Atypical Democracy

The battle is over in Wisconsin. Or is it?

Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate used a legitimate splitting tactic to re-classify the bill limiting union bargaining powers, passed the bill in the Senate - absent the Democrats - and then passed it again in the Assembly. The bill is now law.

However, lest you should think, Well, that's that; everyone back to work, opponents of the bill are still chanting, jeering, shaking fists, sitting-in, resisting arrest, and vowing to take the matter to the courts to overturn this subversion of "civil rights."

Man, is there no reasoning with these people? When does the time come for simply admitting defeat and moving on to the next issue?

Apparently, with this issue, not yet.

It might appear that opponents of Governor Scott Walker are acting in an irrational manner. However, their conduct is completely rational. They're simply following different tenets of reason - a different game plan - than we're used to seeing in the public square. The logic is clear and consistent: If you can't get your way by normal democratic processes, then turn to atypical democratic processes: protest, disruption, threats and intimidation, and, of course, the courts.

Such tactics make more sense when real God-given rights are at stake. They're a little less convincing when people are acting-up just to keep their larger-than-most slice of the public pie.

The situation in Madison provides a good glimpse at just how deep-rooted is the mindset of entitlement in the American political garden. We will continue to hear about "rights" being violated or taken away because the entitlement mindset reasons that, once a privilege is gained, it becomes a right, and no one can take it away. Which is the same as saying that government gives rights, but it does not have the power - or right - to take them away.

Christians who hope to exert influence in the public square - and that should be every one of us - need to understand what they're up against. There will be no sudden retreats from the entitlement mindset and the nanny State; this is a generational challenge. We need to gear up for it and plan to stay at it for the long haul.

If we are not educating ourselves for making a responsible Christian contribution to the political situation in this country, and if we are not educating our children for the same, then government, rather than function as a servant of God for good, will continue to function as a servant of those who are most effective at manipulating democratic processes for their own peculiar interests and ends.

Additional related texts: Romans 13.1-4; Psalm 72; Deuteronomy 17.14-20

A conversation starter: "Why are the people in Madison, WI, still so angry? Don't they know when to quit?"

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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