Hmmm… Commie University of Wisconsin history Professor William Cronon looks pretty John the Baptist-y to me…
The Repugnican Tea Party long has has been on a jihad against university professors. It’s that these professors are anything from “liberal” to “Commie,” you see.
Actually, these professors’ “crime” is that they don’t support the political agenda of the far right. These professors, being professors, don’t embrace the utter ignorance and the outright lies — and the pro-corporate, pro-militaristic, misogynistic, white supremacist/racist, homophobic, xenophobic, nationalistic/jingoistic, pro-stupid-white-male propaganda — that the right wing expects them to.
The wingnuts scream that public dollars should not be spent on university professors who (allegedly) promote some political agenda. Of course, these very same wingnutty hypocrites don’t argue that right-wing professors also should go for the very same reason.
Nor do the wingnuts who scream against the alleged politicization of our public universities make a fucking peep about the blatant, illegal politicization of our tax-exempt churches, such as the Catholick Church and the Mormon cult, which blatantly participate in politics, even telling their members whom and what to vote for and whom and what not to vote for and more or less commanding them to give campaign contributions to specific candidates and ballot propositions and to volunteer in political campaigns.
Because that political activity, you see, benefits the right wing. Therefore, it’s perfectly acceptable.
What it comes down to when the wingnuts attack left-wing or perceived left-wing university professors — and such intellectual entities as National Public Radio — more often than not is not a case of left versus right; it usually comes down right (as in correct) versus not right (as in incorrect) and right versus wrong.
(The Nazi Party also hated, persecuted and even murdered intellectuals, but perhaps that’s a separate blog piece for another day.)
So far gone is the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party in Wisconsin that the party is attacking an individual university professor. Never mind that for a state’s party to attack an individual is a gross abuse of power and is a gross dereliction of duty — the Repugnican Tea Party in Wisconsin should be busy at work fulfilling its (bullshit) campaign promises to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites instead of engaging in vindictive political vendettas against certain individuals.
But the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin want the head of William Cronon, a University of Wisconsin history professor who has been publicly critical of Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker and his henchpeople’s attempts to destroy the state’s long-standing labor unions.
Therefore, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin have demanded to see any and all e-mails in Cronon’s university e-mail account that contain certain words indicative that Cronon used his e-mail account for any political activity. Apparently their end game is that they want Cronon fired for alleged university ethics violations — so that they can claim the scalp of a liberal/“liberal”* university professor.
They can’t just murder Cronon (they would if they could), so they’ll do the next best thing, if they can: see to it that he loses his job. That’s one of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ favorite hobbies: to try to make people unemployed, even though they claim to care about our longstanding problem of unemployment.
Professor Cronon, correctly claiming academic freedom, has resisted the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ public records request to see his e-mails. One Repugnican Tea Party traitor called Cronon’s resistance “chilling,” but what actually is quite chilling is that we have Joseph McCarthy-like thugs in public office anywhere in the nation who think that it’s perfectly acceptable to politically gang-bang a university professor whose political views diverge from theirs.
The New York Times yesterday ran an editorial on this issue titled “A Shabby Crusade in Wisconsin.” Here it is, in full:
The latest technique used by conservatives to silence liberal academics is to demand copies of e-mails and other documents. Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli of Virginia tried it last year with a climate-change scientist, and now the Wisconsin Republican Party is doing it to a distinguished historian who dared to criticize the state’s new union-busting law.
These demands not only abuse academic freedom, but make the instigators look like petty and medieval inquisitors.
The historian, William Cronon, is the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas research professor of history, geography and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, and was recently elected president of the American Historical Association. Earlier this month, he was asked to write an op-ed article for The Times on the historical context of Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to strip public-employee unions of bargaining rights. While researching the subject, he posted on his blog several critical observations about the powerful network of conservatives working to undermine union rights and disenfranchise Democratic voters in many states.
In particular, he pointed to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group backed by business interests that circulates draft legislation in every state capital, much of it similar to the Wisconsin law, and all of it unmatched by the left.
Two days later, the state Republican Party filed a freedom-of-information request with the university, demanding all of his e-mails containing the words “Republican,” “Scott Walker,” “union,” “rally,” and other such incendiary [um, “incendiary”? Really?] terms. (The op-ed article appeared five days after that.)
The party refuses to say why it wants the messages; Mr. Cronon believes it is hoping to find that he is supporting the recall of Republican state senators, which would be against university policy and which he denies. This is a clear attempt to punish a critic and make other academics think twice before using the freedom of the American university to conduct legitimate research.
Professors are not just ordinary state employees. As J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a conservative federal judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, noted in a similar case, state university faculty members are “employed professionally to test ideas and propose solutions, to deepen knowledge and refresh perspectives.”
A political fishing expedition through a professor’s files would make it substantially harder to conduct research and communicate openly with colleagues. And it makes the Republican Party appear both vengeful and ridiculous.
Further, the effect of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ McCarthyesque attempt to make public university professors fear for their livelihoods is to deprive the professors of their First Amendment rights as citizens of the United States of America.
University professors are not some special class of individuals who don’t get First Amendment rights. As the name of Cronon’s blog states, public university professors are also citizens; they are not stripped of their citizenship rights because their paychecks are paid for by taxpayers — and they pay taxes, too, which so many fucking morons forget or ignore.
It’s bad enough that in the private sector, employees are treated like property with no First Amendment rights — or any other rights whatsofuckingever. (Property, after all, has no rights.) To extend this right-wing abuse of human rights to the public sector is illegal, immoral and unfuckingacceptable.
And for a political party to attack an individual is such a gross abuse of power that that party deserves to be voted out of office. The recall of Repugnican Tea Party traitor politicians in Wisconsin has my full support — and I’ve donated money towards it. Hopefully, the Repugnican Tea Party scum who have hijacked the great state of Wisconsin, most notably Scott “Dead Man” Walker, will be swept to sea by a political tsunami no later than in November 2014.
The good people of Germany did not nip fascism in the bud when they had the chance to do so. If we, the good people of the United States of America, don’t nip this fascistic shit in the bud in Wisconsin and in the other states where the Repugnican Tea Party traitors fervently are trying to plant the seeds of fascism, we will find ourselves as the Germans did: in a hellish nation in which evils abound — and in which it is too late, because we did not do enough when we had the chance.
I live in California, not in Wisconsin, and I do not know Professor William Cronon.
But I am not so stupid and so blind as to believe that what happens in Wisconsin never could become my problem in California, or that whatever happens to Professor Cronon never could have any bearing on my own life.
The states indeed are laboratories, and the mad scientists on the right are seeing just how far they can take their evil experiments.
We allow them to succeed at our own peril.
*Cronon describes himself as “a centrist and a lifelong independent,” but to the far right, a centrist is a left-winger. The far right’s motto, after all, is the McCarthyesque “You’re with us or you’re against us,” and if you’re against them, you are, by their definition, a left-winger.
Hopefully, this offensive wingnutty overreach will serve to turn more centrists into actual left-wingers.