Republican Extremism Not Recent Phenomenon
I’m often asked why so many people don’t challenge what is being said by Republicans, especially Donald Trump. I try to make sense of it, and I think it has a lot to do with what has been happening the last fifty plus years in the Republican Party.
Author David Corn’s recent book, American Psychosis, An Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy, traces Republican extremism, beginning with McCarthyism up to its current form — Trumpism. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s impact is still with us. His picture is displayed above the jury box in the Shawano County Court House. Why?
From 1950-54, McCarthy lead a witch hunt to root out alleged communists in the US government, Hollywood and elsewhere. Most of those he accused had nothing to do with the Communist Party, yet they were still blacklisted and/or lost their jobs.
The John Birch Society picked up where McCarthy left off. They even accused President Dwight D. Eisenhower, of being a Communist.
More recently, we have had the Tea Party, which falsely repeated over and over that President Obama was not born in the United States, that he was a Kenyan nationalist seeking to take over the government with socialism. Now we have Qanon with its unexplainable conspiracy theories.
Our nation is struggling to hold onto its democracy. In the past, the two major opposing political parties worked cooperatively. Today, it has become a money-fueled winner take all power struggle. Republicans make assertions that Democrats want to destroy our country. Democrats say Republicans are actually doing it: with stacked courts that render blatantly partisan decisions, and legislatures that seek to suppress the vote, even intent on controlling the voting process itself and the final outcome as well.
History has shown us that some people can and will say and do anything for power. History will also show that the elections next month can and will determine America’s future based on who we choose: whether it be a renewed effort to maintain our democracy, or acceptance of a radical right wing shift towards an authoritarian takeover by people who will not accept election results unless they win.
We need to vote wisely for our future and that of our families. That is, if we want to remain the United States of America. As Abraham Lincoln cautioned during a similar time of great peril: “a house divided cannot stand.”
This is the current letter to the Editor which was distributed to the local area media by the Shawano County Democrats.
Have Some Faith in Our Leaders
Throughout history presidents have always been blamed for problems with the United States economy. Now is no exception.
Since the beginning of the pandemic we stayed home more and didn’t use as much gasoline. Now people are driving more so demand for gasoline has increased. Add to that the shortages because of the war in Ukraine and you get higher prices. To blame President Biden is not fair.
Exon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP have added to the problem. In the last quarter they limited supply and racked in $25 billion in profits, which is the highest income level in 7 years. Maybe they should help to stabilize prices.
Also happening with the COVID-19 outbreak was the interruption of goods production. Many workers got sick and missed work. This happened just as we were buying more products for home thus putting a strain on the worldwide supply chain.
Certain corporations have made the situation worse. Starbucks’s profits soared 352%. In 2021 Netflix doubled profits and UPS had a record-breaking year. Amazon made $35 billion and McDonald’s had $23 billion in revenues. Corporate profit margins are now at a 70-year high. They have profited at our expense.
All this corporate greed has led to increased prices. Consumers have found themselves having less purchasing power even though wages are on the rise. This dilemma is called “inflation”, a word Republicans have been using as they blame President Biden for consumer price hikes.
What is being ignored are the indicators that show the economy actually slowly rebounding from the effects of the pandemic. The national economy is seen as growing at 4%, a rate not seen since the Reagan administration. 6.6 million new jobs have been created in 2021. As hiring increases, President Biden is on track to have unemployment rates like the 1950’s.
Even Wisconsin is making progress. The unemployment rate is 2.8%, the lowest in Wisconsin’s history. Governor’s Evers’ investments in small businesses has paid off.
Our state has accumulated a projected budget surplus of historic proportions. His plan is to return a portion of the money to working families to help them fight rising costs.
We need to stop pointing fingers and have patience as cope with the higher prices. The price of gas, groceries and goods will come down when supplies stabilize. Have some faith in our leaders.
UNITED STATES SENATE CANDIDATES
Now there are six candidates vying for the chance to defeat Ron Johnson in the November, 2022 election. In addition to Tom Nelson, Alex Lowry, Sarah Godlewski and Gillian Battino, the following candidates have announced their candidacy.
State Senator Chris Larson wants to unrig the system in addition to stopping the fascism that has been taking over America. He believes in affordable child care, paid family leave and access to healthcare for all. He will Zoom with us at our July 21st meeting. https://voteforlarson.org/
Steve Olikara is the founder and former CEO of the Millennial Action Project which trains young elected officials to build diverse coalitions for real change. He wants to lead with the values of dignity, inclusion and compassion. You can find out more at https://www.stevenolikara.com/.
Below is a Letter to the Editor published in the Shawano Leader.
AMERICANS BEHIND IN FIXING INFRASTRUCTURE
After decades of disinvestment, our roads, bridges, and water systems are crumbling. Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack affordable, high-speed Internet and quality housing. It’s embarrassing that the greatest nation in the world is ranked 13th in the overall quality of infrastructure according to a study in 2019.
Government officials from both parties have been promising for years how they will move forward with an infrastructure plan. Former President Trump announced two different infrastructure weeks that never happened. Governor Evers promised if elected he would fix “the damn roads”. Finally, we have a president and a governor who are working on infrastructure at the same time.
Evers’ Badger Bounceback agenda shows his commitment to fixing the 1,949 miles of crumbling roads as well as the 198 bridges which are in poor condition in Wisconsin. His 2021-23 budget brings the state’s investment in transportation aid for local roads to its highest level ever.
Infrastructure telecommunications include internet connectivity and broadband access. Every Wisconsinite should be able to access and afford internet. Evers’ would like to invest five times the amount invested in the 2013, 2015, and 2017 budgets combined making internet services affordable to all income levels.
President Biden is also committed to improving our infrastructure. Biden’s American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs and rebuild our country’s infrastructure.
The American Jobs Plan will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race in the late 1960’s. The past year has led to job losses and threatened economic security. Our nation is falling behind its biggest competitors on research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and training. It has never been more important for us to invest in strengthening our infrastructure and competitiveness, and in creating good-paying jobs of the future.
In a Monmouth University Poll survey sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults supported the president’s infrastructure package dealing with physical needs including road, bridge and tunnel upkeep, as well as broadband internet expansion and electric vehicle investments.
Hopefully our elected officials can support the people, compromise, and come up with infrastructure plans that improve life for all Americans.
UNITED STATES SENATE CANDIDATES
So far there are four candidates vying for the chance to defeat Ron Johnson in the November, 2022 election.
Sarah Godlewski will be speaking at our May 19th meeting. She is a small business woman and our State Treasurer. She is running to fix Ron Johnson’s mess and get Washington laser-focused on the kitchen table issues facing Wisconsin families. www.sarahforwisconsin.com.
Tom Nelson has been the Outagamie County Executive since 2011. He previously spent six years in the Wisconsin Assembly. He believes we need real leaders in Washington who will take COVID seriously. www.nelsonforwi.com
Alex Lasry is a businessman and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. He served in the Obama White House. Alex is running to bring a new way of thinking to Washington and deliver real results for Wisconsinites. www.alexlasry.com
Gillian Battino is a radiologist from Wausau. She spent more than 20 years in medicine and public service. She wants to use her empathy to build a brighter future for all of Wisconsin. www.battinoforsenate.us
March Meeting Reminder
Wed., March 17th
Zoom link below
Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause
Jay will speak about the voter suppression measures being introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature and about the fair maps redistricting process.
Contact us for Log In information.
For Our Future is a grassroots group calling voters across the state, reminding them about the election on April 6th.
Throughout the month, they are spending every Tuesday night hosting a fun virtual phone bank to educate voters about the candidates for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) race and encourage them to request their absentee ballot ahead of the April 6th election.
Sign up for our next phonebank- March 16th @ 5:15pm- now! They will also be texting on March 23rd and 30th.
This year, we have a chance to elect Jill Underly, a state superintendent of schools who cares about all students and teachers, and who will take the necessary steps towards getting them back in the classroom safely and effectively.
Letter to the Editor
Below is a letter that was on the online Shawano Leader.
Can White people claim they’re not racist?
Published by andynewsengin on Thu, 03/11/2021 – 11:16am
To the editor:
Based on certain events of the past year including the infamous George Floyd affair, it has become increasingly embarrassing for me to be a White man in America. I have put a considerable effort into learning more about how deeply racism is ingrained in our society. I have come to agree that racism is systemic and that each White American bears a portion of the collective responsibility.
Let me give a personal example. If I see a White person walking on the street in front of my house, unless that person trespasses onto my property, I don’t give the matter a thought. If that same incident involved a Black person, I would have the reflexive reaction of “What is he or she doing in my neighborhood?” Another example, have you ever had the automatic verbal or internal response of “Gee, he sure does not sound Black”? I’m not proud of my reactions but they are real.
It is absolutely true that no white person can experience the daily profiling that occurs. No matter how successful in life, every Black dad or mom has to have the “talk” of how to act around a White police officer. Every Black person regardless of how successful has in effect had to start 20 yards behind a similarly qualified white person in life’s 100-yard race. Most white people’s ancestors came here by choice in search of a better life. Black people starting in the early 17th century came here as property.
Here is food for thought:
- Consider the reaction of government to the events of Black Lives Matter protests compared to the insurrection of Jan. 6 largely put on by White people.
- Consider that Wisconsin still does not formally acknowledge Black History Month. Politicians like Robin Vos and Jim Steineke let the matter slide and when asked why offer no response.
- Consider the actions of Republicans to suppress the scope of absentee voting and voting by mail for the implicit purpose of impairing the process for people of color — a modern day version of Jim Crow.
I have submitted this piece as a form of personal and public shaming. I need to take ownership. Though not a traditional Christian, I do believe that Jesus came not only to comfort the afflicted but to afflict the comfortable. Think about it.
Ken Kroenke, Shawano
If you did not get a chance to read the op-ed in the Shawano Leader, here it is:
OUR PAST ACTIONS DON’T SHOW EQUITY
“…with liberty and justice for all.”
How often have we said those words when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and not really thought about what the words really meant. Being free within a society from the oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life is liberty. It means civil rights and human rights.
Just behavior or treatment is justice. It means fairness and equity.Since 1892 these words have been recited as an expression of allegiance to the flag of the United States and the republic of the United States of America. However, the “for all” part of the pledge has never really applied to everyone. Continue reading
To the editor:
Although I agree with Wendy Gribben to a point — “government for the people” and “every vote is important” — I do believe we still have a big decision to make this election year.
“Vote your conscience.”
Now for the real problem. Mr. Watters is so quick to blame all these murders, yes, senseless murders, on our elected Democratic officials that he fails to look at who voted for the gun laws that are now in place.
To the editor:
It’s happened again, just like last campaign season. Vandals tried to tip over a Democratic sign on Lake Drive. When they failed, they got a red marker and crossed out the word “forward” on the sign and wrote “backward.” Actually, Democrats want this to happen.
Our state will have to go backward to go forward.