Whether or not you’re from Wisconsin, you’re probably familiar with many of the stereotypes ascribed to those of us from the land of Green and Gold. We’re known for our cheese, our team (Go Pack!), our hospitality, and our mild-mannered nature. We’re known for our “Midwestern accent”–although I still have yet to notice this–and our small-town pride. We’ve even been referred to as “too polite”–as if there were such a thing!
In fact, we’re so polite, we found a way to fully embrace, even celebrate, these stereotypes that some would call superficial. We have entire festivals dedicated our homemade cheeses made with milk fresh from the local dairy farmer–Wisconsin is second nationwide in the number of family-run organic farms. On game day, cheeseheads abound, and everyone, whether a football fan or not, is sporting some green and gold attire–with the limited exception of those few Vikings fans who seem to have strayed across the border. We take pride in the rural small-town idyll of communities like Door County and Eagle River, where everyone is kind and courteous. These living stereotypes are just some of the many things that make Wisconsin such a great place to call home.
However, clinging to the past is no way to move forward as a state, and as such, a certain amount of change is required. After all, Wisconsin is known as the Progressive State.
Within the last year and a half, we seem to have lost sight of what truly makes Wisconsin great–the people.
While there are some things about the small-town stereotype I wouldn’t miss, the mild-mannered, polite nature of the small-town idyll is not one of them. Within the last year and a half, we seem to have lost sight of what truly makes Wisconsin great–the people. We have forgotten each other, the constant bombardment of political ads and rhetoric leaving behind it a mess of strained relationships and partisan turmoil.
A healthy democracy thrives on political discourse, but what we’ve had in Wisconsin in the last year and a half is anything but. It’s been misguided, disrespectful, and hurtful–from both sides. It’s been a dirty, messy fight for power, and as polite Wisconsinites, we know little good ever comes of a fight.
Let us move forward from this election, no matter the results, with the resolution to mind our manners–to return to civility. Because, let’s face it, Wisconsin: without our politeness, we might as well call ourselves Illinois.