Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is a hot mess. If he performed in female drag rather than country-western, he’d be known as the Miss Mess of Milwaukee politics.
Clarke’s public tirades have become another kind of drag. In recent months, he’s suggested that Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele suffers from penis envy and uses heroin. He’s urged Milwaukee County citizens to become armed vigilantes and help his deputies enforce the law.
While we have been preoccupied with the way Russia has taken an ax to democracy and individual freedom, a police state has been evolving right here at home.
There’s been a dramatic increase in the arrest of people who gather at the Capitol to peacefully express their views. The Wisconsin Republican Party has littered “the people’s place” with armed guards charged with eliminating dissent in the very building that symbolizes our constitutional rights to freedom.
While they claim to be “pro-life,” the most ardent anti-choice activists are utterly contemptuous of humanity. They tend to be pro-gun, pro-war, pro-death penalty and against policies that provide food and health care, including prenatal care, to the poor and needy. They also are by and large the same people who oppose sex education and birth control – a stance that ensures more unwanted pregnancies.
As one advocate for choice wrote recently on her Facebook page, “If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights.”
Just as we were preparing this fourth anniversary issue of Wisconsin Gazette for print, we learned that The Onion will cease publication in Milwaukee, Chicago and Providence, R.I., on Dec. 12. The satirical news weekly had already ended its print edition in Madison, where it began, so the news was not surprising.
There’s a lot to celebrate with the Affordable Care Act. If you lose your job, you can still get health coverage for you and your family at an affordable price. An insurer can’t turn you down due to a pre-existing condition. You’ll still have a choice of policies and similar access to doctors.
But the ACA represents everything that’s wrong with our political leadership.
Two events surrounding July 4 speak volumes about the perils facing freedom.
On July 5, one day after we celebrated our founders’ vision of a society based on individual liberty, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law one of the most flagrant abuses of personal freedom the state has seen in decades. Senate Bill 206 stipulates that doctors performing abortion procedures must have admitting privileges with hospitals within a 30-mile radius. Since such privileges were not required in the past and since hospitals run by religious denominations (including three out of five of Milwaukee’s largest hospital systems) will not provide them for birth-control services, access to abortion has been severely curtailed where it hasn’t been eliminated altogether in the state.