Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Derrick Van Orden harassed a library page over LGBTQ books — but please, don't say he's "not inclusive..." 🙄

A Republican congressional candidate from western Wisconsin harassed a library worker in Prarie du Chien over a display of LGBTQ-friendly books in the children's section, then complained about the books possibly depicting Republicans as not being inclusive.

Throwing such a hissy-fit over these books, and checking them all out so that no one else can read them, however, suggests that Derrick Van Orden, the congressional candidate who made a scene at the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library in the first place, is not an "inclusive" GOPer.

Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr, with alterations

The Associated Press reports that the staffer had said Van Orden "complained loudly" about the display of books. He also filed a written complaint to the library over the inclusivity question.

According to the staffer, Van Orden's "voice was loud," and he was "aggressive" toward her. The staffer described herself as feeling "very uncomfortable" during the event, and Van Orden's actions as "threatening" in her mind. The library page — who was 17 at the time this incident happened, mind you — later told her parents she no longer felt safe at work.

From The AP:

Van Orden repeatedly demanded to know who set up the display so he could “teach them a lesson,” she said. She had set up the display but was too afraid of him to tell him, she said.

“He was full on shouting at this point and he kept aggressively shoving the books around,” she said.

I would say this is surprising and alarming behavior for any adult to take, except that this is Derrick Van Orden we're talking about — a man who was on the grounds of the Capitol complex in support of Donald Trump as a mob of loyalists to the former president sought to usurp the democratic will of the nation, and who exposed another man's genitals to two women without their consent.

Van Orden is running to become the next member of Congress for Wisconsin's third district. It would be a disgrace for him to win that race, a blemish on the state that would be hard to erase for years to come.

When it comes to Van Orden...let's just not, okay Wisconsin?

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Tom Tiffany Doesn't Trust Wisconsin's Election Results. So Why Should He Serve In Congress, Then?

Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany ran for Congress this year in the state's 7th Congressional District. He won by a margin of about 20,000 votes against his Democratic opponent, Tricia Zunker, in the election that was held last month.

This past week, Tiffany also signed onto an amicus brief for a lawsuit from Texas, alongside more than 120 other Republicans in Congress. That lawsuit is calling into question the validity of votes in four states that helped President-elect Joe Biden win in this year's presidential election.

Among the four states whose votes are being disputed is Wisconsin.

The merits of the case Texas brought against these four states were laughable, at best, and deeply worrisome at their worst, as Texas AG Ken Paxton cited supposed election fraud without providing substantiated evidence of any kind, and had sought to invalidate millions of votes based off of those errant claims. The Supreme Court on Friday denied the request to hear the challenge.

There are some who are calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to refuse to seat those Republican lawmakers who signed onto this extreme lawsuit. Pelosi has the power to do so, believe it or not, provided a majority of the House agrees with her.

While she is unlikely to take such action, Tiffany should save us all the trouble of pondering that possibility and refuse to take a seat in Congress himself. After all, the document that he signed stated that there was an "erosion" of "confidence" in the "legitimacy of our institutions of government," including within the election last month, that warranted the Supreme Court to invalidate the results of Wisconsin and three other states.

Tiffany is a representative from Wisconsin. If he cannot be confident in the results of the presidential race in the state, he shouldn't be confident in his own election results, either.

The congressman sought to have the results of our presidential election tossed out. Were he a consistent person, he would also ask for the same treatment of his own race's outcome, and refuse to seat himself in Congress come January.

But something tells me such consistent action will not be made by the Republican representative from the 7th District.

Featured image credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia

Thursday, December 10, 2020

GOP Support for the Texas Lawsuit to Overturn the Election is an Endorsement for Anti-Democracy

Here's what you need to know about the Texas lawsuit against Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, which is supported by Republican officials in 17 other states, as well as by more than 100 GOP lawmakers in Congress:

It's completely bogus. But it's also revealing of something disturbing that has developed in our American society: a belief by a significant portion of the right-wing in this country that democracy deserves to die.

Beyond containing complaints about the way states changed voting laws in light of COVID-19 — and the hypocritical manner of those complaints, as states that have enjoined themselves in Texas's lawsuit, including Texas itself, ALSO made similar changes to their election laws because of the pandemic — the suit also seeks to allow Texas to tell other states (including Wisconsin) how to run their own elections. 

That's not how our government is set up to be. Wisconsin, Texas, and other states create their own standards for how elections are run. And Texas must demonstrate, under a very specific set of criteria, that they've been legally "harmed" by Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, or Pennsylvania.

As Pennsylvania's oppositional document to Texas's lawsuit states, Texas's Attorney General Ken Paxton has not done so.

The remedy Republicans are seeking here is extraordinary, and would result in one of the most blatantly political and offensive rulings the Supreme Court has ever made, with regard to election law. It would fundamentally alter the character of our nation, allowing a candidate to "win" an election (quotes necessary) simply because he complained hard enough about his loss.

Because, ultimately, that is the basis for this lawsuit. Texas asserts no real evidence of fraud, depending upon the errant and unsubstantiated claims of malfeasance that Trump has made previously, which have so far resulted in zero significant court wins for him or his allies in other appellate and state courtrooms.

If the impossible does come to fruition — if the Supreme Court decides for some reason to hear the case, and in turn decides in Trump's favor — then authoritarian rule truly will have come to America. That's not hyperbole — that's fact. Under those circumstances, the president will have "won" reelection without having actually been reelected; and he will serve another term in office without deserving to do so. 

The High Court will PROBABLY not decide to even hear this case. But that hundreds of Republican lawmakers across the country, and that Trump's ardent base of supporters, too, not only think the case should be heard, but also DECIDED in TRUMP's favor, demonstrates a marked departure from political norms the likes of which have never been seen in this country.

It is, ultimately, a ringing endorsement from them of anti-democracy.

Featured image credit: Kjetil Ree/Wikimedia (edits made)