I rarely write for adults, but recent political events have provoked me to pick up my pen. In November, Wisconsin voters elected a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer. Then, in an all-night lame duck session, the Republican-controlled legislature passed an unprecedented power grab, as detailed in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. You can also read about it in the New York Times (scroll down to see my husband and me—with my sister and brother-in-law behind us—in the photo of the gallery just before they cleared it). Yes, Wisconsin is getting national attention, none of it good. And we are not alone. Similar power grabs are in process in Michigan and North Carolina.
Despite winning all four statewide elections, Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly remain outnumbered—thanks to gerrymandered districts that maintain the current party's hold on power. We await the Supreme Court's decision. Here's my take on the sorry situation:
The Power of the Map
by JoAnn Early Macken
If you're a savvy politician
with a race to win,
sophisticated software is
the best way to begin.
Divvy up your districts so
your rivals always lose,
and then it really doesn't matter
whom the voters choose.
If you don't like the odds, just rig them
No wave or wall can overcome
After working to register voters and get out the vote, we spent two days in the Capitol in Madison watching the shameful events unfold. Now, unless the outgoing Republican governor vetoes the legislation, we will see our taxes go to law firms while the whole mess is tied up in legal battles instead of funding education, infrastructure, environmental issues, and a raft of other problems that desperately need attention. It's heartbreaking. But we've done what we can—for now.
I'm returning to my Work In Progress, a collection of humorous middle grade poems, and my sewing project with Bring Your Bag Shorewood, making Boomerang Bags reusable shopping bags for people to borrow when they forget to bring their own. Wish me luck!
Elizabeth Steinglass has today's Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!