• wisdom

Five years ago, most of us were retired teachers, enjoying our retirement with grandchildren, gardening and other pursuits. Then February 2011 changed everything. We became politically active and began to write.

At the end of 2015 we are still active and still writing. We have connected with many other progressives throughout our beloved state of Wisconsin. We will win because we must.

What keeps us going? For one thing, history does. Read the article in this issue about President John Adams and his Patriot Act. Another thing are the speeches given by Wisconsin State Senators at their retirement in 2014.

Republican Senator Dale Schultz said, “We came because we care. I ran for public office because I felt called.”

Democratic Senator Tim Cullen said, “We’re on this earth to help others. We should lift up ideas, not ideology. Ideology stifles thought.”

Democratic Senator Bob Jauch said, “We are the caretakers of the public trust. We serve in the people’s place. Our history is not written on partisanship, but on partnership. Politics ought to be the practice of solving problems.”

Senator Schultz expanded on the idea of ‘who the real enemy is’ in a Wisconsin State Journal story:

“Here’s how I see the enemy. The enemy is poverty in a country and a state that has no business having kids and families go to sleep hungry at night or in their cars.”

“The enemy is unemployment and underemployment, because nobody asked an employer advertising a good job if they were R or Ds. They were just thankful to get a job that gave them worth and put food on the table.”

“The enemy is those who encourage an under educated citizenry. Education is the key to helping give people a hand up and a better future.”

“The most dangerous enemy of all…is the enemy closest to us. It lives with us and within us. The real enemy is fear. We fear what we do not understand. We fear those who are different. We fear losing what we have.”

“When we take away our masks, and face each other…without judgment, fear of loss or recrimination, then we can begin to listen, we can begin to talk, and then we can begin to build a better future.”

As we look forward to 2016, let us continue to stand together and look fear in the face. Then we can face each other, begin to listen and talk and build a better future.