Last week was good for Wisconsin basketball fans, and in turn, for Wisconsin morale.
The small-market Milwaukee Bucks, with a young team and few superstars, came back from a 3-2 game deficit to win the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the huge-market Brooklyn Nets with arguably the most talented roster in the NBA.
To me, the defensive performance by relatively obscure player PJ Tucker, by constantly frustrating superstar Kevin Durant in game 6 and by making clutch turnovers in game 7, was a big reason the Bucks won.
It was a David versus Goliath series—with the underdog believing they could do the impossible, maintaining a “can-do” attitude in the face of adversity, and in short, “thinking big.”
In between games, I flew to Manhattan to visit a friend and while on the plane read the chapter in Barack Obama’s new book “Promised Land” about how he got the Affordable Care Act passed. By the end of the story, I was in tears.
The Obama administration, with a once-in-a-lifetime filibuster-beating supermajority in the Senate, just BARELY passed the bill. It took an all-hands-on-deck effort and the courage of many politicians who put their careers on the line to get that legislation over the finish line. Although it was imperfect policy, the Affordable Care Act helped insure millions of Americans who had previously fallen through the cracks and most importantly protected those with pre-existing conditions who were previously boxed out the system.
I couldn’t help but make the connection between the Buck’s latest victory and the Obama administration’s signature legislative victory—believing in the impossible, maintaining a “can-do” attitude in the face of adversity, and in short, “thinking big.”
“Thinking big” is in America’s bones and has been at the heart of our greatest achievements—freeing slaves, defeating the Nazis, breaking trusts, forming unions, establishing land-grant universities, winning the civil rights movement, and creating Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, among many others.
We do great things when we “think big,” but on the flip-side, we fail when we think small.
Just this week in Wisconsin, there was a lot of small thinking.
Our Congressman Tom Tiffany was one of the 14 representatives out of 415 that voted against establishing Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves. Our Senator Ron Johnson, who blocked Juneteenth legislation last year, was roundly booed at the Juneteenth celebration in Milwaukee after again objecting to the bill until the 11th hour.
With more small thinking, our cowardly Republican-led state legislature who does the bidding of cynical leader Robin Vos, is refusing to meet the bare minimum investment in our public schools necessary to trigger $2.3 billion federal tax dollars coming home to Wisconsin. Why? because Vos wants to score political points against our governor. In response, We created some graphs to share so that Northern Wisconsinites can call their legislators to express their continued frustration.
This same corrupt Republican majority also removed practically all the money Governor Evers set aside to help Wisconsin protect its citizens from PFAS contamination. To learn more about this, watch our podcast this week interviewing clean water activist Doug Oitzinger from Marinette and City Administrator Doug Vruwink from Rhinelander—two cities currently being harmed by PFAS pollution.
We at the Minocqua Brewing Company, a tiny company in a tiny mostly-Republican rural town, refuse to think small. Somehow we refused to lie down and give up during Covid and have turned our brewpub into a production brewery now distributing #progressivebeer to the entire state, and just last week saw our names again in national news. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin brought Vice President Harris the beer we made in her honor to an all-female U.S. Senator Dinner Party, and Politico Magazine apparently thought that was pretty cool.
We will continue to think big and believe that we can make politics in Northern Wisconsin less corrupt by ridding ourselves of the small and cynical Tom Tiffany and Ron Johnson, and the small and cowardly Republican state legislators wholly-owned by the pollution lobby. And by fixing Northern Wisconsin, we can ensure Wisconsin turns blue and does its part to fix America.
We welcome your support, and doing that couldn’t be much easier. Just buy our beer or some beer-themed t-shirts. 5% of our profits go to our Super PAC affectionately nicknamed “Dark Money Meant for Good.”
Alternatively, if you’re not a beer fan and you want more of your dollars to go directly to the Super PAC, feel free to donate here.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for believing that by "thinking big," we can Make Wisconsin Great Again, one beer at a time.
Kirk Bangstad, Owner of the Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC