One Small Step For Wisconsin, One Giant Leap For Democracy

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What does a story about a Supreme Court election in Wisconsin have to do with clean tech? Everything. Last week, there was a great hue and cry from Republicans in that state demanding that a statewide election scheduled for April 7 go forward despite hundreds of polling places being closed, essentially forcing people to risk contracting the coronavirus in order to vote.

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How bad was it? According to an editorial by Raw Story entitled “Welcome to Wisconsin, where democracy goes to die,” in Milwaukee, which has 330,000 voters and the state’s largest minority population, only 5 of 180 polling stations were open. In Green Bay, only 2 polls were open. The closure of polling stations was due primarily to an absence of poll workers, many of whom were worried about becoming infected as a time when the state of Wisconsin was in lockdown.

That didn’t bother Republicans, however. The legislature — dominated by Republicans thanks to the tortured gerrymandering of the state’s political boundaries — refused to move the date of the election. When the governor ordered the date changed, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled his action was illegal. A local federal judge gave the state more time to receive and count mail-in ballots, but the US Supreme Court invalidated even that small nod toward a sensible, pragmatic approach to voting at a time when an infection was rampant.

The 5 conservative members of the court had no problem brushing aside that judge’s decision and forcing Wisconsin to proceed with voting come hell or high water. The composition of the USSC has changed since the Bush v Gore decision in 2000 but the result was the same — heads we win, tails you lose. The Republicans on the court trampled on commonsense and reason to reach a result congruent with the anti-government principles instilled in them since birth by the Federalist Society.

Why The Furor?

So what caused Republicans in Wisconsin to get their knickers in a bunch? The answer is simple. One of their own was up for re-election to the state Supreme Court — that’s right, the same court that told the governor and the people of Wisconsin to go pound sand when it was suggested the election be delayed.

The best part, though, is that he lost to a progressive candidate! Now, one election may not signal a change in the tide but then again, maybe it does. If Wisconsin Republicans threw everything they had into the fight to get their stooge re-elected and lost, what does that suggest about the national election later this year? Could it be the voters are tired of being led by an ignoramus and a group of politicians that has nothing but loathing for ordinary people and is willing to shower political favors on polluters and billionaires?

One Vote Could Be Crucial

When people vote for a president, they often forget that person will have the power to appoint all the Cabinet heads and all the judges during the next 4 years. That person sets the agenda for the country, whether it is addressing the threat of an overheating planet or protecting the rights of all Americans, including the poorest among us.

One vote on the Supreme Court could be critical when climate cases like Juliana vs US come before the court. Progressives on the court are outnumbered at the present time. Several of them are elderly and suffering with debilitating illnesses. Don’t think for a minute that if one of them is forced to retire, Malignant Mitch McConnell will feel it necessary to confirm a progressive to take his or her place.

Don’t Let Them Steal Your Vote!

Republicans are terrified of letting people vote. They wave their hands in the air and stomp around, shouting about voter fraud, but in fact when they work overtime to close polls, purge voter lists, and oppose vote by mail campaigns it is a form of voter fraud itself. They are experts at blaming their opponents for their own nefarious deeds.

In the face of the coronavirus, many states are expanding their vote by mail procedures. But America’s alleged president is adamantly opposed to helping the US Post Office weather the pandemic. No post office, no mail-in ballots. Fraud doesn’t get much more transparent than that, does it?

Watch as Republicans at every level ramp up their attacks on voting. It’s not about governing; it’s not about democracy; it’s about winning and cramming sick, twisted theories about the Deep State and the horrors of government down the throats of  Americans. It’s about basing the entire federal government on the whims and temper tantrums of one person — someone who slips further into mental instability every single day as he rages against anyone who points out how ignorant and mendacious he is.

Vote For The Earth

The Republican-controlled Senate is working overtime to shovel tons of money toward its rich campaign donors — fossil fuel companies in particular. The next election is not about Biden and Trump. It is about putting America back at the head of global climate action and implementing the environmental policies recommended by the Drawdown Project and professor Mark Jacobson. It is about pushing forward with renewable energy goals. And it is about making America great for all its citizens, not just some.

As the election gets closer, social media and television will be inundated with attack ads. Many are deliberately intended to turn us off to politics so much that we decide not to vote. Don’t let them steal your vote. Insist on your right to cast a ballot in the next election. We’re all in this together and together we will prevail.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

Steve Hanley has 5412 posts and counting. See all posts by Steve Hanley