Milwaukee business owners don’t all want the RNC
In recent weeks, a number of community organizations including Voces de la Frontera, SEIU, and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) that have come out in opposition to the Republican National Committee choosing Milwaukee for its convention in 2024. The argument from many tourism, hospitality, and other industry groups has been that it will be an economic boon for the city and local businesses. As small business owners and active members of the Milwaukee community, we want to state unequivocally: We want nothing to do with the RNC’s money.
We are parents to a trans son and a non binary child. Members of the RNC would like us charged with child abuse. They believe we should have all our children taken from our custody for supporting and loving our kids while they live their true identity. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated “There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly.” Robert Foster, a Mississippi state representative, went further and actually called for the death penalty for parents like us, tweeting: “Some of y’all still want to try and find political compromise with those that want to groom our school aged children and pretend men are women, etc. I think they need to be lined up against [a] wall before a firing squad to be sent to an early judgment.”
Many of our friends, employees, and customers are members of the LGBT community. Members of the RNC claim this is the same as child sexual abuse. From the former Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W. Jackson: “I know their people say, well, ‘It’s unfair to associate homosexuality with pedophilia or some of these other perversions.’ But I believe that there is a direct connection, because what they really want is absolute sexual freedom.” Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman parroted this ancient and false talking point after Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill was signed into law earlier this spring, stating that the only people who would be opposed to the bill would be “a groomer or at least [someone who doesn’t] denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old.”
For several years, we had a young man who come to the U.S. from Honduras living with us. He left Honduras because of gang violence and direct threats to his life, and applied for asylum at the U.S. border, as is his right under the Geneva Conventions. The last Republican president believed that he and other immigrants should be killed, tortured, or maimed while they tried to come to safety. Advisors told the New York Times: “[President DonaldTrump] wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.” Latin American migrants weren’t the only targets of Trump’s anti-immigration stance. He repeatedly referred to African countries as “sh-thole nations” and said that if we allowed in immigrants from Nigeria, they would “never go back to their huts.”
Many of our friends, employees, and a huge portion of the Milwaukee community are Black. Richard Spencer, the alt-right neo-Nazi who organized the “Unite the Right” marches in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer and the injuries of countless others, bragged about Trump and the RNC, “There is no question that Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump. It really was because of his campaign and this new potential for a nationalist candidate who was resonating with the public in a very intense way. The alt-right found something in Trump. He changed the paradigm and made this kind of public presence of the alt-right possible.” While asserting that the men who chanted “Jews will not replace us” were “very fine people”, Trump called the simple assertion that Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate” and made countless other disgusting statements about shooting racial justice protesters (again, like immigrants, just in the legs… What a nice guy). He excitedly claimed “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
This is a small representative sampling, but we could go on. We can speak at length about Republicans crippling businesses like mine (or other Milwaukee treasures) by refusing to support federal relief for small businesses during the pandemic. We could talk about the desire to strip bodily autonomy from every person in this country with a uterus. We could explore the vicious attacks on parents whose children were murdered with AR-15s, called “crisis actors”, accused of “politicizing” their own babies’ murders. But discussing this further is a waste of our time.
We want no part of this grotesque groveling to the worst people in the country. We will not have our business’ reputation or money tied to people who would see our children, friends and neighbors subjugated or dead. We don’t want our membership dues in Milwaukee business associations used to give credibility to these beliefs. Advocating for businesses is not the same as advocating for the most vulnerable members of the community. There is no amount of “economic benefit” to the community that could possibly make this worthwhile. We’ve terminated our membership in an organization actively advocating for the RNC, and against our neighbors. Especially now, as Congress hears the horrifying testimony about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, sanctioned by Trump and defended a “legitimate political discourse” by the Republican Party, industry and tourism groups that support bringing the RNC to Milwaukee should stop and consider the price of doing business with this group to our community.
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