By Representative LaKeshia Myers
In his 1965 commencement speech at Oberlin College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “the time is always right to do what is right.” I was reminded of this quote this week. Primarily, as the people of Wisconsin celebrated with new executive leadership and legislators as they took their posts. While having a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and State Treasurer is a breath of fresh air for residents of the state, we as citizens must remember that we also have a responsibility to ensure our officials do what is right.
As a new member of the state legislature, I sat in the Assembly chamber on Monday and listened to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos articulate his vision for the next legislative session. Vos said some may expect the Assembly to, “veer into the left lane” now that Tony Evers is governor, but the body will have to move down the center and Evers won’t, “drive the car alone.” This was an interesting tenor, considering Vos is the same person that orchestrated the lame duck session that stripped power from Governor Evers prior to him taking office. I wonder if Vos and others will take their own advice. Will they do what is right, and restore public trust by expanding voting opportunities for citizens? Will they end their assault on healthcare by advocating for the Medicaid expansion? Will they work with Attorney General Josh Kaul to institute a “red flag” gun law that would temporarily disarm a person who is deemed a threat to themselves or others? These, would be steps in the right direction and would also be answered prayers to many Wisconsin communities that have been negatively impacted.
In that same 1965 speech, Dr. King stated, “it is true that behavior cannot be legislated, and legislation cannot make you love me, but legislation can restrain you [from lynching me]…” Today’s political landscape is one where civility and political correctness often take a back seat to outward displays of irrationality and curt interactions; it is my hope that opposing factions can engage in honest discourse that will lead to fruitful solutions for the common good. After all, the time is always right to do what is right; especially for our community.