James Rowen
Op Ed

Grothman, Fitzgerald Dishonor State Heroes

Vote against removing Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol dishonors Civil War dead.

By - Jul 6th, 2021 12:49 pm
U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman.

U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman.

Two of Wisconsin’s most reactionary Republican members of Congress voted recently against removing from the U.S. Capitol statues honoring Confederate military leaders and other figures with racist pasts:

The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision—as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government.

Wisconsin Republicans were divided, with Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman voting nay and Rep. Bryan Steil voting in favor. Reps Mike Gallagher and Tom Tiffany did not vote.

Some recent blog posts about Grothman explain why his ‘Nay’ vote was no surprise.

The war against the seditionist Confederacy cost 12,000 Wisconsin soldiers their lives, state records show.

“…the total number of men Wisconsin is credited with having furnished to the war is 91,327….

Of this number, 3,802 were killed in action or died of wounds, and the number of deaths from all other causes 8,499. Total deaths, 12,301.”

Do any of these Wisconsin soldiers’ families live in Wisconsin?

Would they wonder why Fitzgerald and Grothman would want the U.S. Congress to continue to honor the Confederacy, the brutality and damage it caused and the evils it inflicted on African-Americans which continue to diminish U.S. society today?

The one surprise here was that Rep. Tiffany passed up another chance to take a slap at minority citizens in his district. He has been particularly zealous on that front.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

8 thoughts on “Op Ed: Grothman, Fitzgerald Dishonor State Heroes”

  1. James Rowen says:

    I’d noted in that blog’s last line that Tom Tiffany missed the vote. I later figured out why: Tiffany was politicking in the southern border where Trump had invited him to showboat: https://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2021/07/tom-tiffany-went-border-tripping-with.html

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    I guess we can count them as neoconfederates.

  3. frank a schneiger says:

    The historian F.W. Maitland once said, “We should always be aware that what now lies in the past once lay in the future.” If our democracy survives, no sure thing at this time, we should remember, looking back, what this group of officials said and did to destroy it, all in the name of white supremacy.

    Wisconsin’s progressive traditions have always masked a streak of racial bigotry. One difference between Wisconsin and the Deep South has been the levels of denial in Wisconsin. At the heart of this was the white belief, all evidence to the contrary, that “the colored are treated good here.” The mask came off with the 1964 Wisconsin presidential primary in which the openly racist Alabama Governor George Wallace got more than 1/3 of the Democratic votes, many on Milwaukee’s South Side. After Alabama, Wallace said Milwaukee’s South Side was his favorite place on earth.

    Republicans took note, and the Southern strategy” and “white backlash” were born, leading to one of the most powerful reactionary, anti-democratic and white supremacist movements in our history. Those Wallace voters, their children and grandchildren, are now the Republican base, and Walker, Johnson, Fitzgerald Grothman, Tiffany and the rest are the result.
    Without racial animus, none of these mediocrities would have ever been elected to anything. In a just world, there would be a consequence for the damage they have done. We’ll see.

  4. James Rowen says:

    To Frank A. Schneiger: I attended Wallace’s 1984 appearance in Madison. I even asked him a question from the floor but I can’t remember the question or the answer. Thanks for your observation.

  5. frank a schneiger says:

    James: I believe that Scott Walker will, in retrospect, be seen as an important figure, not only in Wisconsin, but in American history. The straight line from George Wallace (through Reagan) to Walker as the out-of-town tryout for Trumpism is pretty clear. The Walker/Trump messaging – white resentment/victimization; government/taxes evil; unions, except cops, bad; environmental protection, liberal stupidity; and extreme wealth/plutocracy the sign of a healthy society – may have pushed us to the point of no return.

    Cruelty and hurting “the others” are no longer side-effects. They are at the heart of the Republican program, as evidenced by the behaviors of this group of Wisconsin officials, and by Walker’s recent tweet equating the January 6 attempt to overthrow our government with the protests against Act 10 and the Koch/Hendricks/Menard financed destruction of unions and public education in the state.

    And, as a child of Yugoslav immigrants, I believe there is a final lesson of history here: they don’t ring a bell to tell you when you are coming to the edge of the cliff.

  6. kcoyromano@sbcglobal.net says:

    Whenever I see these two faces, I see racial bigotry and white supremacy. Not the ‘poster child’ we want for Wisconsin. Wake up voters! These guys have to go.

  7. gerrybroderick says:

    Frank, Thanks for your observations. Too often too many find solace in the false belief that Wisconsin’s “progressive tradition” somehow represents the majority opinion in our state. Voting patterns tell us otherwise. On the long road toward justice voices like yours make a critical difference.

  8. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Amen to all of the above. The “Southern Strategy” that Nixon used in 1968 has morphed into open bigotry that helps Republicans win local and national elections. What can we say to people who embrace bigotry to persuade them that bigotry is damaging our democracy?

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