One of the biggest stories of the year was Gov. Scott Walker's victory in the June recall election. He celebrated afterward at the Waukesha County Exposition Center in Waukesha.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: As a former educator of 38 years, and a current tutor of first-graders, the events in Connecticut, Colorado, New York and elsewhere sadden and sicken me like everyone in the nation and the world. They make me even more certain that we need to do something about guns. However, I'm inclined to think that an equally relevant issue is the total inability of the elected members of our Congress to do anything at all to solve the problems of our nation. I keep reading and hearing that we all like our congressman, but dislike Congress. I like the word "compromise," and am very tired of "fiscal cliff" and "kick the can down the road." Happy New Year? I sure hope so.
TRAGIC EVENT: The re-election of our governor was indeed a milestone. The presidential election was just an election. The tragedy in Newtow was beyond comprehension. I think of our 5-year-old and am glad he is still with us. I think of the police who had to go in and face that horror, and the parents who had to stand outside and come to grips with their terror. What can really be more tragic to face right before the holidays?
LOCAL IMPACT: The recall of Gov. Scott Walker. I chose this one as it hit all Wisconsinites directly. Everyone had an opinion, and you did not have to go far to have someone disagree with you. The rest of the nation was watching as it was a major turning point for all of Wisconsin, and many other states in similar situations. Whether you agree or not, there was a heated discussion on the way. This is still a topic that is not discussed as easily, if at all, as are other topics around the campfire, card table, water cooler or anywhere else a lively political discussion can usually be found. There are so many big stories to choose from, but this one hit home.
SCHOOL SECURITY: The story with the biggest personal impact was the Newtown shooting. I can't imagine what that horror was like for those families who lost their innocent children. These children hadn't even reached the age of reason. Those children who survived the shootings will be scarred for the rest of their lives. There's been talk of security guards at schools. I received an idea through email a few days ago that I fully agree with. It would be a lot cheaper than paying for guards and just as effective. Most schools already have an entryway. All they need to do is put in bulletproof glass and a second locking door. The outside door locks behind you so you cannot leave. A metal detector would automatically alert the police to a possible shooter. If no metal is detected, the office staff presses an unlock button to allow entry. Simple, yet effective.
POWER BROKER: The re-election of Barack Obama. As far as human activity goes, Obama's re-election means that he will likely be the most influential person in the world for the next four years. But why do I think that this election (as opposed to others) is the biggest story? Because despite the lack of progress on so many fronts under Obama's first four years, the American people still gave him another chance. The big shifts, demographics and the globalization of information, technology, employment and ideas finally combined, as predicted by social scientists, to produce a coalition of groups that ended the traditional patterns of voting. The previous patterns are gone forever. We are all swimming in the same current whether we know it or not and we should, individually and together, recognize it and act accordingly for the benefit of our future and the future of generations to come.
SHIFTING LEFT: The presidential election was, in my opinion, the biggest story. It continues to show what has happened to our country from a moral, a constitutional and a fiscal standpoint. With the re-election of President Barack Obama, we will continue our slide farther from our moral center. Our constitutional rights will continue to be disregarded by the left and this administration and they will look to make a mockery of what the country and our founding fathers stood for and built in the first 200 years of this nation. The fiscal cliff will be reached and we'll go over it, but not because the Republicans didn't offer any alternatives but because the Democrats won't concede on anything that deals with reducing the debt and our ever-expanding entitlements from cell phone giveaways to Social Security checks still going out to the deceased. A bigger government is not the answer.
Terrance P. Buck,
Town of Menasha
NICE SURPRISE: Without a doubt, the biggest story of 2012 (and the last quarter of 2011) was the 2012 presidential election. The miracle of the 47 percenters! The Republicans started debating last September, and it all finished in November of this year. It was the biggest story because despite the billions of dollars spent to win this election by the Republicans, the little people (the 47 percenters and others) decided the outcome without the benefit of large donors. It was a miracle. I personally had waved the white flag of surrender last May and was truly surprised when the Democrats won.
Town of Menasha
MIXED MESSAGE: Wisconsin is a conundrum. It re-elected a socialist president, defeated a socialist union recall of a Republican governor, then sent a new socialist Democrat to the Senate. How can you make sense of that? The whole election process has been one story after another this year in Wisconsin. I think they have all been big - mostly big mistakes.
PARTY POLITICS: The biggest story of 2012 is the re-election of President Barack Obama, even though it was predictable and not in a sense "news." It is big in that it will greatly affect the country's future in the selection of Supreme Court justices and other federal judges during the next four years. Big in the affect on social policies for years to come. Big in the disrespect of the public by both major parties in the use of misinformation to mislead, thereby lowering the ethics of society in general. Big in maybe making the Republican Party aware of parts of its platform that alienated even traditional Republicans, and in its inability to nominate a potentially electable candidate. Big in that the 2020 Decade in Review reporters will marvel at the Republican stratagists inability to unseat Obama in 2012 based on the results of his first four years.