Wisconsin politics have lost nearly every sense of decency and respect. Nowhere is this most apparent than in the intra-party quarreling of Republican politicians grabbing headlines in the state news.
After an exorbitantly long legislative session and backroom dealings between disgruntled senators and the governor negotiating vetoes, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester threw down the rhetorical bomb: “Frankly, I wish Governor Walker had not negotiated with terrorists.”
Vos did not hold back in his critique of the group of three state senators who privately met with the governor. Immediately, conservative lawmakers and think-tanks denounced the choice of language to describe the state lawmakers, one of whom is a veteran of the Wisconsin Air National Guard who dedicated 33 years of service. Vos performed a backtrack apology by admitting he was wrong in calling those senators “terrorists,” but made clear his tremendous frustration with them by instead declaring them “rogue holdouts.”
Factional fights are no stranger to politics, and neither are intra-party disputes. However, it’s incredibly appalling how lax political leaders are in calling a colleague a “terrorist” despite failing time and to place that label on legitimate terrorists. For example, neither Governor Scott Walker or Speaker Vos made the exceptionally obvious assertion that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, was a domestic terrorist.
It’s as if the death of 59 individuals and injuries of over 500 innocent people did not warrant a truthful account for the crime committed. Political expediency demanded that personal conscience be set aside. Far too many Democrats and Republicans failed at this simple task because frankly, it’s hard to break societal expectations by calling a white male criminal a terrorist. Lawmakers have been progressing to the correct verbiage, but it has been a lethargic march.
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Vos crossed a line. His contempt for decency in the governing process was on full display. His was a disgusting display of what Wisconsinites truly loathe in our highly polarized society, nationally and statewide. There is no reason for such pathetic and groundless statements over what amounts to a policy disagreement. Instead, try discussing and negotiating to hammer out a plan of action.
In other words, do your job, Mr. Vos. If you have a serious beef with another lawmaker, keep it for your private life. Otherwise, publicly downgrading colleagues in your crude terms reflects upon your inadequacy to handle the demands of your job. The sanctity of our governing system is made weaker by your careless, self-pleasing words.
Vos is not a leader worthy of Wisconsin. We are better off without his shameful words. We are better off without his foul leadership. We are better off without him.
Michael Sauer ([email protected]) is a freshman intending to major in political science.