Hello Friends and Fellow Millenials,
Yes, it’s me, the ever-opinionated Nick Vitale with another political editorial/glorified rant. But don’t worry, I know you all have busy lives so I’m going to try and make this one go down a bit easier by framing it as a dialogue. That means I will do your thinking for you even as I try to alter and indoctrinate it. Hooray!
You: Okay, Nick, what the hell do you want?
Me: I want to try to convince you to vote in Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court election on Tuesday, April 2, and to vote for Ed Fallone who is the “good guy” in this race for reasons I will explain below.
You: Damn it, I already went out and voted in the last election, after you harassed me about it like 80,000 times!
Me: I know you did, and I thank you for that. Believe me. But guess what? Life moves on and so does our democratic process. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and the forces of evil (big money, special interests, religious zealots, and the like) never give up in their eternal quest to quietly subvert our political system and make life shittier for us than it already is. Furthermore, they tend to do it the most during smaller, under-the-radar elections such as this one, when they think people like us are too stupid to pay attention.
You: Whatever. But why does this affect me? Why should I care about a… what was it again?
Me: State Supreme Court Election.
You: Why should I give a shit about that?
Me: I’m glad you asked, hypothetical interlocutor! There are a great many issues at stake, but I’m going to try and narrow it down to what really matters in the big picture. Here are three main points:
- It’s Ten Fucking Years!: Wisconsin state Supreme Court terms run for 10 years. That’s a long time, bro. I mean, 10 years ago YouTube didn’t exist, the Iraq War was just starting, and some people actually liked the Black Eyed Peas! But seriously, if you got so worked up over a 4-year Presidential term (or in Tammy Baldwin’s case, a 6-year Senate term), shouldn’t you care at least as much about a term that lasts TEN years and could determine the fate of Wisconsin’s judicial system for generations to come?
- Having a Competent and Independent Judicial System is Kind of Important: Contrary to what I might have told you when I was 16, laws and a functioning court system are actually pretty vital to the health of a society. Therefore it’s probably worth paying attention to who is in charge of interpreting the laws we must all follow.
And what’s Wisconsin’s Supreme Court currently like? Well anyone who’s actually paying attention will tell you it’s a goddamn mess. Take, for example, the notorious incident in 2011 where Justice David Prosser PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED fellow Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. When the Wisconsin Judicial Commission filed an ethics complaint against Prosser recommending disciplining him (as any one of us would be disciplined if we PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED a co-worker) the other three conservative Justices (including Pat Roggensack, the “bad guy” in this election whom I’ll introduce later) recused themselves, preventing any actual justice from taking place. This is not how a proper judicial system works. And indeed, that has been the conclusion of many informed observers, including the Court’s own Michael Gableman, who has said (among other things) that over the past few years the court has been plagued by a “cycle of hostility, recrimination, and ill will”.
- The Supreme Court is our Last Line of Defense Against Walker and his Republican Allies: Currently Republicans control the Governor’s office, the state Assembly, and the state Senate. That fact ought to scare you. Why should you be scared? Because when Republicans completely control the government, bad things happen. As it happens, they control 27 state legislatures in the country, and in many of those states they are doing some pretty fucked up shit. Care for some examples?
- A Republican in Missouri proposed a bill to redefine science that basically destroys the fundamental meaning of science in order to promote intelligent design (http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/02/missouri-bill-redefines-science-gives-equal-time-to-intelligent-design/)
- Oklahoma is going even further, making it illegal for teachers to penalize students for arguing that human beings co-existed with dinosaurs. Seriously. (http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/22/making-it-illegal-to-fail-science-students-who-argue-humans-co-existed-with-dinosaurs/)
- Multiple states are trying to force women to undergo a medically-unnecessary transvaginal probe before having an abortion. In Indiana, they’re proposing women have TWO such probes in order to take the morning after pill. Because, you know, the Republicans want to get Big Government out of your life and all! (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/21/1620891/indiana-transvaginal/)
- Also in Missouri, one Republican lawmaker proposed a law that would imprison government officials who enforced the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Another one wanted to make it a felony to even MENTION THE IDEA of gun control! (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-missouri-gun-control-felony-20130219,0,1787720.story)
- In Mississippi, they want to ban human-animal hybrids. Okay, this one isn’t really that relevant, but it’s pretty hilarious, right? (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/01/human-animal-hybrid-mississippi_n_2601975.html)
Now these are extreme examples and many of these bills have not passed, but it certainly gives you an idea of the sort of insane, delusional direction the Republican Party is going in. Think it can’t happen in good old Wisconsin? Think again. Wisconsin GOP legislators have recently gone on record endorsing transvaginal probes (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/15/1597701/wisconsin-forced-transvaginal-ultrasound/) and some have even proposed arresting Federal officials who carry out the Affordable Care Act (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/wisconsin-obamacare_n_2125468.html).
Okay, that was a long tangent. But I bring it up for an important reason. I mentioned that the Republicans control the Governor’s office and the state legislature. But conservatives also have a 4-3 majority on the Supreme Court. NOW do you see why I’m making such a big deal of this? We can’t do anything about the legislature or Scott Walker’s moronic reign of terror until 2014, but if we flip the majority on the Supreme Court we can at least stop the bleeding for a while, and have one last check against complete and total Republican domination of what used to be a progressive, forward-thinking state.
You: Jesus, that was long-winded. I have ADD, how am I supposed to keep up with this crap?
Me: I’m sorry. But I was right. It IS important, isn’t it?
You: Whatever. Just tell me who to vote for and why.
Me: Gladly. The “good guy” to vote for is Ed Fallone. The “bad guy” in this election (who is actually a woman and not a guy) is incumbent conservative Justice Pat Roggensack. She’s a real RoggenSACK OF SHIT LOL!
Me: Okay, that was lame. But really, she’s not good for the Court or for Wisconsin. In addition to the aforementioned incident where she conspired to prevent any kind of disciplinary action against the abusive maniac David Prosser, she has supported Scott Walker’s agenda lock, stock, and barrel, defending the union-busting Act 10 and supporting programs that take money out of public education in the guise of “school choice”. In other words, she’s part of the problem. Look at who Roggensack has supported and who’s supporting her and you’ll get a picture of who’s side she’s on. And guess what? It ain’t ours. She’s taken frightening amounts of money from out-of-state conservative organizations (including $300,000 from the Club for Growth, which exists to back hard-line Republican candidates) who think they can buy off our political system for their own gain.
You: And what about the other guy, the one I’m supposed to vote for?
Me: Ed Fallone is a respectable, principled, and accomplished alternative to Pat Roggensack. He’s lawyer with 25 years of experience in State & Federal courts, a professor at Marquette, an expert on corporate and criminal law, and philanthropist who has worked to expand legal access to low and middle-income families. He wants to reduce the influence of special interest money in our court system and introduce more transparency by bringing administrative meetings out into the open. Plus, he’s endorsed by Russ Feingold. What more do you need?
You: Okay fine, you’ve sold me. Now how do I vote, and when?
Me: The official election day is Tuesday, April 2 and the polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM as usual. And guess what? If you’re going to be out of town on April 2 or are planning on dropping acid that day you can VOTE EARLY from now until March 29th by voting in your municipal clerk’s office (the hours for early voting are usually until 4:30p.m. on weekdays).
You: How can I tell if I’m, like, registered and shit?
Me: You can check all your voting information, including your polling place on election day, by going here: https://myvote.wi.gov/ . If you know you’re not registered you can still register in person at your clerk’s office or at the polls on election day. This website will tell you how to do that: http://elections.mytimetovote.com/dates/wisconsin.html
You: Are there other races being decided on election day that I should be aware of?
Me: Yes, but because I’m such a nice guy I only made you read about the most important one. A lot of it depends on which city and county you live in, but some other big ones are the state Superintendent of Schools election (vote for Tony Evers) and the Dane County Circuit court (vote for Rhonda Lanford). If you want more information about either of these elections just ask me.
You: Okay, fine. I’m going to vote for Ed Fallone on April 2 or during Early Voting Hours if I can be so bothered. Is there anything else you want from me?
Me: Sure! This election being as important as it is, and given the fact that Ed Fallone is being heavily outspent we could really use a lot of help volunteering. For more information on that sign up on Ed Fallone’s website (https://services.myngp.com/ngponlineservices/volunteer.aspx?X=qI0mzRhySJoHjiyDx6CMug%3d%3d) or follow “Middleton Action Team” on Facebook…
You: FUCK THAT! I’m not getting out there and actually doing shit. I just want to smoke a blunt and play Call of Duty.
Me: Fine. Well at least do me a favor and share this note on your Facebook page so that other potential voters might see it, and we can perhaps do one small thing to make the world a slightly less shitty place.