Friday, September 21, 2018

the last book I ever read (Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein, excerpt eleven)

from Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein:

Today is June 5, the day on which Wisconsin voters are deciding whether Scott Walker will become the third governor in U.S. history to be ejected from office through a recall election. The mass protests at Capitol Square have billowed into a crusade by Walker’s opponents to pry him from the statehouse, matched by a counter-crusade to keep him in office. The recall fight is venomous, backed by twice as much campaign spending as any Wisconsin election ever before. It is white-hot. It is in the glare of national news. And on Milton Avenue, it is prompting drivers, as they come to Route 14, to honk or jeer at campaign signs that partisans are waving on opposite corners of the intersection.

The governor has had his troubles in Janesville, which is still, in spirit if no longer as much in fact, a union town. Last winter, a manufacturing association that supports him began to erect billboards around the state that said, “Governor Scott Walker—Creating Jobs for Wisconsin.” The signs listed the phone number to the governor’s office so that citizens could call to thank him. Somehow, no one realized that it might be awkward to place the first of these billboards directly across from the silent General Motors assembly plant. The sign immediately became a laughingstock in town. It was soon gone.

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