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Combat efforts to divide and conquer

The concept of “divide and conquer” is far from being a new one. Historians cite the first appearance of the phrase to Philip II of Macedon who was assassinated 336 years before the birth of Christ. Over the centuries it has become a go-to strategy for would-be conquerors, selfproclaimed emperors and despots of all shapes and sizes.

Most recently it has become the working strategy of those who place personal political power over the needs of their communities, their state and their nation as a whole. It is the strategy that keeps the wheels of the political machinery well-lubricated with money from donors afraid that those perceived as enemies may gain the upper hand.

Divide and conquer is at the heart of a pair of measures being championed currently in the Wisconsin state legislature.

The first is sweeping legislation which would create a list of concepts, words and phrases that would be banned from classrooms in the state over fears of the “critical race theory” boogeyman.

Political indoctrination is not the role of public schools, no matter how wellmeaning the intention may be. Creating a list of banned words, phrases and concepts is a throwback to Stalin-era Russia or China under Mao’s Little Red Book.

America’s ongoing journey to become Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on the hill,” has been a rocky one at times. It is in recognizing the shadows that we can appreciate the light.

It is currently up to local school boards, answerable to their neighbors and communities to set the curriculum in schools. This system of local control is inconvenient to those who wish to play politics at the expense of learning.

The second legislative goal is to rewrite the Wisconsin constitution to eliminate the voice of the people in filling powerful positions such as superintendent of public instruction or state treasurer and instead make these positions political appointees. Given the current legislature’s embarrassing track record in refusing to take up many of Gov. Tony Evers’ nominations three years into his term in favor of playing political games, the answer it seems is that Wisconsin needs fewer, not more, opportunities for the legislature to interrupt the smooth functioning of government. A better solution is to give the legislature a deadline for getting their job done and forcing them to lead, follow or get out of the way.

The underlying goal of these efforts isn’t to move Wisconsin “Forward” nor is it to create a more perfect union. They have at their heart a single motive to divide people between camps of opposition and supporters in an attempt to further widen the cracks that exist in any society.

The solution for Wisconsin residents is to not let them play the game by holding those who seek division accountable at the ballot box. One way to do this is through the implementation of term limits to prevent the rise of career politicians and to undermine the power of those who put their political careers over the good of the state and its people. A good first step toward this goal would be for the individual party caucuses to impose term limits on party leadership so that all voices can be heard.

Ultimately it will be the voters who determine the success or failure of efforts to divide and conquer.

It will be the people who recognize that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us which will serve as guides out of the dark pits of politics as usual.