How Would Wisconsin’s ‘Re-Open’ Crowd Have Acted In London Blitz?

Sometimes the past and present have a way of over-lapping at the oddest moments.  Such as when vocal critics ramped up their volume in Wisconsin recently concerning the stay at home orders.

There is ample reason to ask why during a pandemic, with never-ending awful headlines, I chose to read a book about the German bombing campaign in Britain during 1940 and 1941.  There were certainly light-hearted books on my shelves to have selected from, had I wanted.   The drama that unfolds in The Splendid and the Vile revolves around the first year of office for Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the dreadful weeks of bombing in Britain. If the book had been written by anyone other than Erik Larson I would have made another choice.

To be honest, the book was a tonic of sorts, as I knew the good guys would prevail.  The outcome was one that, though painful to achieve, worked out with a victory history still asks us to not forget.  Leadership from the top and steely determination from the populace were essential ingredients in those war years for the Brits.

While reading about the blitz the louder and angrier voices started to percolate within Wisconsin regarding their desire to end Governor Tony Evers’ order to stay at home.  The pandemic lead every newscast and appeared above the fold in every newspaper, but the protestor’s desire to reach back in time for ‘the normal’ was stronger than the medical data about the virus.  As the bombs were falling within the pages the protesters were on the Capitol Square making demands.

As I finished the book this weekend some questions came to my mind.

Had the Brits been replaced with Wisconsin residents, who now clamor for businesses to re-open and commerce to again ratchet up, could they have endured the stringent requirements to ensure victory?

How soon before some guy from northern Wisconsin would have yelled “freedom” as he turned on all his house lights in flagrant violation of maintaining darkness so to thwart aerial attacks?

Who would be the first ardent person of faith to demand the church bells ring even though a prohibition of such ringing was instituted?  (Ringing of bells was to give notice of an impending attack.)

Who would say ‘no way’ to the demands that bikes be dismantled and the carburetor removed from automobiles?  Or the gas tanks drained from vehicles?

How many of those protesting in Madison would have followed the advice to destroy all maps, so if Germany had invaded the local lay of the land would be more of a mystery?

Those who shun masks today, as though it were a personal affront to be told to wear one, would have been red-hot angry when issued a gas mask in Britain and told to have it with them at work, church, and near their bed.

History shows the lengths human endurance must take, at times of crisis, so to prevail and come through on the other side victorious.  After only a few weeks of staying home with food, electricity, and gadgets galore some citizens in our state make it seem they have been asked to undertake some truly arduous task.

They seemingly have no idea what others have had to endure for the preservation of the many.

And so it goes.

Wisconsin Bars Open, Health Concerns Do Not Register With Drinkers

It was the side of Wisconsin that many in our state would rather not see broadcast to the whole nation.  That embarrassing part of our state where some citizens publically show their deep need to saddle up to a bar for a drink.  Within an hour of the reckless and judicially unmoored ruling by the Wisconsin State Supreme Court drinkers were welded to a barstool and sloshing back beverages.  As news reports made clear such scenes were public from Platteville to Port Washington.


Jack Montemagni, 88, laughs with a fellow bar patron after the two shared a hug at Papa’s Blue Spruce Resort pub, May 14, 2020 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

There is no way for me to make sense of the actions and behavior of this side of our state.  In the face of medical data and professional advice from experts to social distance, wear masks, and take caution the scenes from state bars scream out as just bizarre.


Owner Michael Mattson toasts the re-opening of the Friends and Neighbors bar in Appleton, Wis. (William Glasheen/USA Today Network via Reuters)

The lack of local restrictions in many parts of the state underscored why the reckless behavior at bars was soon so prevalent.  The quote that stood out to me from this absurd week in Wisconsin came from Kristine Hillmer, president of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.  She sent out ‘guidance’ to her group’s 7,000 mainly independent eating and drinking establishments to follow local restrictions “if they exist”.  What she stated sends chills through those of us who follow the news, along with the advice from medical professionals.

The rest of the state they can open 100% however they want. It’s a little bit of the Wild Wild West right now.

That was not the calming and calculated manner that any association should have taken when talking about opening businesses during a pandemic.  It is no wonder the vast majority of our state residents will not be visiting such establishments for quite some time.

While I grew up in Wisconsin, I did not grow up in the bar and drinking culture.  In fact, I grew up in the very opposite of such behavior.  I grew up with interests and hobbies and more curiosities than time in a day allowed to be explored.  So I was drawn to the comment from a West Allis drinker who made national news coverage.  

It’s been kinda boring sitting in my house. I love my fiancé, but there’s only so much we can handle from each other without having interaction with each other. 

It was his backward baseball cap along with the apparent fragility of his relationship that made me aware he was not concerned about taking COVID-19 home with him.   The lack of concern from these drinkers at the bars, not only for themselves but for those they are returning to after they get tanked up is what we all must be concerned about.

In 21 days we will find out if some of these drinkers still think it too boring to remain in their home.

And so it goes.

(By the way, libraries have items called books that can be downloaded to your iPad.  You can read them right at home……..really,)

Still Doing Our Part In Wisconsin

At our home we are still adhering to the governor’s order, and smiling at the same time. We can be smart about this if we choose to.

Having said that, today in Wisconsin 502 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, the highest count yet during this pandemic.  After what we witnessed on the news with bars across the state the increase of cases in 14 days to 21 days will make even more dreadful headlines.  All the work we did by staying home…and the rabble are determined to undermine it.

Wisconsin Court Ruling: Partisan Politics vs. Health Of Citizenry

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruling was not unexpected.

On Wednesday the court rejected the extension of a stay-at-home order by Governor Evers.  The conservative-leaning court agreed with Republicans who had brought the case.  It was a very sad spectacle to see play out as the nation also witnessed how our highest court could not place judicial reasoning and medical data ahead of partisanship.  No, the ruling was not unexpected, given the make-up of the court.   But it was most dangerous and unseemly.

The conservatives on the court can cloak themselves in all the high use of legal parlance they desire.  But there is no rational explanation for the ruling other than crass politics. The lack of mature leadership from the court now allows for chaos to ensue.

There is little reason to believe the Republican-controlled legislature will have any more desire to sit down with a Democratic governor than they did weeks ago.  While Evers and his administration have been using data from the state to fashion how the economy will again re-open with the safety of citizens in mind, the GOP has yet to offer any plans about how the state moves forward.

There will now be a hodge-podge of behavior.  A county might allow for certain businesses to open while a neighboring one might very well have different rules in place.  The strategies for keeping the virus on a downward trajectory in the state will be severely tested with such a mess.  With too many people ready to abandon common-sense and medical advice the entire state is now at risk.

Those who read and follow the news reports know scientists are most worried about racing towards re-opening businesses too quickly, without a series of needed steps and procedures in place to ensure health safety.  Couple that with what experts predict will be a dreaded second wave of COVID-19 later this year, along with what the medical community fears regarding the timing of flu season and the plotting is all completed for the next Robin Cook blockbuster.

I have been truly surprised and most disheartened over the past months how a pandemic could become tribal and divide the nation based on political leanings.  The bickering and back-biting from the state legislature, at a time when they all needed to roll their sleeves up and ante-up for the state, was not something I would have predicted.  Most folks in the state are deeply concerned about the virus and want mature leadership.  What they have witnessed leaves them more nervous and unsure than ever.

The local bartender will pour drinks and malls will open their doors. But the court system who made the ruling did their jobs in the safest manner possible—through virtual communications.  That fact tells us not only about the severity of the virus but that partisanship has taken a firm hold of the highest court in our state.  Even when the health and well-being of residents are at stake partisan considerations triumph.

We all want to have an economy that is open and robust.  But it needs to be done with data-driven policy and medical advice at every turn.  What would be an absolutely unforgivable disaster is for our state to have stayed home, abided by the rules, closed down businesses, cratered the bank accounts of many workers only to now spike the virus in places far and wide across Wisconsin due to the most base of partisan reasoning.

That scenario is the one that many are fearing tonight based on today’s partisan court ruling.

Thriller Writer Could Not Plot What Is To Befall The United States If Trump Does Not Show Leadership

If you enjoy from time to time a great thriller to read late at night you know that some plots are far more plausible than others.  Over the past weeks, we have learned that we no longer can ask if something is plausible.

Such is the case tonight.

Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of a key federal office charged with developing medical countermeasures, will testify before Congress on Thursday that the Trump administration was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and warn that the the US will face “unprecedented illness and fatalities” without additional preparations.

“Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Bright is expected to say Thursday, according to his prepared testimony obtained by CNN. “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.”

Waushara County Column On Urban Milwaukee: My Post About Red-Counties And Covid-19

There is no denying that red-counties in the nation are being impacted by COVID-19.  What those conservatives places have to say, how it reflects on the White House, and how it defines our sense of America is a topic to be found at Urban Milwaukee. 

GOP Will Fall For Anything As They Show Support For Trump

Republicans who still stand alongside and give support to Donald Trump show they will fall for anything.  With that in mind comes the lacerating words this week of columnist S.E. Cupp.

Less than two weeks after unimaginably suggesting injecting disinfectants might help kill off the coronavirus, the past few days have seen him spiral out of control, proving utterly incapable of staying focused on the biggest crisis a president can face. Instead, he has:

• Spread unfounded conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus, about former President Barack Obama and about an MSNBC cable-news host.

• Made statements that can only be described as delusional, like comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, inventing a non-existent letter of apology from Joe Biden, and spewing non-science about his favorite drug, hydroxychloroquine.

•  Attacked two female reporters for doing their jobs, lamenting that they didn’t behave like Donna Reed, an actress synonymous with the gender role-abiding, kitchen-dwelling 1950s housewife she played on television more than 60 years ago.

• Attacked another female cable-news host, calling her a “3rd rate lapdog.”

• Gone on a 234-word rant on Twitter, complaining about an ad released by a Republican anti-Trump group whose leaders include George Conway, husband of his staffer Kellyanne, in which he used words like “deranged loser of a husband,” and “Moonface” to describe him.

It’s a frightening commentary on the slow normalization of this completely abnormal behavior that we can greet the undeniable deterioration of the president of the United States with mere shrugs. And the only concerns from his inner circle seem not to be about the mental instability itself, but the political ramifications of it being exposed in daily press briefings.

Another Sign Of The ‘COVID-19 Times’

I have been watching how the newspaper cartoons come to terms with the pandemic we are now living through.  This past week Blondie became current with COVID-19.