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August 10, 2020

7/15/2020 8:36:00 AM
7 ideas to make things better

Dear Editor:
Much has been written and said lately about the Black Lives Matter movement in America. However, not much of that national conversation from any side has focused on practical, objective actions that are doable today to demonstrate our commitment to change.
What's to be done? Well, here are a few ideas from an old white man who views the world from Dodgeville, Wisconsin:
First, and most importantly, end gerrymandering across the nation. Nothing would do more to improve the political and cultural climate of America. Politicians must stop playing to the ends of their base, and start playing to the middle.
Next, ban unions for police officers and firefighters. Make it easier to weed-out those unfit for duty. If unions are bad for teachers, for state and municipal employees, for prison guards, then they're bad for cops as well.
Rather than "defund the police," let's "reimagine the police." Much of modern policing involves dealing with the mentally ill, the homeless, the addicts, the dispossessed - of all colors. It's hard work. And it's now apparent some of these interactions end tragically, unnecessarily.
Let's put on our big-boy pants and legalize, or at least decriminalize, marijuana. Nobody, black or white, should go to jail or get a criminal record for smoking pot.
Is it possible we could encourage black art within/around our public buildings? If we can spend tax dollars on "Nails Tales" at Camp Randall, why not a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the top of the Madison street named for him? Or a statue of Rosa Parks in every Wisconsin school?
It would go a long way toward Justice and Equality if our legislators would encourage voting instead of constantly attempting to limit it. The right of every citizen to vote is fundamental - even more so in a pandemic. Voting absentee or by mail is not "cheating."
Shame on Wisconsin for shunning hundreds of millions of federal dollars by refusing to expand Medicaid. It's a program aimed at ensuring medical care for the poor - many of whom are Black. How much simpler could it be?
There, that's just my seven ideas. I'm sure there are many more, and many better. Get thinkin'.
Jim Bach

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