Goat Screw

May 14th, 2020

Yesterday afternoon the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the “safer at home” regulations that had been imposed by Governor Evers in April. In a way, the court’s decision doesn’t matter much. The lock down was scheduled to end on May 26th anyway. The state’s highest court made a completely partisan ruling. The Republicans running the Wisconsin legislature filed a lawsuit against the Democratic governor, and our very conservative Supreme Court voted in favor of the Republicans. The decision was not at all surprising, and perhaps it was even the right thing to do.

However, there is a problem.

The Supreme Court wiped out nearly all of the directives set up by the governor for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. These edicts have been replaced with…nothing. Basically, the court told the residents of Wisconsin, “There are no rules! You are on your own!”

Welcome to Lord of the Flies. All of a sudden, with regards to the pandemic, we no longer live in the State of Wisconsin. Now we live in a state of anarchy.

It can be argued that I am exaggerating. That may be true. However, if anybody would take the time to look at some of the photos of the people gathered in the newly-opened taverns in Wisconsin, the person would notice that these places are packed. There is no social distancing. There are no masks. People are getting sloppy drunk in crowded, unsanitary environments just like they did back in February. It seems likely that some of these folks will be infected by the virus and get really sick, but that’s okay, because now they have regained their God-given right to hold down a bar stool and drink a cold beer.

The government of the State of Wisconsin, all three branches, have failed to cooperate in order to protect the health of the state’s residents. Nobody, not the governor, not the legislature, not the courts, could find the moral integrity to put aside politics for even a little while. The powers in our state capitol have completely abdicated their responsibilities. They have shoved the burden on to the local municipalities, the cities and the counties. So now, instead of having a coherent statewide policy about the pandemic, we will have a crazy quilt of various rules and regulations. Ye gods…

One thing that I learned when I was in the Army was that, although the rules may be unfair and inane, people need to know what the rules are. People want to understand what they are expected to do in certain situations. These individuals may decide not to follow the rules, but they still need to know them. People get very edgy when they don’t know what is going on. They get especially nervous when they suspect that nobody knows what is happening.

That’s where we are now in Wisconsin. We have no consistent rules for containing the virus. We have nobody in authority to enforce rules, even if they existed. It’s every community for itself. Every man and woman for his or herself. Law of the jungle.

It is probable that, at some point in the future, this mess will get worked out. In the mean time, as Governor Evers stated, it will be chaos.

What a goat screw.




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