By Matthew Rothschild on May 23, 2012

It’s mid-afternoon at the city-county building in Madison, Wisconsin, and a steady stream of six or seven residents keeps filing in to vote early in the race between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett.

“We’ve had over 8,000 votes so far in the first three days,” says Maribeth Witzel, the city clerk of Madison. By comparison, for the 2010 governor’s race between Walker and Barrett, she says her office “issued just over 10,000 total and that was for a month’s time.”

With eight days to go in early voting this time, if this pace keeps up, twice as many Madison voters will have cast their ballots in this election in the two weeks that were available than all those in Madison who cast early ballots last time.

So the pace is more than four times what it was in 2010. And it even appears to be breaking the pace of 2008 when there were 30,000 early voters over a month’s time, according to Witzel.

This bodes ill for Walker.

Madison is overwhelmingly Democratic.

In the 2010 election in Madison, Barrett beat Walker by almost a four-to-one margin: 83,939 to 23,798.

If turnout is much higher this time in Madison, as early voting indicates, then Barrett will get a big bounce.

The early voters I talk to at the city-county building tell me they are taking a stand against Walker.

Bill Colby, 71, says Walker was “deceptive” when he ran the first time. “The most important issue is to restore collective bargaining and the cuts to education and BadgerCare,” he says. “I’m hoping people will think about the heavy-handed way Walker has dealt with the political economy.”

Philip Klein, 68, says, “What’s happened to the state under Walker is devastating. He’s destroyed our ability to talk to each other. And his attack on public employees is the first step in the attack on workers in general.” Klein, a retired public sector worker, says he hears from his former colleagues all the time with stories on how “punitive” the workplace is now under Walker. “All kinds of flexibility has been taken away from the workplace,” he says. “People can’t even drop their kids off at the day care center anymore.” Even a former manager of his is “upset about how management is acting,” he says. “It’s terrible.”

Mocking Walker’s campaign slogan, Klein says, “Wisconsin is not open for business. It’s been sold.”

Laura Perry, 63, simply says, “I want my state back.”

I ask Carol Solomon, 72, about who got her vote.

“Not Scott Walker,” she says. “He’s hideous.”

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race is historic."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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Capitalism is the enemy, and the ideology of growth and dominion over the Earth.

 

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham recently joined many of his Republican colleagues, declaring that...

John Kerry used two weak arguments to justify President Obama’s war-making.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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