Following Rules From Capitol Police Does Not Apply To GOP Christmas Tree

There are times when the rank-and-file citizen really desires to have elected officials explain why the rules do not apply equally in our state. What the majority of us are expected to abide by on a daily basis need not apply to members of the state legislature if they wish to disregard them. Such is the case today as reported by Scott Bauer for the Associated Press.

We are aware that due to the pandemic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made the decision not to have the annual Christmas tree in the rotunda of the statehouse. First of all the building is closed to the public, and secondly, the tree, even if the building were open, would be a congregating point that would aid in the spread of the virus. But those facts were not going to deter a couple of Republicans.

Two Republican lawmakers put up a Christmas tree in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda despite being told they weren’t allowed to do so.

What is disturbing is that State Representatives Paul Tittl and Shae Sortwell, both of whom most likely were very ‘law and order’ oriented during the just concluded fall campaign, disregarded the rules and decisions of none other than the chief of the Capitol Police. After Republicans have repeatedly, over the course of this year, stressed why it was important for citizens to respect police officers and follow their orders, we now see that discourse was not meant for everyone to heed.

Records show the two lawmakers applied for a permit on Dec. 1 to place what they described only as an “historical display” in the rotunda from Dec. 1 through Jan. 6. The application does not say that the display is a Christmas or holiday tree.

Dan Blackdeer, chief of the Capitol Police, an extension of the DOA, denied the request the next day. He wrote that although the DOA can issue permits for events and exhibits, only the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board can approve decorative items.

He went on to say that state law prohibits the DOA from permitting any exhibits on the rotunda’s ground floor. A permit request must be filed at least 72 hours in advance and the lawmakers’ sought to display an exhibit the same day they submitted the application, Blackdeer added. What’s more, the DOA is denying all permit requests for the interior of Capitol since the building is closed to the public, he wrote.

The lawmakers put up a tree in the rotunda anyway.

The message this sends to the state is some rules are not the foundations that everyone is expected to follow. We can apparently, based on the whims of the moment, act in any way we feel. I wonder if that outcome was what the Wisconsin Professional Police Association had in mind when making their endorsements for the election?

Meanwhile, if state legislators are paying only scant attention to the conversations of citizens the issue of a tree in the Capitol is not on the radar. Dealing with a pandemic that has filled hospitals with patients, pounded small businesses, impacted the bottom line of workers, and undermined the educational efforts in schools should be the focal point. It is too bad that since these elected representatives were in the rotunda, and so close to the assembly chamber, they did not more wisely use their time to work on the public health crisis.

2,400 Americans Killed At Pearl Harbor, About Same Number Will Die Today, Tomorrow, And The Next…

This morning I woke up with a radio announcer talking about the words from Neil Steinberg, a newspaper columnist in Chicago. After reading the entire piece in the Chicago Sun-Times, it is, without doubt, today’s must-read column from the nation’s newspapers. As we observe Pearl Harbor Day we are also in the midst of a deadly national public health crisis. One that we did not need to have savaged our country. Below is a segment of the column.

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, is a day that will not live in infamy. But maybe it should. Because 2,400 Americans, or more, will die today. About the same number died yesterday and will die tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that.

Also dead in an attack, by COVID-19.

Was treachery involved? Not by the virus. A virus is a dumb thing, a microscopic beastie.

Yet there was treachery. The betrayal of the American people by its own government, which not only refused to act when COVID arrived last winter but continued to refuse, finding it easier to declare the whole thing a lie, a hoax. To pretend it wasn’t real. Some elements are doing so right now, head in the sand, in full this-isn’t-happening mode.

Attack? What attack? The ships are still there, untouched. Imagine FDR telling Congress that. Imagine Americans believing him. Now look around.

Talk about infamy.

In punting COVID, Donald Trump betrayed every American ideal. Our supposed strength. Our belief in ourselves — Trump said he didn’t acknowledge how severe the pandemic is because he didn’t want Americans to “panic.” Americans didn’t panic after Pearl Harbor. We sent Jimmy Doolittle and his B-25 raiders to bomb Tokyo.

Given the facts and a shred of leadership, Americans don’t panic. Though Trump certainly did. And does. He’s panicking now, desperately trying to reverse the election he lost in a way that should nauseate any patriotic American but doesn’t. It’s ironic that the same sort who cherish Pearl Harbor’s fading infamy, and gripe to see it overlooked, turn around and shrug off today’s shame.


The year 2020 will live in infamy, as the year 300,000 Americans died because of the treachery, self-interest and cowardice of our president, and the subservient capitulation of those in his party who knew better but fawned when they should have loudly objected.