More disrespect heaped on Wisconsin minorities by the GOP
Because it happens in Wisconsin so often, I take the time to memorialize the racism and related insensitivities displayed by certain Republicans who hold public office, at public expense and at the expense of public civility.
Which brings me to last week's 'charade put on by GOP Assembly members chosen by Speaker Robin Vos where they pretended to address issues of racial justice while deliberately never setting foot in Milwaukee, the state's largest city, where people of color are in the majority and no doubt would have packed a public hearing and given GOP legislators a deserved earfull:
'Dog & pony show': Milwaukee Black activists scoff at Task Force bypassing Wisconsin’s Blackest city in creating police reform
[Milwaukee activist Kamila] Ahmed’s point of view was struck down during the first public hearing on these bills at the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety....So she took her time, during the public hearing section, to voice those demands and why they should be included in the bills being discussed.
However, Chair John Spiros abruptly cut her off.
“This has nothing to do with the bills,” Spiros said. “You’re giving demands that this committee doesn’t need to listen to. What we need to do, is get back to the bill.”
“The demands from the people, we are asking you as legislators, whatever else, to listen to the people. We have marched in the streets”
“We’re adjourned,” Spiros said, slamming the gavel before Ahmed could finish.
Now I'll be honest with you; I'd never heard of the aforementioned GOP State Rep. John Spiros -
|Marshfield GOP State Rep. John Spiros|
- (and where might he have learned to the quick gavel that stifles debate when it threatens to bring out inconvenient facts and truths?) - so I Googled "Spiros and black and race" to see if there was any history to be found, and this is what popped up:
Marshfield City Council member Rebecca Spiros criticized for 'tone deaf' Facebook post about race
MARSHFIELD - City Council member Rebecca Spiros is facing criticism for comments she made in a Facebook post about race.
Spiros, who represents Marshfield's District 8, questioned in the post whether people could still order black coffee, say "black olives" or if a black crayon should be renamed.
In the post, Spiros, who is married to State Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield), asked whether those questions have legitimacy in a country that considers the children's television show "PAW Patrol" to be offensive.
Granted, the sins of family members can't be affixed to kith and kin, and Council member Spiros did offer an apology of sorts -
"'I want to be clear that I represent only myself on my page and while I had intended to put out a message about the over-stretch of political correctness my message was poorly phrased and perceived by some as something other than what I had intended," Spiros said...'"
Her ugly remarks and subsequent clarification reminded me of another ignorant and gratuitous slam by a presumably-educated adult Republican politician who had a smear at the ready:
GOP candidate, Rebecca Kleefisch, in Wisconsin: Sorry for comparing gay marriage to marrying a dog
...at what point are we going to OK marrying inanimate objects? Can I marry this table, or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs? This is ridiculous."
After being slammed by gay rights organizations and bloggers who recently turned up the interview from earlier in the year, the 35-year-old apologized on Thursday.
"My comments were meant to relay my concern with redefining marriage," Kleefisch said in the statement, according to The Associated Press. "I never intended to sound insensitive, and have the utmost respect for all people. I apologize for my poor choice of words."
But again, I am stunned at the willingness of so many Wisconsin Republicans and conservative officeholders to so easily and routinely speak and behave publicly with so much arrogance and so little tolerance, empathy and common courtesy.
Gerrymandering leaves these GQP politicians accountable only to the white, rural voters that they have selected for themselves. Arrogance, intolerance, and lack of empathy and common courtesy are what those voters expect from their politicians. Makes sense, right?
This story is a good example of the things that happen too frequently in the Assembly. Remember when Rep. Vos refused to make it possible for Rep. Anderson to attend meetings by phone. The Assembly would call meetings that lasted into the early hours of the next day. Accommodation is required under Federal Civil Rights Law, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rep. Anderson described what he needs and has a legal right to. Rep. Vos was not moved.
The US Constitution promises that every person has the right to be part of everyday life. That includes civic affairs. Rep. Anderson was elected and represents thousands of people. He was excluded from public deliberations, as were his constituents.
I pointed out that Rep. Vos was violating the oath he took when sworn into office. He swore to uphold the US Constitution.
Furthermore, he was breaking faith with the people of Wisconsin.
[edit this out please: I was a local elected official in Milwaukee County, County Treasurer, etc. I established a nonprofit civil rights organization in 2018. The focus is on Title II which requires all government entities to make their programs and facilities ADA compliant. I say that but the media doesn't get it right. CapTimes labeled my short piece at the time as violation of one's rights is a violation of everyone's rights (or to that effect). I filed civil rights complaints with the US DOJ against the City of Burlington and the State of Wisconsin. Not on this issue. I have been working on these 2 cases for 2 years and have a terrific paper trail and a civil rights lawyer opinion. Can't get anyone's attention -- yet. If you want details, it is complex and interesting. The DMV authorizes counter clerks to look for bi-polar (sic) disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and more. It is in the Statutes. Working on this. If it is in the Statues, departments don't question it. I have a list of suggestions to fix problems State government-wide like these. So I keep turning over every rock. I don't want this published. It's just my ranting. This is personal. My life is affected every time I am stopped by barriers. The first part about Rep. Anderson is fine.>
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