The Wisconsin state Assembly’s Black History Month resolution was perfect the moment it was written. It included the names of more than two dozen prominent black Americans, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, baseball great Reggie Jackson and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee.
What better way to show the range of heroes in Wisconsin, and the country, than with a list headlined by those names? You might not like or agree with all of them, but isn’t that the point? By leading their lives the way they have, by making us cheer, or boo, or think, they have made an undeniable impression on our culture and our history.
Enter Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and Speaker Robin Vos, Republicans both. Steineke said the GOP would not support a resolution that included Kaepernick “for obvious reasons.” I guess we are to presume that Steineke’s “obvious reasons” would be Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of social injustice during the national anthem. Or is it the $1 million he gave away to charities, including the $25,000 he donated to Milwaukee nonprofit Urban Underground, which works with teens?
Vos added that Republicans were “trying to find people who … bring us together, not look at people who draw some sort of vitriol from either side.”
That’s such an interesting quote. As we ponder the tens of thousands of Americans who are leading lives that draw some sort of vitriol from either side, I can think of a particular member of Vos’ party who revels in vitriol and lives in a big white house in Washington, D.C., but we don’t even need to go there. All we have to do is mention Reggie Jackson’s name in Fenway Park.