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Growing dissent

Empower Wisconsin | May 1, 2020.

MADISON — Larry Anderson is the Commander of American Legion Post #377 in Elcho, a small town of about 1,200 inhabitants in northern Langlade County.

Despite the Evers Administration’s broad stay-at home orders in place through Memorial Day Weekend, Anderson says the American Legion is going to go on with its plans to remember the lives of the many who have fallen in the military service of their country.

“We have two brat fry fundraisers, two parades, memorial ceremonies at eight cemeteries on Memorial Day Weekend. At this point I’m going to have the weekend activities as planned,” Anderson told Empower Wisconsin. “I’ll take full responsibility for these actions. If I’m arrested so be it. I’ll file a lawsuit against the unconstitutional violation of my First Amendment rights.”

Anderson said he suffered worse abuse upon his return from serving in Vietnam.

It should be noted, that American Legion Post #377 was named after Pvt. John C. Noetzelman, 53rd Machine Gun Battalion who died on Feb. 8, 1919 of pneumonia while training at an Army Post in Texas during the influenza pandemic of 1919. 

The American Legion Post hasn’t missed an opportunity to honor those who have given “the last full measure of devotion.” Anderson said it’s not about to now.

He’s not alone. Each day that passes under Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide lockdown, dissent grows among the residents trapped beneath it.

A week ago, thousands of frustrated Wisconsinites turned out for a ReOpen Wisconsin rally at the Capitol. There have been similar demonstrations, from the northwest to the southeast. 

In Madison, the rally-goers came even though the Evers administration denied event organizers a permit. They came even as government officials and members of the mainstream media labeled them as right-wing extremists, even murderers.

They came to demand their state back.

“We want Wisconsin back open,” said Tom Kienitz, who demonstrated with his wife, Trish and their son. Like many, they carried their message on their cardinal and white protest sign. “We think there are a lot of people who are hurting; they’ve been out of work for way too long.”

Even those more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its potentially deadly effects are demanding the Evers administration relax the “one-size-fits-all” orders.

“I too have cancer. There is no way the state (should) stay locked down,” Theresa Marie Ricchio Michaelis wrote, commenting on a recent Empower Wisconsin story. “People like me can either stay home or wear protective gear. It should be our choice.”

Choice. That’s a sentiment shared by many Empower Wisconsin readers, noting that liberal politicians who support the indefinite Safer at Home order limiting liberties are also vehement advocates for a “woman’s right to choose.”

Business owners and workers are facing tough choices: Sit back and watch the lockdown take everything they’ve worked for or defy the state order. Those who do have been threatened with the loss of their business licenses. Earlier this week, Oshkosh dog groomer Lisa Binning was arrested after she opened the business for curbside service. She did so just days before such pet care facilities were allowed to open under a slight easing of the stay-at-home edict.

Officials said Binning will not be charged.

“I’ve been in business 25 years in this city. I’ve never once broken a law, and to have this kind of happen — and I don’t think I’m breaking any laws — so to have this kind of thing happen was a little shocking,” she told the Oshkosh Northwestern. 

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