As I See It
Cheese bill doesn’t teach kids how political process really works
On its surface, the effort seems to be to give chesse some much-needed love in Wisconsin. A group of elementary students are asking Wisconsin legislators to declare cheese Wisconsin’s official dairy product. It is not so much that they love cheese, but want to get a first-hand look at how laws are made in Wisconsin. But if these inquiring students really want to get a look at how politics works at the state level in Wisconsin, they would have to peel many layers of this onion. The students should know that whatever party is in charge in Madison controls what legislation can even be debated. They should see how the lobbyists grease the palms of the politicians so they can get their pet project passed. They should witness how political boundaries are gerrymandered so that only the chosen few can get elected. They should witness the deals that are made behind closed doors, and the repeated efforts to keep the public in the dark about it. The students should see how arcane procedural rules can keep people from testifying about the proposal. Unlike most bills, the effort to declare cheese the official dairy product has bipartisan support. It requires just a rubber stamp from the legislature. But if these students think making a law is simply as easy as asking your legislator do introduce it, and give it a fair debate on its merits, they are not getting much of an education about our political process.