The year was 2010, and the loss of Senator Russ Feingold signaled the ringing in of a dark winter in Wisconsin.
Such unexpected events should not happen to a protagonist: two decades of dynamic service working across party lines, the lone public servant in the realm to vote against the Patriot Act -- axed by a twit that looked feeble and outmatched in every debate.
Dividing the state, the fall of Feingold the Brave introduced a rising tension as Scott Walker, the man-boy king, sought to rule over the territories on platforms unprecedented and dastardly. To strengthen his grip on the throne, he aimed to break open an uneven election field by dismantling the one pocket of institutions that tended to lean against his favor: The Unions.
These organized workers, while perhaps unkempt or misguided by shear self-preservation, were the backbone of the middle-class. They had a right to form alliances, a right to exist, and with their backs to the wall, they defiantly started a vocal movement that stirred the capital. For months, citizens from Iron County in the north and Price County directly south traveled to Madison in their free moments to be heard through the cold winds of Wisconsin.
Protecting the realm of man, these activists sent boots on the ground, earning the forces required (over one million signatures) to call for Walker's head. As a recall election approached, a chorus of whisperers in Walker's corner funneled funds from beyond the walls of Wisconsin.
Mayor Tom Barrettheon made a strong play for his rightful heir as governor, but ultimately fell to outspending tactics the likes never seen. Walker staved off upheaval, raining down a wildfire of cash on local media outlets, with nearly 90 percent of funding from outside Wisconsin.
Few have forgotten those miserable times; the only silver lining was the introduction of John Lehman, of Harrenhall, positioned in the state senate to keep Walker's power at bay.
For 15 months Wisconsinites protested, canvassed, called their representatives -- they had lost their warrior poet in Feingold, the crown stayed with Walker, and soon revered veteran Herb Kohl would leave his senate post, likely to be replaced by an amicable foe whose mind had rotted.
Just when they thought they had no reinforcements left, ravens brought news of the republican's selection for a new Hand of the POTUS. The people of Wisconsin reinvigorated their base to contest hometown hero Paul Ryan, master of imaginary numbers, for the sake of the entire realm. It was an honest victory, won with a grassroots organizing force strong enough to send the noble Tammy Baldwin to senate. Tammy, the first openly gay senator, and her replacement Mark Pocan, the first back-to-back LGBT congressman, offered a moment of progressive revelry and hope for the fickle battleground state.
A storm is coming in 2014, as Walker's throne is up for grabs yet again. The Democrats have a 72 county strategy, dedicated to enlisting help from every corner of Wisconsin, from the metropolis of Milwaukee, to John Nolan's landing in Madison and beyond The Wall of Highway 29. It will be an unlikely, hard-fought battle -- but a just cause.
The loss of Ned Stark, err, Russ Feingold, sent shockwaves across the realm. Many hope that same hero will not shirk his duty, or a new champion will need to surface. Perhaps Ron Kind of the West, or Jon Erpenbach, the firebrand of Madison, can reignite the base and attract new volunteers to defend the state.
11.04.2014. Winter is coming.