Late on Monday it was announced that the Government Accountability Board will not be putting the signatures of those who signed petitions to recall Governor Scott Walker on their website until privacy concerns are addressed.
There are those who will try to turn this matter of making the names public into a partisan matter. But at the end of the day it is not a Republican vs. Democratic issue. If people try to do this, regardless of party, they should be labeled as mere fans of partisanship. The reason I say this so strongly is that there is a larger issue to be considered that rises above politics when it comes to the names of the petition signers.
At the end of the day the need for the names of those who petitioned their government to proceed with a recall of an elected official to be made public is to preserve an open and clean government.
I feel that when one lobbies in any fashion for the government to take an action that should be public knowledge. Consider the opposite route.
The consequences of using clout and money to lobby in private runs counter to the larger openness that our government should strive to maintain. If one follows this train of thought then it is only logical that the same holds true for the individual who signs a petition concerning a heated issue such as the recall of a sitting governor.
This really should not become a conservative vs. liberal issue in our state. It would be sad if it does as it means we are even more partisan than I fear we have become.
I would hope that we all could rise to an understanding why a strict adherence to higher ideals about the need for openness when petitioning the government should be observed. This seems to me one of those foundational cornerstones that makes our democracy credible.
If one can not stand in the light of day to their convictions that they petition the government about, then perhaps there is a problem with the position that they are privately taking. That should be the model of our convictions today. I am proud to have signed the petition and care not if it is printed in the press, or seen in the public square.
I understand that there are those who have made threats and are using office rumors to perhaps intimidate petition signers in the work place. If there are threats made they should be reported to the authorities. (And the media.)
But the higher ideals of our state and the political process can not be made hostage to the fears of retaliation. If that had been the case at the beginning of our national story Thomas Jefferson would never have set quill to parchment.
Would it not be great if in the face of this most partisan of moments in Wisconsin we all could recognize a higher calling and agree on one thing.
Let it be the need to strive to keep our government open and transparent, and therefore insure that the petition signers names are made public.