, we, the protesters outside, are your friends and neighbors. We are professionals, small business owners ourselves, and devoted community members.

We are not “welfare queens,” hippies (OK, maybe a few aging hippies :>), slobs, outside agitators, or union thugs.

Most important of all: WE ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS! Do not destroy the very economy that supports you and your businesses.

With love for our wonderful state and community,



  1. Very well said! I was glad to see someone bring up the animosity toward the GM workers. It is my belief that the jealousy and hatred that was aimed at the GM workers for so many years in Janesville is now aimed at Janesvilles public school teachers. The hateful things that people from this community say toward anyone who has something they don't...even if those people have bachelor degrees and master degrees...even if those people teach their communities just scary.

  2. Well done, Vivian - so many of us need to be reminded that we are not the 1% even when we would like to think we are. I too am glad you brought up the GM worker envy syndrome - just plain poisonous envy. Same with the health care envy syndrome. It's not that I have health care and you don't (therefore, you are angry at ME; even my best friend is angry at me about that); it's that we all should have health care! But you see how we get pitted against each other over issues like this instead of looking UP to those who are the real oppressors - the very rich. They are our enemies, not each other. Let's figure that out before it is too late.

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