Friday, March 4, 2011

Responsibility and Consequences

With freedom, a cherished American value, comes a commensurate amount of responsibility. Here in Wisconsin, we have free access to our capital building. We can take our children and guests and simply wander around, looking at the beautiful walls, ceilings, floors and artwork. We can pay homage to the fallen at various memorials or simply wonder at the attention to detail and craftsmanship in every aspect of this wonderful building.

With that freedom comes the responsibility to behave in a way that respects those memorials, the work of the craftsmen/women and the investment of the taxpayers of Wisconsin in this building. The capital building is the public face of the government of the state of Wisconsin. Just as we would treat the homes of people we visit with respect, so we are obligated to treat the people's house with respect.

If I were to visit a friend, it would not be appropriate to tape signs on the walls of that friend's house or to cause any sort of damage. If I were to cause damage accidentally, I would have an obligation to pay for it. (Or at the very least to offer to pay for any damages.)That is a minimal requirement of civilized behavior.

Now we have an estimate of the damages done by the protesters during this 3 week long and holding protest. And the damages are.....Approximately 7.5 million dollars from those "peaceful" and "clean" protesters.

According to several news reports, while some signs were put up with painter's tape to minimize any impact, many were not. The damage that tape is causing/has caused to the marble inside the capital building is going to cost around 6 million dollars to repair. The other 1.5 million? That would be for restoring the capital grounds outside the building.

I call on those who taped signs anywhere in the capital to come forward and offer to pay for these damages. If you were sent there by an organization of any sort, kindly provide the state's attorney general with the name and contact information for that group and the approximate number of signs put up by your group so that we may send a bill for your/your group's portion of this expense.

Speech is free. Vandalism, even unintentional vandalism, is not.

So, perhaps while union leaders are colluding with their favorite democratic legislators to circumvent the budget repair bill by quickly re-negotiating contracts before those AWOL senators return, they should take some time to behave in a civilized manner and offer to pay for the damages their people have caused.

Because, just in case you haven't heard, the taxpayers of Wisconsin are still broke.

"And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.

Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts." ~ 2Chron 19:6-7

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