THE RETURN OF RUSS FEINGOLD: Wisconsin Senate Race Sums Up America
By Don C. Reed
On November 8th, the Badger State, like all America, faces a decision: do we vote people into office who will challenge the giant problems, or just ignore them?
Generally speaking, Democrats want to fix what's wrong, which costs money, which means the rich must pay their fair share in taxes.
Republicans, on the other hand, prefer the do-nothing approach, which is cheaper, and does not inconvenience their wealthy constituents.
This difference could not be more clear than in the Wisconsin Senate race: where Russ Feingold, Democrat, challenges Ron Johnson, conservative Republican.
Listen to Bill Palmer, of the Wisconsin Daily News Bin, March 30, 2016.
"Six years ago, popular longtime Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold was swept out of office as part of a nationwide midterm backlash against the Democratic Pary. He lost to... Ron Johnson (R), who has held the office ever since."
What has Johnson accomplished in those six years? Again, Bill Palmer:
"(Johnson) hasn't taken a position on an issue during his six years that we can give him specific credit for. He's simply out of touch with the American mainstream on most if not all major issues."
And Russ Feingold?
"He fought so strongly for campaign finance reform that his name is on the McCain Feingold Act...He...voted against...the Iraq War. He supports President Obama's gun control efforts. He voted for the Affordable Care Act... consistently supported women's rights ... and gay rights, before it became commonplace to do so..."
How do the two men fund their campaigns? If we follow the money trail, it may tell us something about them.
"Feingold depend(s) on small donors, more so than almost every other Senate candidate in the country, while Johnson draws far more support from PACs and outside funding groups."
Multi-millionaire Johnson, owner of a plastics company, benefits from people like the oil-rich Koch brothers, billionaires who have "put more than $2.2 million into the Wisconsin race through their super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund."
Why do the Koch brothers like Ron Johnson, whom they seem to consider a model legislator?
Johnson is not just against raising the minimum wage; he thinks "there shouldn't be one". Imagine that--a corporation could pay you a nickel an hour, and it would be legal, if Ronald Johnson had his way!
He considers scientists "crazy" for believing in human-caused global warming. Could that be because the Koch brothers and other oil barons don't want to clean up their own pollution?
Johnson shows contempt for the opinions of young people, of whom he said (regarding student loans) "(They think it's) "Free money...Young people don't necessarily understand finance."
He doesn't think much of Social Security-needing seniors like me, judging by his attempts to privatize the program, which he dismisses as "a legal Ponzi scheme."
And what is his opinion on Obamacare, the American Care Act, which provided medical care for 21 million previously un-insured Americans? Johnson not only voted against it numerous times, but calls it "the greatest single assault on freedom in (his) lifetime."
He even opposes embryonic stem cell research, Wisconsin's gift to the world! It is safe to say Johnson is not overburdened with scientific knowledge. He once described the research as "creating life (by) destroying it--" which makes absolutely no sense at all.
Life is neither created nor destroyed by stem cell research, which, as the name implies, is cells, cells, nothing but cells. Embryonic stem cells are made from fertilized eggs, left over from In Vitro Fertilization procedures, cells which would otherwise be thrown away. This is biological tissue, microscopic bits, in no way a "life". A married woman may shed such materials as part of her monthly cycle--is she required to have a little funeral for each discarded tampon?
Wisconsinite Jamie Thomson pioneered the development of embryonic stem cell research, for which he richly deserves (but has not yet received) the Nobel Prize.
I met Jamie Thomson, and told him, "When my paralyzed son Roman walks again, which I believe he will, I will always believe he took his first step in Wisconsin."
How does Feingold feel about embryonic stem cell therapies? He said:
"Johnson's opposition to using embryonic stem cell research would hurt the state's economy and halt the creation of more jobs in the industry--and could save pain and suffering for millions of people."
Today, six years after that debate, Feingold is being proven right. Embryonic stem cells are helping paralyzed people in clinical trials.
Russ Feingold takes seriously his responsibility to represent the people of his state.
Judge for yourself: every year in office, Feingold purposefully went on a "listening tour", visiting each of the 72 counties in his state, inviting all constituents to come and voice their grievances, share their concerns.
And their leaders? Feingold stayed neutral in the Democratic primary contest. When Hillary became our candidate, Russ endorsed her strongly, while at the same time showing respect and admiration for Bernie Sanders: exactly what an honest person would do, faced with two outstanding candidates, only one of which could be the nominee.
And how does Johnson feel about Donald Trump? He is still not entirely sure, one of those finger-in-the-wind, watch-the-polls kind of supporters. If Trump wins, Johnson appears to be fine with that; if he loses, Johnson can say, well, he never liked him anyway!
Like most senior citizens, I am not exactly flush with cash. But I think so highly of Russ Feingold that I just contributed $25 to his campaign. Would you consider investigating Russ, and see if you feel the same?
Remember in November!
And do me a favor? If you have a neighbor with a disability, ask them if they have a way to the polls...