Perversion can take many forms. We’re hearing a lot about one kind every day as women who have been victims of sexual perverts finally are standing up and exposing the offenders’ identities and behaviors.
But the first definition of perversion listed in the Oxford Dictionary has nothing to do with sexual assault or abuse. It is: “Distortion or corruption of the original course, meaning, or state of something.”
We hear about that kind of perversion in the news, but it isn’t defined as such. In an effort not to be sensationalistic, the media usually doesn’t define it as perversion or corruption. Yet, it is.
There are numerous examples of it here in Wisconsin. One is the perversion of Article I, Section 18 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which reads: “nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or religious or theological seminaries.”
That section was perverted by a court a few years ago when it was decided it was OK to give taxpayer voucher money to parents, even though the state knew the majority of them give it directly to private, religious schools. Taking taxpayer money from public school funding for the benefit of religious schools is the opposite of the original intent of the state’s Constitution, but the practice is expanding under Gov. Scott Walker and GOP legislators.
Another perversion perpetrated under Gov. Walker is the purpose of the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR’s stated purpose is to “preserve, protect, manage, and maintain the natural resources of the state.” Who did he appoint to lead it? Cathy Stepp, politician and builder-developer with no education or experience in any science related to natural resources. Before her appointment, she was known for fighting against regulations that protected our air, land and water if they hindered development in any way.
With Gov. Walker’s blessing, during her tenure as secretary of the DNR, Stepp eliminated many of those protections to please big-business interests. True to form, the Trump administration recently appointed her to be deputy administrator for Region 7 of the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet again, the fox is guarding a hen house.
One of the worst perversions of the Walker administration is now before the U.S. Supreme Court and has to do with partisan redistricting. Redistricting takes place every 10 years after the Census, and its only intent was to change the borders of voting districts to equalize, as much as possible, the number of residents in each district. However, over time that process has been corrupted by both political parties.
In 2011, Walker and his Republican enablers in the Legislature, who had to sign a secrecy pledge, paid a law firm $400,000 in taxpayer money to distort the borders of voting districts so Republican candidates had extremely favorable odds of winning. It worked. In the next election, although Republicans only won 47 percent of the vote, they gained 60 of 99 seats in the Assembly. It’s been called the worst case of partisan gerrymandering in the country and that’s why the case is before the nation’s highest court.
What came to light last week is another perversion of decency. According to the Nov. 23, Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Walker is, “blocking political opponent State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers from choosing a lawyer to represent him in a lawsuit brought by the conservative law firm seeking to diminish Evers’ power.”
The law firm wants Evers to get the governor’s approval before he makes administrative rules and is taking its case to the state’s Supreme Court. Walker knows nothing about school administration, yet he has decided Evers should not be represented by a Department of Public Instruction attorney. Instead, Walker is forcing Evers to be represented by attorneys at the state Department of Justice, which is headed by Walker supporter, Attorney General Brad Schimel. If this isn’t blatant corruption, I don’t know what is.
The perversions perpetrated by the Walker administration and its enablers could fill several books. Author James Rowen has kept track of them and summarized his findings, all of which have been documented, in the Sept. 16 edition of “The Political Environment.”
Even more books will detail the perversions of the Trump administration. Examples of how he’s perverted his responsibility to appoint leaders of federal departments alone could fill several. Many of his appointees have vowed to eliminate or cripple the very departments they now head, and have no education or experience in the fields their departments are meant to administer.
Let’s hope voters realize the depth of perversion and corruption in the Walker and Trump administrations and vote them and their enablers out in the next elections. If they don’t, be prepared for it to get a lot worse.