They steal pain just to make more – the monstrous among us
Appleton, WI – There’s a fear in polite American culture to engage in conflict. Strong words are discouraged, anger is derided, and extremism is posed as the singular problem; this unites all the various gasbags who turn our culture into such a toxic environment, where concepts like truth and justice have little hope to survive.
Yet you should fear anyone who tells you not to get mad, especially in age where monstrous ghouls have the power to carelessly take the lives of others with no fear of accountability. You should get mad when someone tells you that your anger is “part of the problem,” because it’s not. Your anger, your harsh words, your inability to refrain from conflict is not part of the problem.
Our problems exist because we live in a world where people who could truly be called monsters are running roughshod over the poor and every other group that can be marginalized out of public concern. This is the hellscape that Wisconsin has become.
If you wonder whether language like “monsters” is going too far, let’s remember how the Walker administration successfully demonized public school teachers in particular as the cause of our economic anxiety and poverty in our state. What kind of people find it appropriate, accurate, moral, or helpful in any way to blame our community’s educators in this way? Nobody. Human beings don’t do that. Monsters do.
This includes people like Representatives Fitzgerald and Vos, who have long led the legislative assault on the working class, working in concert with lobbying partners like the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the extremely wealthy and right-wing figures who top the donor lists of the worst politicians year after year, people like Diane Hendricks, Jere Fabick, and Fred Young – all capitalist owners who have reaped massive profits from the working class. Given their past disregard for the lives of working-class people, can we be surprised that the COVID crisis is further exposing the monstrous among us? We need look no further than the current actions of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) like Governor Evers “stay at home” orders are one of the only tools a state has to stop the spread of the virus. The WHO and the global epidemiological community are emphatic that such measures are critical in containing a pandemic. While there is no doubt that such orders in a state without any safety net is causing untold damage to the working class, using that fact to undermine the necessity of the order itself is shameful. And worse, it is most dangerous and even deadly for the most vulnerable among us.
At any moment, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is likely going to strip the governor of the power to implement NPIs. They might then say, “work out a compromise with the [Republican dominated] legislature.” The Republicans will offer a horrible compromise which they know the state will have to reject and then power will devolve to counties and we'll have 72 different orders, i.e. the state order will be over.
While the working class is already exposed to a far deadlier degree, a rapid reopening of the state, especially without reference to epidemiological benchmarks, will only exacerbate that risk, forcing at-risk workers back to dangerous work sites while the more well-off will be work via teleconferencing, like the extremely hypocritical Court itself did as it argued this case.
While differences of opinion exist on what a “lockdown” looks like and how to deal with the inevitable contradictions such a massive policy implementation creates, the particular actions of the far right and the sickening argumentation used shows they have no concern for making informed improvements to the policy, rather, they are turning this into a vicious ideological attack, particularly with Justice Rebecca Bradley stealing the pain of Japanese-Americans and using their internment during World War II as a comparison to attack Evers' “tyranny” and Justice Patience Roggensack dismissal of meat packers as not “regular folk” whose risk to exposure is well within her level of acceptance.
If we’ve ever wondered to what lengths the right wing will go to in order to defend their profit, now we know. They’ll compare themselves to the victims of real racism and denigrate those at risk as somehow less human. When people in power show grave indifference to human life maybe our system isn't all it's cracked up to be? Maybe our culture, our morals are not what they're all cracked up to be? Maybe we've become so indulgent with ourselves as individuals that we don't know to control ourselves as a collective? I know each one of us can’t be blamed for the actions of these monsters, but when are we going to take responsibility for not being able to protect ourselves against them?
Monsters revel in not caring about one another, they aggressively spite those who do otherwise, proud to be blind to, or worse, content with, the sufferings of those who will never cross their paths.
Ignorance is not just blind, it's callous, and that's what a chunk of Wisconsin has become – these lobbyists, politicians, judges, business owners are content to let its “lesser people” fall prey to a cruel survival of the fittest.