Monday, June 4, 2012

Tom Barrett, the Selfless Politician

You're walking home from an event with your family, and suddenly you hear a woman yelling, and you see the woman and a young man arguing fiercely. Instead of ignoring the woman's cries for help, you tell your family to stay back and you approach the man.

How many people do you know that would stop to confront the man?

You try to calm the man down, but his anger intensifies, and now he's directing it at you in the form of a gun. At this point, you realize the most prudent course of action is to call the police. But as soon as you reach for your cell phone, the man punches you in the stomach and begins beating you with a pipe.

This is quite a selfless act to help a stranger under physical threat. Of course, you're sacrificing your time. You have to stop your conversation with your family and delay your arrival home. For some people, that isn't an option they'd entertain, considering it a waste of time.

You're also sacrificing your security by intervening in the situation. The man is clearly enraged, and you know nothing about him or what he might be carrying. Your family, though at a distance, is also under more risk. You don't find out until it's too late that the man is carrying a gun and a pipe.

Now, how many politicians do you know that would stop to confront the man?

Tom Barrett did just that outside of the State Fair in 2009. Barrett ended up lying in a pool of his own blood. He suffered several lacerations on his head requiring reconstructive surgery, broken teeth, and a broken hand with permanent damage. The gruesome photos are easily found through the Google. Tom Barrett sacrificed himself to help a woman he didn't know, and he saved her.

There are several politicians who I highly regard, but who I don't believe are selfless enough to confront the man.

Why does this matter? Because it tells you something about a person that is very difficult if not impossible to get from words. Tom Barrett cares about other people. Really cares about other people. He is willing to sacrifice himself and things he cares about in order to help a stranger in trouble. Though this doesn't translate directly into policy, it shows what Barrett cares about at his core and that he truly believes one life isn't more important than another. When Barrett makes critical decisions, we know he isn't considering just his interests. Few times is such clear evidence about a person available.

Would Scott Walker, who ran through underground tunnels during the nonviolent protests last year, sacrifice himself and potentially his family to save a woman? Non-hypothetically, do we know that Walker considers interests besides his own when he makes critical decisions?

Wisconsin is in better hands with Tom Barrett than Scott Walker.

Vote for your economic interests and your neighbors'. Vote for Tom Barrett tomorrow June 5th.

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