Dear Editor,

Last year Wisconsin was in the top 10 of states losing the most population, something not mentioned during the election campaigns. Also not discussed were how Walker’s “reforms” were engineered by largely shutting out public/citizen input and participation in legislative deliberations, contrary to Wisconsin’s long history.

Midnight deals, hurried through the Republican-controlled legislature, barred the public from full knowledge of what was being passed, let alone having a chance to influence it. Decades of tradition were bypassed for pure power. Why did Republican legislators so blatantly avoid public input? Was it sort of a “our minds are made up, don’t confuse us with facts,” or maybe because they understood the unpopularity of their proposals but were going to pass them anyway? Not barred from participation were the moneyed lobbyists and other high powered interests setting the table. But then, if you know what is best for everyone because of your “principles,” it must be OK, right? Maybe it’s best to come to one’s senses and just accept that those who know best are destroying democracy for our own good.

If ongoing minority rule, against the wishes of the majority electorate, signals an end to democracy, then Wisconsin is almost there. The Republican legislative “majority” lost the popular vote, 54 to 46 percent, yet Republicans control the Assembly 63 to 36 seats due to a highly-sophisticated program of gerrymandering.

So now, in another midnight session, the lame duck Republican legislature hurriedly bypasses the voting public again, using its power to pass laws curtailing the ability of the newly elected governor to exercise the same powers that his predecessor had, transferring them to the legislature. Is this an abuse of power? By any past standard, yes. One of the justifications, according to the majority leader, is to not allow too much power in the governor’s office, which of course was no problem during Walker’s tenure, as it was almost constantly on display.

And what happens when extremely frustrated, productive and patriotic law abiding citizens peacefully protest their objections to minority rule and abuse of power, their most radical actions being to question, objecting in loud tones, and uncomplimentary placards? The President and Republican leaders call them “a left wing mob.” Just think of it, though, according to the President, they could instead be “some very fine people” if they were in the company of “patriots” bearing tiki torches, AR-15’s and giving Nazi salutes.

The Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin has the word “forward” on it. There seems to be some difficulty these days determining what is forward and what is backward.

 

David Larson

Marinette