It’s been more than 10 years since I took the pledge to never again vote for a Republican.  Oh, sure, there may be a worthy human being who stumbled in the GOP with good intentions, but I won’t vote for that person lest it somehow endorses the toxic agenda of that party that is beyond retrieval.  I like to say, “I wouldn’t vote for Martin Luther King Jr. , Mother Teresa or Jesus Christ if their names were on the ballot and there was an ‘R’ after their names.”

I grew up in a family of Republicans — but the Republican Party, back then,  had not been taken over entirely by the religious right, gun nuts, Wall Street and tea party extremists.

I had stopped voting for Republicans long before that disastrous 2000 election where George W. Bush slipped into the presidency through chicanery.  Long before that, I had concluded that Republican is just another word for selfishness.    

Republicans have been noticeably absent when one looks at national social and economic justice legislation.  It is hard to name anything in the 20th or 21st century that Republicans brought about to help average Americans. Instead they have been obstacles.  Their open threats now to dismantle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are sure signs that they would take America back to the days of the robber barons.

With each passing year, I am amazed how shameless Republicans are in their thinking and actions  — driven always by the mantra to make the wealthy still wealthier because, they reason, even the impoverished lunkheads long and hope to have the luck to get into that fraternity of the upper 2 percent.

Now, I have always thought states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, Massachusetts and even my home state of Iowa possessed enough educated people — with strong Northern European progressivism — to  block Republicans’ unending quest to undo social legislation.  We see how Wisconsin, of all places,  has been hijacked by Republicans.  Their new governor, Scott Walker, has set off a firestorm understandingly by announcing he is going after unions to cut workers’ rights to carry out collective bargaining to handle the state’s budget crisis.  May the protests under way there mirror the demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt, in the past weeks.  Walker has the audacity to threaten to use the National Guard to complete his goals.    Unions have been  instrumental in taking this country back to the people from greedy corporations and tight-wad leaders in the public sector.

The right-wing’s agenda to bust unions, of course, has one key goal: Destroy a major traditional source of support for the Democratic Party — labor unions.   Republicans simply cannot recognize that unions and collective bargaining have  bettered the lives of hundreds of milions of Americans.  Stingy corporations and tight-fisted public sector governing leaders would have never acted to give rights and better wages to workers without the threat of strikes and shutdowns.  Imagine mine workers without collective bargaining. 

These are sea change times in Madison, Wis.   Citizens of the state must live up to the the feisty, unyielding  temperament of their namesake badger mascot and stand up to Walker and his gang.  Americans need to wake up to the Republican agenda with the singular goal of benefitting the wealthy and continue the trend that makes this nation stand out  for the gulf between rich and poor.