So many ideas are individuated by rhetoric and pomp. Especially today there are lies upon lies, perpetrated by folks who have had, and continue to have power. In Wisconsin, we have the distinction of living for one hundred years with ideas based on idealism and true brotherhood. We are not focused on top-down decision making, making assumptions about what is “best” for them. Rather, we extend our own borders to interact with others. Service was not, for us,looking down upon less privileged peoples who were “oppressed” by their poverty, but to learn from intact communities and find paths to mutual benefit. The best teachers after all remain excellent students throughout their career. Socialist values and truly becoming our brother’s keeper demand loosening the bonds of class and privilege. Wisconsin knows this, in our bones. It is an awesome responsibility, this giving without burdening individuals and communities with another layer of exploitation and manipulation. We are a bottom up society, rooted deeply in a sense of respect for others, their innate abilities and ability to take us to a higher level. We, here in Wisconsin, have given the world such luminaries as Houdini, Liberace, The Wringling Brothers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Les Paul, Tom Blake, Seymour Cray, Eric Heiden, Thornton Wilder, Will Allen, Jeanne Dixon, Woody Herman, William Rehnquist, Orson Welles and Alfred Lunt among hundreds of others.
When the Wisconsin Idea was hatched, it was a time during which we all knew of the cut over. Within living memory, there was a time,when we lost most of our forest over a very short time, the dilapidated landscape spurred our imagination to create ways of reforestation, albeit without any education or experience with this sort of thing. Along the way, we have made mistakes and more importantly, learned from them. By taking hands, striving together to be our best, we have overcome many hurdles in the past and we will continue to do so throughout time!
For an idea to resonate across generations, each re-adoption of the idea has to re-anneal and hone the tool that has cut through so much of the bullshit we are fed by the ultra-wealthy who so often drive the ship of state. We the people of Wisconsin, decide such tings as how clean water has to be, we take that responsibility seriously. We were first in the nation to require efficient use of coal burning, rather than just building taller smoke stacks to improve local air quality. We found innovative ways to amass data on groundwater contamination. When contamination was detected in any well, neighboring wells would be tested free of the charge by the state. By this method, a “picture” could be made of the extent of the problem. This is an excellent example of what has been handed down with this idea. Where the state is concerned, helping the local citizens rather than mandating arbitrary plans is by far the better way to go.
We frequently come to decision points along our paths, The Wisconsin Idea starts within one’s own heart. It requires us only to consider that we are not separate and distinct from one another, but one family of organisms, each led by our own gifts, supported in our individuality, our culture and our unique attributes by friends who actually care. The biggest single complaint that is heard here is that bureaucrats have squandered our tax dollars. This is true, but here we prefer to do things for our selves, not pawn off too much responsibility to others, so, of course we would feel that any tax should come under suspicion. No amount of street cred comes from the government without the vital citizen input that guides sound policy. Wisconsin shall rise above the current crop of liars and cheats, just as we did 100 years ago, affirming the little guy, the person striving to achieve, not the well heeled investors who seek to exploit her or him. Born of necessity, this is one invention that truly has the power to serve the next seven generations!