Tough times abound in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. All three states are experiencing major budget crunches, and in all three rust belt states pro-union demonstrators have entrenched themselves in state capitols to protest bills that would strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. These workers include teachers, sanitation workers and other municipal employees.
Though other public servants like police and firefighters have been exempted from some versions of these bills, they have attended protests in solidarity with the teachers.
In Wisconsin, some of the tactics used by controversial new governor Scott Walker mirror those used by dictators in the Middle East facing pro-democracy protests. I hesitate to make these comparisons, as the demonstrators in the Middle East face existential danger and often oppose well-entrenched, ruthless dictators. I don't think Governor Walker is a bloody dictator.
Some of his tactics are questionable though.
In Madison, on the capitol grounds, protesters have been unable to access one of their organizing websites for the past 24 hours. Though it is clear that previously this site was accessable, Governor Walker's administration claims that it is standard procedure for all 'new' sites to be screened before being made available to those using the internet on capitol grounds.
Walker has also made several defiant speeches in which he shows disdain for the will of his constituents. He also refused to acknowledge the protests as a genuine movement in his own state, attributing their numbers and success to 'outside influences'.
Other members of the government have found governor Walker's policies and behavior so offensive that they have left the state. Democratic State Senators in Indiana followed suit today.
Finally, Governor Scott Walker seems completely unable to compromise to come up with a solution, instead following what seems to have become an unfortunate GOP trademark: petulant, childish stubborness.
Next up, likely budget protests of a similar sort in Michigan and New Jersey.