This is a station editorial, a statement of management opinion from WTMJ vice president and general manager Steve Wexler.
At a time when Wisconsin needed decisive, thoughtful leadership, we got neither.
All three branches of our state government and both parties let us down.
Our governor, faced with the dilemma of a growing pandemic and a looming election, waited too long to ask for a delay.
Then, when he finally did, our legislature decided that a political power play was more important than the public’s health. Their refusal to delay the election, or convert it to a mail-in election, was unconscionable and tone-deaf. It didn’t help that all this was happening while our judicial branch issued conflicting and confusing decisions.
“Stay home,” our leaders told us. “Brace yourselves for a week reminiscent of Pearl Harbor,” said the U.S. Surgeon General.
But in Wisconsin, our elected officials, unable or unwilling to put people over politics, told us to go vote – to more crowded polling places than normal due to the shortage of available election day workers and fewer polling locations.
Our three branches of government – entrusted by us to look out for us – went 0 for 3.
Most of us are simply trying to keep ourselves and our families healthy and are worried about the state of our economy and the ongoing impact of coronavirus on our pocketbooks.
Meanwhile, the men and women who represent our interests made political calculations that neither served our democracy nor kept us safe from harm.
We deserve better.
Let’s hope that in the coming weeks, common sense, leadership and bipartisanship will prevail so that we can unify as a community and begin the healing that we desperately need.
In these critical moments, we are not independents, Democrats, and Republicans. We are all Wisconsinites.