Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Grothman sets dangerous precedent on level of fanatic conservatism

Congressman’s statements have been racist, misogynistic, bigoted; extreme ideology should not be considered Republican
Courtesy Wikimedia commons

When I think of people who say bizarre and upsetting things to garner attention within the state of Wisconsin, nobody stands out more than U.S. Congressman Glenn Grothman, R-Wisconsin.

As a lifelong Wisconsinite and UW graduate, Grothman is an advocate for issues nobody else seems to be fighting for. Whether it is fighting to end the working weekend or protecting the “oft besieged” rights of white men, Grothman’s statements have been racist, misogynistic, homophobic and just plain bigoted.

I realize going after a prominent state Republican might seem to some as just “sour grapes” considering the current (sad) state of progressive politics in Wisconsin, but Grothman really shouldn’t even be considered a Republican. If the Republican Party is content with his current label, we have a more serious problem than anyone realized in this state.


While those on the left vehemently disagree with nearly every stance the Republican Party takes, they can at least understand the rationale behind some of those views.

I always felt that respect for all people even if you disagreed with certain aspects of their lives was a key proponent of Republican ideology. This was (I thought) the key to compromise between the parties.

But Grothman holds views so extreme that his ideology seems to not even fall under the Republican banner. People like Grothman set a dangerous precedent of fanatical conservatism for those we choose to let represent us as Wisconsinites.

Since his rise to semi-relevancy, Grothman has made it clear he doesn’t harbor any pride in the proud traditions of the working man in Wisconsin.

Prior to winning his seat in the House, he suggested an end to the Wisconsin law that mandates at least one day of rest a week for employees. His reasoning suggested this was about “freedom” and that “all sorts of people want to work seven days a week.”

Though the sentiment of people wanting to work more is lovely, Grothman clearly doesn’t hold any compassion for working people in Wisconsin. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprising coming from the man who once suggested “you could argue money is more important for men,” but it still needs to be discussed.

We as a state have already created an atmosphere that disenfranchises working men and women. But to suggest they no longer deserve time to recuperate or spend time with family and friends seems not only an affront to Wisconsin ideals, but American ones as well.

For Wisconsinites, embarrassment for Grothman’s thoughts on race, social class, sexuality and gender should only grow. After various interviews, press releases and op-eds over the years, Grothman has made himself one of the loudest voices promoting those who already have a megaphone.

In regards to legislation on sex education in schools, Grothman has argued programs that mention homosexuality should be banned as some teachers may have “an agenda to turn kids gay.”

On the issue of race, Grothman sent out a press release which stated “Kwanzaa is a phony holiday promoted by “white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans.”

Grothman also wrote an op-ed piece claiming “observations of people who work in food stores indicate that many people who use food stamps do not act as if they are genuinely poor.” He concluded this after interviewing“over a dozen people who check out those on food stamps.”

And finally, in various comments on women, Grothman has stated that “as a guy” he has plenty of options for healthcare, so Planned Parenthood holds no purpose. This complements his comments claiming that women are paid less because money is more important to men, making equal pay legislation unnecessary.

After all these ridiculous comments, shouldn’t we as a state be more concerned? I absolutely understand the ebb and flow of swing state politics (even with absurd redistricting efforts), but this seems like such a drastic swing that we are undermining our identity as a state.

To be clear, it is not impossible to understand the appeal of fiscal and social conservatism to those who live in the 6th District.

But do the things Grothman has said stand for conservative ideology? It would be nice to think that regardless of whether or not they agree on a particular issue, conservatives would treat those of different race, religion, sexuality, social class or gender with respect.

Isn’t this at the core of who we are as Wisconsinites and Americans? The views held by Grothman stand out as radical, even when measured against the endless list of strange things coming from the right wing as of late.

If nothing else, I hope the words of Grothman can at least serve as a means of creating a political dialogue in Wisconsin. Is this who we are and the direction we are heading? For the sake of this proud state and its hardworking and diverse population, I sure as hell hope not.

Connor Touhey ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in political science and history.

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