Rural Wisconsin is Already Fighting a Cold Civil War

Rural Wisconsin is Already Fighting a Cold Civil War

So if I could tell President Biden one thing, it’s that in certain parts of the country, like in Northern Wisconsin, Americans are already fighting a cold civil war.

And the only way to stop it is to get rid of the filibuster, then pass the "For the People Act" to protect voting rights, then pass an updated version of "The Fairness Doctrine" to prevent the misinformation spread by the likes of Tucker Carlson that foments violence on the right.

That was a lot to say in one paragraph, but if I only had Biden’s ear for the length of an elevator ride, that is what I would say, while gripping his hand tightly to show I’m deadly serious.

Here’s why:

I feel like Northern Wisconsin is the canary in the coal mine for those on the coasts living among like-minded progressives who might not believe that the alt-right is ready to take up arms in many small towns across the Midwest, on everything from guns to elections to vaccinations.

Vaccinations? Yes.

I believe this because my Facebook post yesterday inviting people to a vaccination party and beer giveaway to the “vaccine hesitant” created a backlash arguably more fierce than when I put a huge Biden sign on my building a month before the presidential election.

Here’s the background:

I posted a provocative picture of a young couple kissing at an outdoor festival with the headline “Want a Taste of Real Freedom? Vaccination Party, May 29, Must Present Proof of Vaccination to Attend.”

The idea was that I’d host a great outdoor party at our new Tap Room in Minocqua on one of the busiest tourism days of the season, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but only allow people who have been vaccinated and have waited the requisite two weeks for full protection to attend. Not only that but we’d promise to give a free can of beer to anyone that showed they had at least one vaccine shot in the month of May (and of course were of legal age to drink). These “one-shotters” couldn’t attend the party, but they, who were by definition “vaccine hesitant” because they waited until now to get the vaccine, would be rewarded for taking the plunge.

Seems like a good idea right? We’re trying to normalize what is already happening on the coasts--proof of vaccination to attend public events-- and incentivize the folks who are scared of taking the vaccine to get over the hump so we can reach herd immunity and finally be done with this horrid virus.

It is a good idea, and we’re convinced that it is, but to see the comments on our Facebook Page, you’d think we announced we were going to boil children alive.

“You’re a Fascist,” “Go Back to Nazi Germany,” “You’re Committing Medical Apartheid,” “You’re Breaking the Law,” “It’s Unconstitutional,” “You’re a Segregationist,” “What about MY Freedom to NOT Get Vaccinated?”

And the best one: “A heroin addict knows more about what he is putting into his body than we know about this vaccine.”

We already know of groups that are ready to protest this party, and I now think that I’ll need to beef up security to ensure the safety of my guests—all because I’m encouraging people to get vaccinated.

My girlfriend is telling me “Maybe you should chill out on this party and focus on gerrymandering, it could be dangerous.”

My response to that is “let’s have four simultaneous parties all throughout Northern Wisconsin to encourage as many people to get vaccinated as possible.”

And the reason I want to go big is because, in my mind, if we’re gonna have a civil war, it might as well happen before the Democrats get trounced in 2022 because many of the current 361 bills introduced in 43 states trampling on voting rights gets passed, our legislature falls to the Trump Cult, they potentially impeach our current president or refuse to validate the next Democratic presidential victory, and we become an authoritarian state.

I say if there’s gonna be violence, let it come now because the Democrats currently in power need to WAKE UP and see this canary faint in Northern Wisconsin so they can get out of the coal mine filled with the noxious fumes of domestic terrorism and ACT NOW to strengthen our democracy.

Is this an alarmist post? Yes.

Am I generally an alarmist person? No. If you would have asked me if I would be writing this essay a decade ago I would have fallen out of my chair. I am not an alarmist person but we are living in alarming times, especially in rural America where many have left for the coasts in search of better opportunities.

So I ask anyone reading this to please forward it on to our President, Vice President, and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate who have the power to abolish the filibuster and pass the legislation desperately needed to shore up our democracy.

And yes, we’re currently working on having vaccination parties and beer giveaways in four Northern Wisconsin cities on May 29th, because encouraging more people to get vaccinated before the busy tourism season starts “Up North” is the right thing to do, regardless of the whether or not these parties bring out gun-toting conspiracy theorists in the process.

And yes, I will be sending out another post to help raise money to offset the cost of free beer to the "vaccine hesitant" for our vaccination parties, I just have no idea how much its gonna cost so need a bit more time to figure it out:)

Thanks for reading, and thanks for helping Make Wisconsin Great Again, one beer at a time.

Kirk Bangstad, Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company and Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC
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