By LaKeshia Myers
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King published a book called “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” In his book, King discussed the question of what African Americans should do with their new freedoms found in laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He concluded that all Americans must unite in order to fight poverty and create an equality of opportunity. King emphasized that he was neither a Marxist nor a doctrinaire socialist; he instead advocated for a united social movement that would act within both the Republican and Democratic parties.
I find myself asking this same question today; while my Republican colleagues were victorious in overturning the governor’s “Safer at Home” order they have yet to provide a plan of action to safely reopen our state. In reports earlier this week, the Senate Majority Leader stated that he was, “waiting to see what the governor’s plan was”—that’s not how this works, if you vehemently oppose a policy, you should at least have a viable alternative. But this is a page out of the federal Republican playbook—aborting policies that clearly work for the common good and have no alternative. Does anyone remember the Affordable Care Act fiasco that went on for years?
I believe the Wisconsin electorate, and the American electorate as a whole are smart enough not to fall for the “bait and switch.” While individuals celebrated being “free” to visit local bars and other retailers, I hope they are not shocked when COVID-19 begins to skyrocket in rural communities. The same communities that have continually suffered due to lack of Medicaid expansion, have a shortage of trained medical personnel, fewer hospitals and residents that have to travel miles to be treated. Understand that the proponents of overturning the “safer at home” policy were not thinking of you; they were thinking about business. Businesses do matter, but the people who patronize businesses should be our top priority.
We are at a crossroads in our political ideology, we either will care about the common good or we will be driven strictly by economic aptitude. In order to effectuate change, rural residents must join forces with city residents because we are more alike than not. Don’t continue to fall for the “us versus them” mentality. Understand that without the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, there is no Wisconsin. We are dependent on each other to exist. We must answer the question, “Where do we go from here: chaos or community”—I choose community, because I know no one wins when chaos ensues.