Divided, but still united

ARE WE REALLY THAT sharply — and evenly — divided in the state of Wisconsin?

The great political divide apparently manifested itself again last week in a close call race for a seat on the state Supreme Court, with incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger Joanne Kloppenburg trading the lead back and forth on Election Day and in the days that followed before the discovery of some 9,000 or so uncounted votes from the city of Brookfield in Waukesha County apparently finally tipped the balance in favor of Prosser.

The final margin of victory, just over one-half a percentage point out of nearly 1.5 million total votes cast, is probably as accurate a reflection as possible of the current divided state of Wisconsin politics.

Difficult economic times and the harsh realities of trying to balance a state budget that has been constantly out of balance — and out of whack — for several decades, under leadership from both parties, have really stirred the political pot in the Badger state.

Protests; demonstrations; recalls; issue ads on radio, television and in newspapers; radio talk show debate and rhetoric; and so much more have become part of everyday life in Wisconsin, it seems.

Deep divisions like these, however, are nothing new in Wisconsin or in this nation. Ours is a long history of division and debate over numerous issues, large or small — and today’s debates are no different.

We will continue to air our differences and argue our points with conviction and passion. That is what has made — and continues to make — this country great, that we are allowed to have differing viewpoints, debate them openly and civilly, and eventually come to a resolution on a particular issue and move on to the next.

The world and history are replete with examples of nations and societies where such civil discourse — with the emphasis on civil — has not been possible, where differences as sharp as many among us here in Wisconsin have led to violence, bloodshed and chaos.

Here, we have called each other names at times, have flung accusations and allegations back and forth, and have seemingly come to the brink of violent confrontation.

That it hasn’t devolved into that is a tribute to the things that we all have in common — a deep love of state and nation and an honest desire to see that what it best for all is what is done. Even when we can’t agree on what that is. At issue: Something or other Bottom line: Do something about it

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