We are still a few months away from the time when "the streets of Milwaukee are transformed into a mini French city complete with Eiffel Tower," but that didn't stop a caller to the Ben Merens program on Wisconsin Public Radio from urging the use of physical force against members of the Wisconsin state government.
Aside from reminding me why I usually avoid call-in radio programs, the caller's suggestion was terrifyingly ignorant. She called and asked why someone couldn't perform a "citizens arrest" on Governor Walker, the legislative leaders Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald, and DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch. Her reasoning for such an action were what she saw as the "moral" and "ethical" failings of these gentlemen, and their trampling on "first amendment rights".
Merens and his guest responding to the calls were either too professional or too numb from the insane rhetoric to denounce the caller, so they made some vague responses about criminal violations of the law being enforced by police. Let me amplify their response by saying that attempting to turn back the actions of duly elected officials by imprisoning them is tantamount to revolution. It is most assuredly NOT democracy, no matter how many times you tell yourself otherwise.
Further, I would note that suggesting HHS Secretary Sebelius be subject to a citizens arrest for enforcing the individual mandate is likely to get you branded as a potential hate group faster than you can say Southern Poverty Law Center, but, hey, this was Ben Merens, not Alex Jones.
My advice to the caller if she wants to lock up "moral failures" would be to start with Charlie Sheen and work her way down the list. Maybe (maybe) there will still be some room in our nation's prisons by the time she gets to Huebsch, but I doubt it.
I really shouldn't be surprised I guess. It was not that long ago when a letter writer took to the pages of the Green Bay Press Gazette advocating for Secretary of State Doug La Follette to act as a "decider" when it came to what was law in this state.
Even if the courts ultimately rule that the budget repair bill is not law due to an open meetings rule violation, I doubt the remedy will be imprisonment for members of our legislature. Yet to this caller, locking up lawmakers with whom one happens to disagree seemed like the most natural thing in the world.
You don't like Walker or Fitzgerald or Cowles? Fine, take it up at the ballot box. What seems lost on these folks advocating that we jettison our system of governance just because they don't like the current majority, is the fact that our system virtually guarantees the majority will change with some regularity.
There is no chance Scott Walker will rule Wisconsin for forty years like some third-world dictator, unless of course his current opponents get their wish and Wisconsin exchanges the rule of law for the rule of the mob.