An old friend, Chris Wren of Madison, sent along a note in the wake of the
Elian Gonzalez circus with a few pertinent questions.
"In the wake of newspaper and wire service reports that in the aftermath of
the seizure of Elian, residents of Little Havana burned and otherwise destroyed
"1. Have any congressional sponsors of the constitutional amendment to ban
flag desecration condemned these multiple desecrations of the flag?
"2. How many flag desecrations occurred in Little Havana, and how does that
number compare with the number committed throughout the United States during the
past 10 years? Twenty years? Fifty years? The history of the United States?
"3. If the flag desecration amendment passes, and Congress or any states
enact legislation criminalizing flag desecration, will Congress make conviction
of flag desecration an offense requiring deportation of legally admitted
immigrants or revocation of naturalized citizenship?
"4. Will any of the impending congressional hearings inquire into flag
desecrations in Little Havana?''
Chris, of course, succinctly captures the hypocrisy of so much of the
congressional Republican leadership in the Elian aftermath. Trent Lott, Tom
DeLay, Orrin Hatch and Dan Burton apparently only get excited about flag burning
when it is done by long-haird, left-wing hippies.
The Cuban-Americans in Little Havana are mostly rock-ribbed supporters of the
GOP. Not one mention about torching Old Glory came from the mouths of Trent and
the boys while they condemned and deplored Bill Clinton and Janet Reno.
Those who attended the town of Porter meeting earlier this week on the
factory farm that had been proposed near Gibbs Lake came away with a renewed
faith in grass-roots democracy.
While the powers that be -- including, shockingly, representatives of state
government -- were lined up to secure approval for this antithesis of the family
farm, the town residents weren't going to roll over.
They showed up, many spoke eloquently and the town's zoning committee paid
heed, unanimously declaring that the town doesn't want a huge corporate farm and
all its attendant problems.
Many also left the meeting with a bad taste in their mouths about state
bureaucracy. Of all places in America, Wisconsin was built and nurtured by
family farmers. To now see its representatives, including the ag department and
the Department of Natural Resources, sit idly as if they didn't care about a
factory farm in the heart of family farm country disheartened more than a few.
But there are signs that the people have seen enough of wealth and power
dictating the future.
Just these past few months they have rebelled against Perrier siphoning off
the water supply, the attempt by big utilities to string another power line
across northern Wisconsin, a huge chicken farm near La Crosse, and now the
factory farm near Evansville.
The politicians, always eager to take corporate campaign handouts, might want
to start paying attention.
Dave Zweifel is the editor of The
© 2000 The Capital Times