Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just One

It's hard to know what our men and women in Iraq think about while they are over there. Being faced with life and death on a daily basis is foreign to most of us. Most of us will never have to gauge our own reactions to people struggling to build a government from scratch, hoping against hope that they will have some chance to be a part of the decision that will control the balance of their lives.

Some of our soldiers come back to face time in rehab or in hospital. Some of our soldiers come home and head straight to church to take the opportunity to face their maker and give thanks for their survival or the gifts to which they have returned. Most of our soldiers, without regard for rank or upbringing, will make a bee-line for their family, taking time to rejoin and re-engage in all that is good about America.

I knew nothing about Roger Roth, of Appleton, before I saw him get back to work last week. The legislator had just returned from a two-month tour in Iraq with the National Guard. I was predisposed to have a little bit of a warm fuzzy feeling for this man who had just returned from standing up for his beliefs and putting his own skin on the line.

That good feeling didn't last long. We found out all too soon what had held Roth's attention while he was serving amongst some of the most disenfranchised people on the face of the Earth. He was trying to find a way to replicate that disenfranchisement in Wisconsin.

Within hours of getting back to the people's business in Wisconsin, in the dying hours of a busy session, Roth found the time to introduce a measure to make sure that the Hmong constituents in his district would be guaranteed second-rate service at all government agencies.

Roth's contribution to the Assembly session last week was the introduction of an English-only Government Bill. He knew it stood no chance of becoming law but he had to make a show of being "tough on furriners." Roth ignored the changing demographics of the state to make a paean to a time gone past that may only exist in his own head.

I have written before about how the founders of our state dealt with the language problem. The Constitution of the State was published in English, German and Norwegian back in 1848. Our legislators knew then that withholding the documents of government from the people was a bad idea.

Apparently, Roger Roth couldn't see that from Iraq.

1 comment:

  1. I imagine that the gentleman from Appelton learned to speak Arabic proficiently before he started roaming around the streets of their sovereign nation carrying a gun and yelling intsrtuctions so that the poor people trying to earn enough money just to buy food for their families would notbe in constant fear ofr being shot for misunderstaning what the illiterate sob was trying to say.