Milwaukee’s ‘Happy Days’ are now just a faded memory with only ‘the Fonz’ in bronze standing as a stoic reminder of the good bygone days. The Cunningham’s hardware store is long gone, the Pizza Bowl exists only in our memories and the mammoth Shotz Brewery has been shuttered for decades (there is a rumor that the Shotz name may return as an original formula micro-brew).
Once known as the ‘Beer Capitol of the World’ and the idyllic setting for two classic sit-coms, Milwaukee now vies for the title of ‘Political Shark Jumping Capitol of America.’ Despite stiff competition from San Francisco, Washington D.C. and the People’s Republic of Chicago, Milwaukee continues it’s drive for the title.
Milwaukee’s latest Shark Jumping escapade (also a nominee for the ‘You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ award) comes to us courtesy of Ieshuh Griffin an independent candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly. The Journal-Sentinel reports that Ms. Griffin ran afoul of state election officials by attempting to have her campaign slogan “NOT the ‘white man’s bitch'” placed beneath her name on the ballot.
Unlike candidates from the established Democratic and Republican parties, independents are allowed a five-word statement of purpose on the ballot to explain to voters what their candidacy is about.
Shane Falk, a staff attorney for the Accountability Board, said that the board had the ability to restrict obscene or derogatory candidate statements from the ballot.
The board ruled that the statement would not be allowed on the ballot, however Falk said that “Griffin was still free to use the phrase in her campaign literature and any ads she might run.” In pleading her case Ms. Griffin insisted that she was “not making a degrading statement toward any ethnic group.”
Thomas Barland (a white man) who was one of the board members who voted in favor of Griffin’s slogan being allowed on the ballot, said “she says a lot in five words.” Barland made a hard left turn away from common sense by pandering to the extreme racist fringe of the black community in stating that he “didn’t interpret it as racial.”
Ieshuh Griffin, a self described “community activist” is seeking to fill the 10th district seat held with dignity for the past 30 years by Annette “Polly” Williams who will be retiring at the end of her current term. Ms. Williams (an African-American woman) responded to Griffin’s slogan by saying “I think most of the people would feel kind of offended by that.”
Donald Downs, a free speech expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said approving the ballot language would have made it difficult to reject a hypothetical case in which a white candidate said he was not beholden to the “black man.” He said that the board was probably within its rights to restrict the speech because the ballot was, in a sense, “providing a platform” for Griffin.
Ms. Griffin has announced that she will appeal the Accountability Board’s decision in federal court. The lovely and eloquent Ms. Griffin is also NOT the “lawyers b***h” as evidenced by her stated intent to represent herself.
If only we could convince Ieshuh to join us for a milk-shake summit at Arnold’s Drive In.