The evolution of a Waukesha County liberal blogger

As a neurotic over-thinker with slightly masochistic tendencies, I like to keep myself in line by regularly questioning everything I do. So I had to ask myself why my blog posts of late have seemed…different. Luckily, I’ve received both solicited and unsolicited feedback from left and right-leaning bloggers alike about the change in my writing, which pushed my self-flagellation into overdrive and helped me figure out the cause. It’s all about the political evolution of Waukesha County over the past year.

Last April, in all honesty, I really disliked Waukesha County. It felt to me as though most people over here had no problem with the lack of integrity in our electoral process, that they didn’t hesitate to attack teachers and state workers, and that they showed little empathy or compassion toward others.

At the time, when I started my blog, Waukesha Wonk, it was mostly as a way for me to vent my frustrations over feeling like I was all alone with my observations and concerns. I didn’t think many people would actually read it.

But they did.

Soon I had all kinds of vicious hate mail and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake “coming out” with my liberal viewpoints in this conservative area. I was scared for my safety, and every week I questioned whether I should just shutter the blog and resume life as normal because it would just be easier that way, and my house would be a lot cleaner with the extra time I’d have.

But then something unexpected happened.

I began to receive comments and emails from people here in Waukesha who agreed with my viewpoints, thanked me for speaking up, and invited me to events. I learned that I was not the only progressive here nor the only one putting myself out there publicly. There were liberals meeting regularly at the Labor Temple, as they had been for years. There were progressives meeting in Oconomowoc, right down the street from my family’s house.

As my social-political network grew, so did my confidence, and I realized it was ridiculous to be afraid of those who didn’t think like me. What were they going to do, shoot me?

Well, maybe. But living life in fear rather than living life out loud was not okay.

As my blog posts were shared by the “real” media and more people “discovered” me, the swords came out. David Blaska said unpleasant things about me in The Isthmus, James Wigderson took swipes at me in his column, and Mark Belling said mean things about me on his radio show. All of these things were traumatic…but I survived.

In November, Phil Scarr and I established the first-ever official chapter of Drinking Liberally Waukesha. More than fifty people showed up and as the months wore on, it was obvious that this was no fluke. In fact, there were so many of us that we needed to move into a much larger space, and we ventured into Brookfield. Over 100 people showed up on Monday, February 20th, without incident.

The novelty of “Waukesha liberal” has slowly worn off. People no longer gasp or choke when I tell them I’m a progressive blogger in Waukesha. I don’t hear, “I thought I was the only Waukesha liberal!” nearly as often lately.

This has become the new normal. It is now more acceptable not only for liberals to exist in Waukesha County, but for us to talk openly about our viewpoints.

My blogging and Drinking Liberally Waukesha are only a very tiny part of this evolution, of course. It’s been a collaborative effort to create change, to build a larger community where liberals and progressives feel comfortable being wholly themselves.

And that’s why my writing has changed.

It’s not because I’ve recently become a Democrat first and a writer second, as some have suggested (something I, myself, have questioned). It’s not because I’m trying to work with the Democratic party of Wisconsin rather than against it, and have therefore somehow become less “grassroots” (really, we are all grassroots).

My writing has changed because I no longer have that fierce urgency to be heard, I’m not as angry, and I do not feel isolated and alone over here. My priorities have shifted away from getting my viewpoints out there, and toward fostering the community I’ve helped worked so hard to build over the last year here in Waukesha.

Obviously, we’ve got a lot more work to do, and I’m not going to quit blogging. But I’m also not afraid to evolve.

Evolution is progress.


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11 thoughts on “The evolution of a Waukesha County liberal blogger

  1. This is wonderful!

    It’s a great demonstration of a) the power of a committed individual and b) that fact that, no matter the the location, liberals/progressives are not as alone and isolated as they might think.

    Thanks, WW!

  2. Lisa,

    It’s appalling that people feel afraid because of their political views. It doesn’t say much for Waukesha County conservatives that you did.

    Maybe Wiggy, Belling, Blaska and their ilk should spend less time smearing people like you and more time policing the thuggery in their own crowd.

    The fear you’re talking about is an ongoing strategy of the conservative movement. People like Limbaugh, Beck, Michael Savage, etc, spew the most vicious horseshit imaginable all day long, Sykes, Belling, Binversie, et. al. repeat it, and no elected republican ever calls them out. Never.

    What a pack of no good, stinkin’ cowards, one and all.

  3. Lisa, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m always fascinated to hear folks share their stories about their political evolution, and this was definitely worth reading!

  4. Regarding Progressives, the mega wealthy progressive Rahm Emanuel (Progressive/Marxist/Communist/Socialist/Fabian/Democrat) did say he would like to see every young American conscripted into the military (government employment). Conscription means to be drafted/forced. The motives have nothing to do with American patriotism towards defending either the Declaration Of Independence nor the Constitution Of The United States but everything to do with athoritarian power in the hands of a tyrannical government as is the case in all Communist countries where the military and media are used to control the masses.

    Just because contemporary Progressives/Marxists live in the U.S. is no reason to believe that their politics are unrelated to North Korean politics or any other Communists countries politics. It’s a small world and they are all friends scratching each others backs in spite of the fact that there is no honor among thieves but stupid is as stupid does.

    Can any of you white liberal Marxist (Progressive) Democrats offer one good reason why you neurotically protect your comfy life styles and security for now and for the future?

    If you can’t stand Waukesha’s conservative and libertarian politics then single handedly by all means reverse the pattern of liberal white flight from the dangerous inner city areas of Milwaukee and move yourself into anyone of those area’s more suited to your Marxist/Democrat brand of politics. After all; If your gonna talk the talk then why not walk the walk; What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,…and all that stuff. According to Progressive Marxist doctrine everyone is supposed to not have more then the other guy – equality (unless of course your a bureaucrat or member of the media in that system).

    Keep your guilt trips and quit pretending your a humanitarian due to the obvious fact that making personal sacrifice’s for the sake of others is not in your agenda/budget.

    As a member of the benevolent democrat socialist party have you personally bought with your own money a health insurance policy for some poor family at anytime during the last 3 years?

    1. Marxism is not the same thing as progressivism, though I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand the difference.

      Go spew your Fox News/tea party talking points somewhere else.

  5. Whoaa
    What happened to all the liberal Democrat tolerance for diversity of opinions? I thought tolerance was an exersize in self control. Apparently not.

    It sure wasn’t present last spring in Madison either. What happened there in Madison was hardly peacable assemblies especially in light of the threats of violence made by union members of Wisconsin and the union members brought in by Obama and Trunka. None of those images of chaos nor the sound bites of physical threats made against Rebublican legislators and against Republican supporters are going to magically be forgotten and neither will the issue of Doctors writing fake excuses, by the way. You can’t scrub the video’s from the internet!

    No way can you defend Trunka’s utter disregard for secrete ballots which of course means he has a perverted idea of democracy.

    Try wrapping your heads around the following political history lesson video produced by a woman. It will shed a lot of light on your politics. It’s 1-1/2 hrs long.



    1. “What happened there in Madison was hardly peacable assemblies”

      Were you there? I was, and the assemblies were in fact very peaceable, especially considering the size of the crowds involved.

  6. It is good to see that the progressives have made some in road in Waukesha. I was born and raised there for 28 years. I moved to the East and now realize how many people live in a bubble out there. I have been in NJ for 30 years and heard just about everything. I still do post to some in Waukesha but I realize how out of touch many there still are.

    It is refreshing to see some still question and can think …outside that bubble. We here in NJ have followed you closely on Walker and his partners, the Koch Bros. We see what is at stake.

    Keep posting and good luck to all of you.

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