The original Star Wars turned 35 last Friday (I'll be 36 next month) so it is safe to say that I have grown up with the story of an ill-funded, ragtag group of "losers" and underdogs who are trying to reclaim the galaxy from a power-hungry emperor who believes in ruling with an iron fist and quelling the voices of the average person in favor of the wealthy and powerful - Sound familiar?
My six year old son watched the entire original saga with me and was inspired enough to want to wear his light saber on a bike ride through Greendale and a trip to Ferch's (that is how we do "conceal-carry" in the Patzfahl family). He even forced me to have light saber fight on the jungle gym at the nearby playground (yeah, I brought my own light saber too).
While my son was inspired by the space ships, the non-stop action, the cool-looking aliens and of course the light saber fights - I was inspired by the "never say die" attitude of the rebels.
According to the polls, things may look bleak right now for Tom Barrett and the Democrats in Wisconsin, but things surely seemed hopeless for Luke Skywalker and his friends when he lost the use of his hand (sound familiar?) and his compadre, Han Solo (Russ Feingold) was frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader (Ron Johnson).
But Skywalker did not quit - he finished his training and was inspired by an old master, Yoda (Bill Clinton). Skywalker became the leader of a the rebel forces despite the unlikely odds of a victory because he knew, as Tom Barrett knows, that diminishing the rights of minorities, women, the elderly and the poor is pure evil...and evil will NEVER prevail.
The Darth Vader-like Scott Walker who is roaming Wisconsin (and dozens of other states to hold fundraisers) is funded by wealthy right-wing extremists who reside in a galaxy of the 1% - a galaxy in which you or I will never be allowed to exist in, but have the possibility teasingly dangled in front of our eyes just to entice us.
Scott Walker is merely doing the wishes of his rich and powerful string-pullers like the Koch Bros. and Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks, much like Darth Vader did the bidding of his master, the emperor.
This ultra-conservative group of right wing extremists uses strong-arm tactics in a moderate state to rule us by intimidation and fear. What was it that Star Wars taught us about fear? Oh yeah: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." ~ Master Yoda
And now because the fear of the GOP has led to hatred, their hatred has led to the suffering of:
- Public education
- The protection of natural resources
- The protection of the rights of women
- The right to vote
I don't want to live in fear, surrounded by misguided and brain-washed neighbors who think that the rise of women, the voice of minorities or the rights of homosexuals somehow threatens their livelihood. I want to live in a galaxy where all people are treated with respect and whose voices are listened to, even if they are young or poor or gay or non-Christian - or worse, educated.
It is time to elect a leader who will NOT pit neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member, employer against employee and co-worker against co-worker.
It is time to elect a leader who does not believe in a "divide and conquer" strategy to destroying the state.
It is time to elect a leader who puts public education and the needs of children over the needs of his wealthiest donors.
It is time to elect a leader who does not keep a baseball bat for union-bashing on his office door.
It is time to elect a leader who is not a puppet for the 1%.
It is time to elect a leader who is not under investigation by the FBI (we all know he is!)
It is time to elect a leader who believes that everyone has a voice that should be heard.
Tom Barrett and the Democrats may be out-spent 20-1 by the rich and powerful GOP machine, but they should keep one thing in mind going into next Tuesday's gubernatorial recall election:
"There is no try - only do and do not." ~ Master Yoda
And if mothers care about their children's education - and grandmothers and grandfathers care about their grand children's education - and husbands care about the rights of their wives - and neighbors care about the rights of their fellow neighbors - Then, and only then will the Democrats will be able to snatch victory from the hands of the wealthy and powerful.
But only if we care about each other...