By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Perhaps it comes as little surprise that a liberal Dane County Board supervisor is pushing to wipe out the Pledge of Allegiance and the word “prayer” from the County Board’s meetings. Just how far left Sup.Heidi Wegleitner’s record is, however, should be cause for alarm — even in leftist Madison.
Wegleitner, who represents the sliver of Madison’s Isthmus that is the city’s radical epicenter, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the pledge and prayer are “divisive.”
“It just doesn’t feel like it’s appropriate for us to be doing, when in a pluralistic society we want to be inclusive and representative,” Wegleitner said.
In other words, faith communities and faithful Americans need not apply.
Yes, it’s interesting that a socialist minister wrote the original pledge (liberal reporters like to note this fact as a kind of ironic shield against critics of pledge haters). But most Americans are more interested in the powerful meaning of the words than the political background of its author.
Wegleitner’s proposal would track with the county’s largest and most liberal city. Madison does not include the pledge on its agenda. Neither does suburban Waunakee. Fitchburg, Sun Prairie and Verona do.
“There’s other ways to show community and shared values,” Wegleitner told the State Journal.
The avowed socialist has a long record of fringe leftist activism and policy ideas — from defunding the police and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to advocating for dismantling capitalism.
Wegleitner embedded herself in the “Occupy Madison” movement, which turned into an encampment for Madison’s homeless and sundry criminals at the old Dan Miller Pontiac parking lot on E. Washington Avenue — not far from the Capitol. Over its run, the camp was wracked with poor sanitary conditions, crime and disorderly conduct in a neighborhood Madison’s liberal capitalists were looking to revitalize.
Madison police closed down the camp and evicted its occupants in 2012. The campers then secretly moved to a Dane County park and arboretum on the city’s north side. Wegleitner, a housing attorney and Tenant Resource Center board member, assisted the campers in occupying more public space.
Wegleitner pitched building “350 permanent supportive housing units” instead of building a badly needed jail to house the rising number of offenders in Dane County. She called for eliminating law enforcement drug and gang task forces that she said “target and harm communities of color and are a vestige of a racist and failed war on drugs.”
She wants the county to “aggressively” combat climate change.
On her Facebook page, Wegleitner celebrated the socialist holiday International Women’s Day “where we honour working women going on strike, organizing, and mobilizing to assert their collective power against capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy.”
Former Republican Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus once quipped, “Madison is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.” The city has grown a great deal since Dreyfus uttered his famous line more than 45 years ago. And socialists like Wegleitner have made it all the more radically unreal.