Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
If you voted in Tuesday's primary election, your ballot directed you to select a political party and vote only for candidates from that party. There were three parties to choose from- Democrats, Republicans, and the Constitution Party. Many people (including me) wondered, "What the heck is the Constitution Party?". Upon examination, I found them to be a group of religious zealots that resembles an American Christian Taliban.
The national Constitution Party is descended from the U.S. Taxpayers Party, started in 1992. The party attracts many of the same folks as the Republican/Tea Party. According to a 2014 fund-raising letter, "Pro-lifers ... homeschoolers ... end the Fed advocates ... opponents of the UN and other organizations that challenge US sovereignty ... all are voter blocs we are trying to reach. "
The national party website lists such key issues as "gun control" (against), Common Core (against), Obamacare (against), "amnesty" (against), and the dreaded Agenda 21 (against). All of these positions are closely aligned with today's extreme right-shifted Republican Party. The group further calls for the abolition of the Department of Education. In a nod to a government-mandated religion, the group frighteningly says, "All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith."
The Constitution Party was one of only three parties with a candidate on the Wisconsin 2012 Presidential ballot. Virgil Goode garnered 121,452 votes nationwide, 4,930 (0.16%) in Wisconsin, and 122 in Washington County.
This year, the Wisconsin Constitution party (CPoW) is running two candidates for statewide office, Jerry Broitzman for Secretary of State and Andrew Zuelke for State Treasurer. The state party appears to be even more aligned to a fundamentalist Christian agenda than does the national organization.
At the 2011 state Constitution Party convention, Chairman Riley Hood stated, "I’m committed to the goal of CPoW; placing righteous men into positions of authority. America was founded as a Christian Nation; CPoW wants to restore the Republic. CPoW was founded as a Bible-based, political party; it is my God-given duty to see that it remains so."
Both statewide candidates support the abolition of reproductive freedom. A July CPoW press release reveals, "Andrew (Zuelke) and Jerry (Broitzman) mean to see abortion, surgical and chemical, re-criminalized in the State of Wisconsin. Andrew and Jerry support the Personhood Amendment to the Wisconsin State Constitution. They further affirm that there are no circumstances in which it is morally right to murder an innocent person, thus there are no circumstances in which abortion is permissible. "
And the group doesn't just want to control your reproductive freedom. They also want to control your sex life. The party leadership strongly opposes marriage equality. In posting an article about Republican governors' decreased opposition to gay rights, Broitzman comments, "God calls sodomy an abomination. Apparently, the Republican Party doesn’t think so. Not even Governor Scott Walker. There is only one party who stands against sodomy; that is the Constitution Party."
If the lads at CPoW get their way, forget about that trip to Potawatomi. In a May editorial, the state CPoW chair railed against gambling, saying, "The Constitution Party of Wisconsin (CPoW) is foursquare against any form of gambling. From our platform, “Gambling promotes an increase in crime, destruction of family values, and a decline in the moral fiber of our country.”
In a January editorial Broitzman further expanded on his agenda for Wisconsin, opinining "We will restore the moral order as found in God’s Word and restore the constitutional principles on which this country was founded. At CPoW, morality is Job #1." At least, their version of morality.
As the state platform ominously avows, "We call for the impeachment and removal of all such politicians who refuse to enforce the Moral Order."
Fortunately, the state Constitution Party is small. We won't be subjected to CPoW's theocratic rule any time soon. Party candidates attract only a handful of votes. And the group will remain small so long as they remain attached to such fringe ideas as abolishing Common Core (sorry, Germantown!), doing away with income taxes, birtherism, and advocating so-called Creation Science in schools.
To show how bizarre the world view of CPoW leadership is, here is an excerpt from their party platform, describing the Madison protests: "As recently as Spring 2011, a mob of Communists and other Socialists took over our State Capitol, while promoting abortion and sodomy as well, chanting the same old slogans, “God is Dead,” “If it feels good do it” “Make Love Not War,” in addition to shouts of “Change” and “Democracy” which are also decades old as well...,". I totally missed seeing that take-over of Madison by Communists promoting sodomy and shouting atheistic slogans!
At best, the Constitution Party is composed of a gang of sad and silly far-right kooks, who find a UN conspiracy behind every tree. At worst, it is a wannabe American Taliban, bent on forcing their fundamental Christian religious beliefs on the rest of us. Such an extreme group is best kept at the fringe of our political discourse and far away from power.