Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

Profiles in Civility

Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features a story about how “civility” has been lost in Wisconsin due to the conflict over collective bargaining rights.  The article goes out of its way to show that both sides are guilty of incivility, with UW-Madison political science professor Dennis Dresang declaring that “nobody’s got a monopoly on rhetoric and threats and incendiary language.”

Of course, this attempt to find equivalency between the actions of the Right and the Left in Wisconsin is pure nonsense.  The attempt to show “both sides do it” falls apart if the reader has any recollection at all of the events of the past eight months.  Let’s take a quick look at the Democrats’ “profiles in civility:”

  • Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz yelling at fellow Rep. Michelle Litjens “you’re f***ing dead.”
  • Sen. Spencer Coggs said Walker’s bill was “legalized slavery” and Rep. Joe Parisi said Walker was “calling the National Guard out on the people of Wisconsin.”
  • Fourteen state senators fled the state to block passage of Walker’s collective bargaining bill (including Tim Cullen, who decries the loss of civility in the MJS article.)
  • Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched on the Capitol, many with profane signs comparing Walker to Hitler, bin Laden, etc.  (Remember this lady?  (Language Warning.) See anything like this at Tea Party rallies?)
  • Aggressive, militant activists have been following lawmakers everywhere they go, filming them, verbally harassing them, and pouring beer on one.
  • The “solidarity singers” have been yelling every day in the capitol rotunda, forcing things such as blood drives to move to places other than the Capitol.
  • The chief justice of the Supreme Court likely leaked a story to the press accusing one of her colleagues of choking another justice – a story that was completely debunked, and the accused justice was eventually exonerated.
  • Committee hearings have been disrupted, with people being dragged out by their feet – one woman chained her head to the railing of the state senate parlor with a bike lock.
  • Illegal activity has been rampant, whether it is liberal activists providing  ribs for votes doctors providing fake sick notes notes, or otherwise.
  • Protesters disrupting every Walker public speaking event, including a Special Olympics ceremony.
  •  In the most toxic campaign ad of 2011,the Left tried to make it seem like Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was the best friend of pedophiles, digging up a case Prosser prosecuted as a district attorney 30 years ago.  (There were no similar ads run by any Republicans either in the Supreme Court race or the state senate recalls.)
  • Teachers pulling their kids out of school, shutting down Madison schools for 4 days, and bringing the kids to capitol rallies.
  • The desecration of the state capitol, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs.
  • Marching not only at Scott Walker’s home, but at the homes of individual legislators that don’t have any police protection.
  • And probably most uncivilly, Democrats refused to participate in this year’s staff versus legislator softball game.

I am really making an honest attempt to find anything from the Right that matches anything on this list.  At one point, a friend of former State Senator Dave Zien allegedly tried to punch a solidarity singer.  The reports of collecting signatures and shredding recall petitions is merely a rumor; there’s no evidence anyone on the Right caused the “cyberattack” that liberals are complaining about.

And honestly – let’s say some right-wing hacker caused this “cyberattack.”  What’s worse – that, or the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court likely planting a fake story in the paper in an attempt to smear a fellow justice?

So the real story here isn’t that civility on both sides has been lost; it is that Walker supporters have maintained their composure amid an avalanche of poisonous actions by union loyalists.


  1. Patricia Johnson

    November 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Civility is any behavior which encourages or allows a collegial environment. Incivility is belligerent behavior and persistent rudeness that causes conflict and stress, thus degrading the collaborative atmosphere that allows people to work together. Such behavior destroys the collegial environment.

    Collegial = marked by power or authority vested equally in each of a number of colleagues; b: characterized by equal sharing of authority; 3: marked by camaraderie among colleagues

  2. You must also include this spectacular “Profile in Civility.”

    This is what democracy looks like?

  3. Man, you guys are good at inventing your own realities. Head? Meet sand.

  4. What invented reality? Everything Mr. Schneider lists actually happened, and it was ALL done by the anti-Walker useful idiots. It’s the LEFT that has its collective head in the sand if they think their tactics are okay. Or maybe their heads are not in the sand…craniorectal inversion might be a better description.

  5. @ Jimspice, if we are where is your proof to show bias? Right you have none!

    We have been civil to a fault, taking hits verbally and physically, not to mention being a Black conservative such as I, only causes property damage and threats made TO MY KIDS! I have never seen this from TEA party folks or Republicans. You people who act in this fashion and think it is okay, you are sad and pathetic and help make our case that you all are in need of exorcism from our government!
    Deb on the northside of Milwaukee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *