Monday, April 6, 2020

Wisconsin's cold-weather version of southern states' spring break pandemic parties

5:30 p.m. Updating this Monday afternoon post: WI Supreme Court rules Gov. Evers cannot postpone the election, and curtails absentee balloting. Another win for the Badgerland Death Cult.
We all saw the jaw-dropping images from southern states as spring-breakers frolicked on crowded beached in violation of what every known medical professional and observer with a brain knew was wrong behavior in the midst of a pandemic.

How could those officials and the party-goers in Florida, for example, be that clueless and feckless and reckless, we asked?

Well, look in the mirror, Bucky, because Wisconsin is about to host its own version of Infected Beach Party 2020 - - without the sand and sun and surf - - by mandating an-all voters' invitation to election polling sites Tuesday - - an invitation which all ten other states with voting set for tomorrow had seen fit for obvious reasons to temporarily withdraw.

Keep in mind that:

It is now a month after Wisconsin announced its first confirmed case of the coronavirus - - a total that has exceeded 2,200.

And as the suffering has exploded statewide, it is three days after I first noticed that the likelihood of epidemic levels of the virus's reach in major Wisconsin population centers was rated at 100%, with many not far behind.

And what fool would look at 80% or 50% or even 10% and be relieved?

And it is one day after front-line Wisconsin medical staffers joined numerous local officials urging Wisconsin officials to postpone of the April 7th in-person balloting for the most obvious reason:
If the election goes on as planned, we Milwaukee health care workers will be at risk of having to manage a surge of severely ill voters and poll workers about 2 to 3 weeks later - a surge that we are already planning for, but which would be more severe if the election is held as planned.  
And what has been the response of Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature?

They have taken no action.

Twice in two days they instantly adjourned any consideration of an election postponement without a peep of discussion, let alone debate. 

Showing no respect for the science of disease transmission. Or for the state's health professionals.

Basically, they displayed an arrogant, self-serving and selfish disrespect for life - - because they believe the election will allow them to retain a State Supreme Court seat pivotal to the continuation of conservative hegemony in the courts and for GOP business interests statewide.

Talk about a roll of the dice. And, remember, it's not that they are playing with house money. They're playing with your life.

I'm not saying this dangerous gridlock means the state's political and administrative structures and values are irretrievably broken, because irretrievably is such a hopeless concept.

But I am saying in a time of unprecedented risk to the health of people in Wisconsin - - and therefore to the value and identity of the state and its citizenry as a whole for years to come - -  that the state is in the hands of a callous, inward-looking, power-addicted group of one-dimensional partisans focused in the wrong direction: the maintaince their ideology and careers over the public good.

Which is the total opposite of what taxpayer-paid public service has got to be if we are to have a public sphere at all.

Strangling the public sphere and the validity of public services except those that protect its donors - - like highway-building and corporate welfare for likes of a Foxconn or another well-connected business - - has been the goal of Republican politics for a long, long time.

The only difference now is that the GOP is openly saying in a time of crisis that a big body count is an OK price to maintain what had been the status quo, as our state's Senior Senator put it recently:
Johnson acknowledged that coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu, but said, “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less,” he said.
Every sitting state legislator in Wisconsin has taken this oath in order to serve:
We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.[1]
I do not know if the state's acting Health Secretary Andrea Palm, and thus Gov. Evers, have the political will to order the postponement to protect the public health during an obvious, escalating emergency. I am holding out that they will issue the order.

I note that GOP Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald's Senate has refused for more than a year without explanation to confirm Palm's nomination even though she is a career health administrator who helped supervise 60,000 federal employees in her previous senior positions, including Chief of Staff, at the US Health and Human Services Department.

Look at the evidence, just in Milwaukee County, the state's most-populous, and where tens of thousands of voters are projected to try and vote in-person Tuesday: 45 deaths, and more than 2,200 confirmed cases, when not long ago those numbers were zero and zero.

And also Monday, GOP legislators are continuing to scoff at good medical advice by calling for the re-opening of golf courses, after already unsuccessfully urging that the state's houses of worship be allowed to open during upcoming holidays even though that would guarantee people crowding together, in confined spaces, with an epidemic underway that knows how to ride inside on people' hands, clothing and breath.

The way it can move outside and inside an April 7th polling place. 

I would argue that every legislator who has refused to even debate the matter of postponing the April 7th election while knowing that in-person voting will expose voters and poll workers alike to the spread of an epidemic has violated that oath of office, should be called out, and recalled and/or defeated when elections can be safely held.
The WI GOP legislative abuse of power during the coronavirus pandemic was foreshadowed by its post-2018-election, insiders-maneuvered power grab. That's where their current authoritarian model of worst-practices for partisan gain over the public interest was rolled out for refinement and extension. 


Katrina said...

Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care.

Anonymous said...

How did we get to the point where two sniveling weasels control our state government? Neither one of the piles of garbage human beings would have had a chance to even win a primary in my district, yet here they are running a two headed coup. I can not imagine that anyone thinks this is a good idea. they do not represent me nor my family. I never had a chance to vote for them or against them. Everything from the redistricting to the lame duck session to today's stupidity is beyond explanation. Where are all of the gutless Republicans??? What they are doing is not conservative in any way shape or form. Tommy Thompson would have moved the election and those clowns would have been all for it.