Letter to the Editor: Welcome Jim Crow

Congratulations are certainly in order for Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) for using his public office to issue a July 13 campaign press release announcing his intention to pursue Louisiana’s “Blue Lives Matter” legislation, which adds the potential for “hate crime” penalty enhancements against any citizen [targeting] state law enforcement. Kitchens, knowingly or not, is espousing the historic segregationist policy intended to quash citizen dissent, free speech rights and to double down on potential oppression of populations of color. Welcome Jim Crow, to Wisconsin.

With this current “blue lives” GOP trial balloon, initially floated by Representative David Steffen (R-Howard), immediately after the tragic loss of five law enforcement officers in Dallas, we witness again the GOP fascist tendency, politicizing a horrific event which they presume will be an election advantage for them, this being another pretense to stricter law and order by instilling public fear.

Two questions need to be asked: Will this legislation do anything to prevent violence against law enforcement personnel? And, is the rhetoric of enhanced danger for these civil servants a reality? Apply the potential for hate crime penalties to the recent unconstitutional arrests by Scott Walker’s capitol police, quelling singers and arresting people criticizing Chief Erwin and other officers. Adding hate crime enhancements to those types of judicially defined attempts at suppressing constitutionally guaranteed public dissent will only lead to future escalation of tensions, proportional to the added means for state repression Kitchens is proposing.

FBI national statistics show intentional killings of law enforcement personnel were down 20 percent in 2015, compared to 2014, less than 50, and roughly equivalent to accidental officer deaths, those being largely automobile related tragedies. No “growing” resentment exists against law enforcement. Justifiable outcry against the system that grants immunity with impunity, for individual officers killing black citizens over petty offenses is completely predictable and deserves public denunciation as much as the killing of any police officer should.

Louisiana’s recent passage of “Blue Lives Matter” was intentional demeaning of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and is an unconscionable insult to the significant reasons behind hate crime provisions for those minorities historically persecuted, from genocide inflicted upon our indigenous First Nation peoples, through the numerous economic models of plantation slavery, disenfranchisement of women and LGBTQ oppression and others.

If “Blue Lives” really mattered to Kitchens, he’d be pursuing gun restrictions and greater economic equality for his constituents instead of promoting an unwarranted means for further citizen repression. With Kitchens’ seeming indifference to the current iteration of the plantation slavery model, 16 CAFOs in Kewaunee County, and with his prioritizing of this “thin blue line” over his constituents’ crisis need for clean water and relief from subjugation to life-threatening environmental pollution, while unmentioned public subsidies expand to support grossly underpaid, very deserving, hardworking farm laborers, Joel’s warm embrace of old Jim Crow shouldn’t be much of a surprise to district voters.


Donald Freix

Fish Creek, Wis.




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