Missouri might be the "Show Me" state, but Wisconsin isn't taking a back seat to anyone when it comes to standing up for stereotyping.
If the country were really post-racial, we wouldn't have been reading these stories over the last few days:
* In Missouri, some State Fair rodeo viewers openly enjoyed watching a clown with an Obama mask and what appeared to be a broom handle up his rear end running around to a mocking, violently-suggestive script.
* In Wisconsin, conservative talkers at radio channel 620 WTMJ, the Journal Communications AM station with the widest reach in the state - - are leading the charge to help retain Native American mascots and nicknames.
Even the formerly moderate GOP State Sen. Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn), has sponsored mascot and nickname retention legislation.
Officials in the Waukesha County Village of Mukwonago - - 97.4% white, 0.2% Native American - - are defying a state order to remove the local high school's Native American mascot and team name - - the Indians.
A substantial number of GOP-led legislators are said to be moving to repeal existing law that establishes the rules that eliminate the offending mascots, logos and nicknames, and they have strong allies on the AM dial.
Begin with AM 620 WTMJ radio morning talk show host Charlie Sykes giving the school district's lawyer air time Thursday to explain its position and discuss their other track - - the legislative strategy underway at the Capitol.
End with AM 620 WTMJ afternoon radio news host John Mercure ginning up the audience Friday by ripping the powerful GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for refusing to come on the air to explain why he had not yet assigned the repeal bill to a favorable committee. The title on that Mercure Podcast:
Mercure cited Vos' previous votes in favor of Indian nicknames, gave air time to State Representative Steve Nass, (R-Whitewater) - - the repeal bill's author - - and twice wondered out loud if, given Vos' earlier support for repeal, the Speaker was a hypocrite.
Vos Stands In Way of Indian Nicknames Bill
Mercure had hosted two additional segments Thursday on the issue.
One was a less political discussion with the superintendent of the Menomonee Falls School District - - where Mercure says he lives - - about its retention of the nickname "Indians" while also changing the mascot logo.
This segment was - -
Mercure hosted a separate segment with Nass - - here - -
Indian Nicknames, Pt. 1
- - in which Nass raised the possibility that campaign donations from some tribes were slowing down the repeal process and that perhaps Vos didn't want to "upset the Indians.
Indian Nicknames, Pt. 2
That led Mercure to gripe that Vos would not come on the show to "own" the issue, and added that Vos should disclose whether "the Potawatomi are in your pocket."
Nass has said the current law gives too much mascot-naming power to people with grudges, and that because the GOP has the votes and a supportive Governor repealing the law shouldn't be a problem.
Also not a problem: school districts that have made the changes by paying more than lip service to respecting their Native American neighbors:
After much debate, a western Wisconsin district will change its Native American logo that's been used for decades....A final thought and a timeless summation about those who well into the 21st century want to keep naming teams and buildings after human beings who do not want that objectification:
“If we're offending our , neighbors, friends, it's not appropriate, it's time to change,” [District Administrator Penny Boileau] said.
Another conservative AM 620 WTMJ radio talker, the afternoon host Jeff Wagner, had weighed in a few weeks ago, I'd noted, against the process that is putting Mukwonago on the spot.
Little surprise there, as Wagner, a Marquette U. alum, has long been vocally unhappy with its decision to change its school name and mascot from "Warriors" to "Golden Eagles" and still likes to refer to the school's basketball team by their abandoned name.
So let's give a tip of the hat, credit where credit and the last word on this subject to early morning 620 WTMJ radio host and Everyman Milwaukeean Gene Mueller for his commentary on March 5, 2010 after Marquette U. President Father Robert Wild, who'd engineered the name and mascot changes, took his retirement.
Commenters on a Journal Sentinel story again teed off on Wild for having ended the Warriors era, and Mueller, who did not attend Marquette, said he'd heard enough:
Those who called for a return to "Warriors" were once seen as noble die-hards who wanted their tradition to live on. Now, they're starting to sound like relics, hoping for a return to days-gone-by that just, plain, isn't going to happen.
And, those who continue that fight while hailing Father Wild's retirement come off as ignorant, single-issue donkeys who see Marquette as a basketball team only, an institution whose sole function is to crank out a winning team swaddled in a dead logo.
These are people who need to take a nice, long on-campus walk with their eyes open and their mouths shut.