Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year, Part the Thirteenth - Death by Ballot

If you aren’t outraged by what the Republican Party did to the State of Wisconsin this week there is no moral hope for you.

The Republican Party is no longer a political party advocating conservative views, and it hasn’t been for nearly a quarter century now.  It has shifted further and further into right-wing extremism and authoritarianism, adopted a blasphemous and obscene bastardization of Christianity as its guiding creed, and emerged on the other side as a full-fledged death cult, one that would quite literally threatens you with death for daring to cast a ballot.

Not that this should be any surprise.  As someone pointed out in a recent conversation with me, if you’ve looked at the GOP policy on guns or health care in general you already know that advocating mass death is a standard part of their platform.

Wisconsin’s primary election was Tuesday.  More importantly, since the two major presidential candidates were pretty much set by then, there was on the same ballot an election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court – a laughably partisan institution that gave up all pretense of judicial independence a decade ago – and there were indications that the preferred candidate of the Wisconsin GOP was facing an actual challenge and might not simply be installed by imperial fiat.

Given that we are in the middle of the COVID19 epidemic and the number of polling places in the state – particularly in the big cities of Milwaukee and Madison – had been reduced by nearly 90% because of a shortage of poll workers, Governor Evers first requested the state legislature to move the election and switch to all mail-in ballots, and then, when the Republican leadership absolutely refused to do anything that might actually allow people to cast ballots without threat of contagion, under the emergency powers granted to him by that same legislature the Governor ordered the election moved. 

Naturally Robin Vos and the rest of the GOP legislature sued to make sure that people would have to choose between exposure to a plague or exercising their rights as citizens, because – as der Sturmtrumper happily admitted in public the week before – the more people vote the fewer Republicans get elected.  They cannot win free and fair elections, so they do whatever they can to make sure free and fair elections don’t happen.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court dutifully bowed to their political masters, as did the US Supreme Court.

So in the middle of the greatest pandemic in over a century, one that has brought civilized society to a standstill and canceled pretty much every public event in the world, the Republican Party mandated that voters and poll workers risk their lives or concede all power to their overlords.

Fully encased in PPE that should have been on a nurse, Vos declared that everything was perfectly safe.

There is blood on the hands of the Republican Party today.  Wisconsin will see a surge in deaths from disease because of the actions of the Republican Party – a surge that was entirely foreseeable, entirely preventable, and absolutely acceptable to them as long as it preserved their iron grip on power.

Make no mistake, folks.  This was a dress rehearsal for November.  If you think the GOP will allow a free and fair election that they know very well and have already stated publicly cannot go their way, you really need psychological help.  I will not be surprised if they try to cancel it outright.

John F. Kennedy once pointed out that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

I don’t want political violence in this country.  I’m a historian.  I’ve seen that movie.  Once it starts you have no idea where it will end up, and most of the time it doesn’t end well.

But I won’t be surprised when it happens, and the Republican Party will have nobody to blame but themselves.


Amber said...

It is our responsibility as free citizens of a democracy to save that picture and post it in response to every one of his tweets and other social media posts until he is out of office

David said...

Sounds like a plan.

Bucky said...

When revolution comes the oligarchy and their political pets will be in trouble, even liberals are packing now days.
Steve Shaw

David said...

When revolution comes we will all be in trouble. That's how revolutions work and why we try to avoid them. Once the shooting starts nobody has any idea where it will end up.

LucyInDisguise said...

Revolution is indeed a poor outcome. How many regimes have been overthrown just in this hemisphere within the last 50 years that have resulted in a stable democratic government?

I dare say that in the last couple of centuries, our experiment in representative government is the exception, not the rule, and current evidence suggests that even it may ultimately end in failure.

Could it be that we humans as a whole are actually incapable of self-governance? It may yet prove to be true if we are unable to extricate ourselves from this mess without resorting to violence.


LucyInDisguise said...

Much to my dismay and horror as I watched the news this week, I couldn’t help but wonder if you and yours were out in the middle of that mess trying to exercise your Constitutional Right.

There are no words that can convey the level my anger and frustration at watching this country become a third-world banana republic.

With sincere apologies to all those third-world banana republics (that now seem better off, if only due to the weather).


David said...

No, we submitted absentee ballots a week prior to the election so we were fine.

But the Republican leadership of the Wisconsin Legislature needs to be held personally and legally accountable for every single death that results from this. Every single one of them.