When will Easter Arrive in Wisconsin and America?

When will Easter Arrive in Wisconsin and America?

"Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul."— Victor Hugo

"If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave but it won't stay there."– Clarence W. Hall

"I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and true love. Don't even try to tell me different."– Dolly Parton

While going to graduate school at Northwestern as a vocal performance major, I was a paid tenor “ringer” in the Kenilworth Union Church Choir just north of Evanston, IL.

KUC’s Reverend Gilbert Bowen was one of the most erudite pastors I’ve known, ranking right up there with Reverend Peter Gomes at Harvard and Reverend Scott Black Johnston from the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City (who incidentally married my late wife and I).

On one Easter Sunday, Rev. Bowen said something that I still remember today. He gave his congregation “permission” to not believe every word in the bible as “fact,” but to instead think of the sacred book as an enduring and wonderful allegory to be consulted throughout life for spiritual guidance.

He didn’t force us to have “Faith” that Christ actually rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, but suggested we embrace the healing power of the THEMES of resurrection:

Spring awakens us from Winter’s sleep.
Light pushes out darkness.
Good overcomes evil.
Truth pushes out lies.

All of these universal themes are wrapped up in the Resurrection story, and that’s why it is still relevant today.

As I read the news day in and day out, I ache for the day when America finally gets its own “resurrection” from the massive and ongoing attempts to destroy our institutions and upend democracy.

From Trump’s never-ending lies to the overwhelming evidence of insurrection presented to us by the Jan. 6 committee, to the indisputable evidence of Russian political infiltration into our media and Congress in order stop us from helping Ukraine, I pray for the day that this all goes away and we can take a deep, long, hot shower--and collectively wash the stench of MAGA forever off of us.

Resurrection, redemption, light, truth, justice. When will Easter come to United States of America?

When will our judicial system hold Trump and his accomplices accountable, so we can move on as a country?

As I write this, I can’t help but see the similarities between Trump’s ongoing attacks on our judicial system--accusing multiple judges of political persecution, and my ongoing accusations of political persecution in an almost three-year defamation case overseen by a rural judge in Forest County (population 8K).

At least in Wisconsin, there’s no doubt that I’m considered by many to be the flip-side of the Trump coin—a blowhard liberal trying to save his arse by screaming “political persecution” while justice marches on.

Even I roll my eyes thinking about how my own political persecution message becomes more diluted with every attempt by Trump to intimidate his judges.

Well, as diluted as my message may be, I maintain that there is one big difference between Donald Trump and me.

I’m right and he’s wrong:)

To this day, I believe that the Lakeland Times' publisher Gregg Walker is a dishonest crook who uses his newspaper to manipulate voters in Northern Wisconsin by regurgitating Republican/Russian misinformation (with articles like this one entitled “The FBI Must Be Abolished”) to both maintain his own political influence over the area and to help Republicans hold onto power throughout the state.

I believe my company has become one of the only voices loud enough in this deeply conservative area to speak truth to the rural cancer that is Gregg Walker, and I’ll never stop doing that no matter how long I’m forced to endure an absurd, rural, meritless defamation lawsuit.

Just last week, I was told by my lawyer that while he thinks we are certain to win this case on appeal given how many mistakes were made in my defense and during the trial, Judge Stenz has allowed Attorney Matt Fernholz, who I’ve argued IS the legal arm of Wisconsin’s Republican Party, to once again depose me under oath about my personal financial history, my company’s financial history, and my progressive political Super PAC-- none of which has anything to do with this defamation lawsuit.

And guess who is legally allowed to be present during this deposition while I’m under oath? The publisher of an alt-right partisan rag that has already written over 65 hit pieces against me over the last several years.

How can it be legal for a deeply partisan newspaper looking to dig up dirt on me to be privy to a deposition where objections are made in real time—meaning that if a judge concurs, those objected-to answers never make it into a public court record, which is the only record the media should legally have access to?

As I ache for Trump to finally be held accountable, I also ache for the moment that my own lawsuit is taken up on appeal by a higher court so that I can be finally rid of Judge Stenz. It is unreal that this one man from a county that most people on the planet will never visit has this much influence on my life.

Thus I turn back to the theme of resurrection and the healing it brings. In contrast to Donald Trump, I do believe in our system of justice. I believe that the system works because there are smarter appellate court judges higher up within the system, and that the checks and balances those judges bring to the system help correct errors made in earlier trials.

I believe that eventually, I will be redeemed in this lawsuit and I’ll be able to take a long, hot shower--and forever wash the vile, dishonest, and cynical stench of Gregg Walker and Matt Fernholz off of me.

After writing about how I’ve fired my insurance company’s legal team for gross negligence and a massive conflict of interest (given that my insurance company is trying to get out of paying damages), I was able to raise over $50K from you, with approximately $50 per donation from over 1K supporters.

I believe that this fundraising effort will sustain my defense for several more months, but it unfortunately hurts my Super PAC’s ability to move forward with our lawsuit to end the parasitic private school voucher system in Wisconsin and support President Biden through billboard and radio advertising in this all-important swing state.

This is exactly what the Republican Party wants—to tie my company and my Super PAC up in court so that I can’t use those resources to help keep Wisconsin blue.

While I’m working with other organizations to figure out ways to pass the baton if we get too embroiled in litigation, I’d prefer to work with my own team to take down voucher schools and help take down Donald Trump in Wisconsin. 

I can do that with more resources, and if you’ve been happy with the results of our efforts to get Governor Evers and Justice Protasiewicz elected in the past, as well as our efforts to end gerrymandering, enforce mask mandates, and get Trump off of Wisconsin’s ballot, then please help us keep fighting by donating here.

While jogging yesterday up in Minocqua, the song “The Prayer” started playing in my earpods/buds.
The song is cheesy as hell, but I’ve sung it many times in my life and it makes me emotional every time I hear it.
As I write the closing to this week’s Easter missive, the lyrics from the first verse of "The Prayer" seem like a good postlude.
I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting the Minocqua Brewing Company.
Together, God willing, we’ll find our way back to light and resurrection in both Wisconsin and America, and wash this dark period in history off of us forever.
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC

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