Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. July 20, 2021.
Editorial: Want to debate? Study first
During our Editorial Board meeting this week, we spent some time talking about the current debate on Critical Race Theory. This is a topic we were reluctant to talk about as we weren’t sure there was much to add constructively.
As the conversation developed, we realized that there was indeed something we could say. Frankly, most people who argue about this don’t seem to really know what that means. This must change.
Over the past year, Critical Race Theory has become one of the critical terms in the ongoing political quarrels in our country. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground. It’s not inherently problematic, but it becomes problematic when there’s no point in learning what even the theory is outside of what the TV talking head of your choice is claiming.
Part of the problem is that not everyone who embraces critical race theory defines it in the same way. Basic Principles hold that racial disparities in the United States are often supported by structural, social, and legal frameworks that protect and perpetuate the status quo. But the degree of presence of these factors and the specific mechanisms by which they act are subject to the interpretation of the theorist in question.
Critical race theory is also mixed with multiple ramifications, including focusing on multiple racial and ethnic minorities, gender studies, and even disabilities. So when someone mentions Critical Race Theory, it’s fair to ask which one they’re talking about. The fact that people do not make it easier for supporters and detractors to choose quotes and arguments to present their counterparts as extremists.
This is not the first time in political history where theory is a flashpoint. When Bill Clinton appointed Lani Guinier as deputy attorney general, his association with critical race theory was one of the issues raised by opponents. When Clinton rescinded his appointment, the question was withdrawn for the time being.
What all of this highlights in a very clear way is that those who argue that history is the past, an established record that is no longer subject to shifts in understanding or analysis, are quite incorrect. History is, and always has been, a lens through which we see ourselves. It means he’s alive.
It takes little imagination to transfer the successes or failures of the past to the realities of the present. Examples abound. The way in which sports teams showcase the banners and tokens of past championships is a relatively innocuous illustration of this. The near-mythological status that people tend to attribute to their cultural background does exactly the same thing, but with far more serious implications.
What is the solution ? As a nation, we’ve never been particularly good at agreeing on what the past meant, and that probably won’t change now. And, in the absence of such an agreement, the debates will continue.
The solution, in our view, lies in education. Not the formal education of your youth, sitting in a classroom absorbing the received wisdom (or at least the approved interpretation) from an instructor. We must become a nation of students, a people willing to study and develop our own understanding of the past and its place in our lives today.
There can be no one answer. Not when we are talking about a wide range of experiences and backgrounds from which people derive individual identities. We must therefore study. The best scholars also understand the value of studying the ideas of those with whom they disagree. It turns those opinions from something to be dismissed without thinking into the rock against which your own thinking can be sharpened.
Too much of the debate right now is based on straw man arguments. These are people claiming that one group wants to destroy history, while another is made up of malicious racists. Both are superficial mistakes. There are those who want to question our understanding of history without erasing anything. And there are those who have concerns about this that are not based on race.
So this is our call. Elevate the discussion. Study. Understand. If you want to discuss a flashpoint, at least make sure you know enough to discuss it intelligently.
Kenosha News. July 19, 2021.
Editorial: Evers veto messages win for open government
Openness and transparency in government won a rare victory last week when Gov. Tony Evers vetoed legislation that would likely have prevented the public from being informed of allegations of misconduct or sexual harassment by from members of the Legislative Assembly or their staff.
The bill would have created a new legislative services body called the “Legislative Assembly Human Resources Office” – and there is probably some merit to the concept.
In this episode of Rewind: Your Week in Review, JR Ross, editor-in-chief of WisPolitics.com, and Patrick Marley, state political reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, review Governor Evers signing off on the historic reduction of the income tax and the 2021-2023 budget. As reported by JR Ross, Governor Evers signed a $ 2 billion income tax cut, reversed $ 700 million in deduction table changes, and a $ 550 million transfer to the fund for on rainy days, and announced that $ 100 million in federal money will be directed to schools. In response, the GOP bristled at Evers by taking credit for the tax cuts. Overall, there are 50 vetoes in the budget, the lowest since Walker also issued 50 in the 2011-2013 budget with unified GOP control over Capitol Hill.
But lawmakers tainted that original idea by giving the proposed office a blanket exemption from reporting legislative wrongdoing and being accountable to the public. The wording of the bill indicates that the office “shall at all times respect the confidential nature of records, requests, advice, complaints, reviews, inquiries, disciplinary measures and other information in its possession relating to human resources matters”.
This exemption, of course, covers just about everything under the sun. Or in this case anything that lawmakers don’t want to see appear and never see the sun.
As Bill Lueders, chairman of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council noted, “No other state or local body can fully withhold human resources-related documents and there is no clear reason why the legislature should have been treated. differently. “
Indeed, there are protections under existing law that allow the writing of sensitive information that protects victims and whistleblowers.
There is probably some irony in the fact that the legislation was passing through the State Senate even as a Dane County judge ruled that the legislature violated the Open Case Law in 2019 by withholding cases. related to an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment involving a former state official. Staush Grusynski, a Democrat from Green Bay.
As Governor Evers said in his veto message, “The people of Wisconsin have the right to be informed about the misconduct of officials, including those in the Legislature.
We agree. This is important information that the public should have when they go to the polls and decide on the suitability of a legislator to perform his duties.
It should not be buried, as this law would have been.
This episode also illustrates that there may well be a real need for a human resources legislative office and Evers urged lawmakers to pursue this with a “clean bill” that would not be used to “hide official faults. at the exam “.
We encourage the Legislative Assembly to continue on this path.
Wisconsin State Journal. July 15, 2021.
Editorial: Trump blows up Vos, so Vos spends more
Wisconsin election officials carefully counted the votes for the president in November, and Joe Biden won.
They checked the voting machines in each county and the equipment worked fine.
They recounted all the votes cast in Democratic strongholds in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Biden’s lead widened slightly.
Lawsuits were filed, challenging the results. The judges, some of whom were appointed by Republicans, listened to the facts and ruled that the votes were being treated fairly.
More than eight months after the November 3 election, it’s perfectly clear that Biden will be our president for the next three years and more. No matter how much the losing candidate, former President Donald Trump, continues to bluff. Biden won, fair and square.
Everyone, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos R-Rochester, knows this, although some of his fellow Republicans claim otherwise. Yet Vos continues to waste Wisconsin taxpayer dollars on unnecessary investigations into outdated election complaints that have already been repeatedly debunked.
Vos announced in May that he would hire three retired police officers – at least one of them with partisan ties – to investigate “potential irregularities and / or illegalities”. Vos pays investigators a total of $ 28,800 in state taxes over three months, the Associated Press reported in June.
If the goal was to appease Trump, it didn’t work. The former president criticized Vos and other GOP leaders in Wisconsin on the eve of their annual political convention on June 25. Trump has absurdly claimed that Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu R-Oostburg “are working hard to cover up electoral corruption” in Wisconsin.
“Don’t fall for their lies! Trump said in a statement.
Vos and LeMahieu gently deflected Trump’s inanity, saying Trump was “just misinformed.” This is an understatement.
Yet in the aftermath of Trump’s scourge, Vos redoubled his indulgence towards the former president. Vos has announced that he is hiring former Conservative State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to oversee the Assembly’s investigation into electoral questions that have already been answered. The public will now have to pay Gableman $ 44,000 through October, AP reported last week.
This brings the total taxpayer addition for Vos’s redundant and partisan investigation to $ 72,800.
For state lawmakers who have just approved an $ 87 billion budget, $ 72,800 may be insignificant. But for a local school district, that’s enough to hire another teacher. For a local police department, this is an officer. For a small town in Wisconsin, that could fix a lot of potholes.
And who knows how much the bill will increase?
State legislators should remember their oath to uphold the state constitution and to faithfully and impartially discharge their legislative functions. They are failing in their constitutional obligations when they blatantly ignore the facts established by our courts and recklessly spend taxpayer dollars to attack the electoral process.
Vos et Cie should stop bowing to Trump and call off the witch hunt. Stop wasting our money on conspiracy theories.
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