Dear Ron


Dear Ron Johnson,

I read your pathetic excuse of a press release, the one in which you try to make yourself appear morally upstanding about reversing your position on accepting the results of the electoral college, and I must admit I was not impressed. Changing your vote at the last minute after the Capitol was stormed, while defending what you really wanted to do and say is hypocrisy (and a weak attempt at self-preservation) at its best. You have been an apologist for Donald Trump for four years. You stood up for him, defended him for his entire term, and supported him in his lies and false claims about election fraud. You don’t get to suddenly try to stand apart and try to act sorrowful about the attack on the Capitol when you are one of the ones responsible for it happening. You have blood on your hands and a stain on your soul.

I have some nitpicking to do about your press release.

You started it with this: “I refuse to dismiss the legitimate concerns of tens of millions of Americans who have lost faith in our institutions and the fairness of our electoral process.” I ask you–what about the tens of millions who have lost faith in the Republican party and who do have faith in our electoral system? You are so partisan you only see one side of the issue, and based on the responses (and lack of responses) Wisconsin citizens have gotten (or not) from you from phone calls and e-mails, it seems you are perfectly fine with dismissing the legitimate concerns of your constituents, the people you were elected to represent, while kowtowing to conspiracy theorists, QAnon adherents, and miscellaneous other far-right-wing fanatics. You don’t care about any of us unless we stand with you politically, though you were elected to represent all of Wisconsin.

I also take issue with your characterization of the F. B. I. as corrupt simply because they conducted a legitimate investigation into Russian election interference. If you were truly concerned about election integrity you would have backed this investigation.

Your comment about the “grossly biased media that has chosen sides and uses its power to interfere in our politics” is both laughable and shockingly naïve. You realize media is plural, right? There are hundreds upon hundreds of media sources in this country. Which powerful media are you referring to here? Fox News? Breitbart? Daily Caller? Drudge Report? Newsmax? OANN? Washington Times? National Review? All of the Sinclair Broadcasting group? All of Rupert Murdoch’s holdings? Or are you only concerned about CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, and other media that don’t broadcast only right-wing ideology? Do you know your history? Do you know that politicians and their supporters have historically founded newspapers and other media? Why do you think that papers were given names like the Republican Journal, the Democrat, the Independent? The idea of an independent, objective journalism has never been real. All media personnel bring their own personal opinions into what they do. We have always been able to determine whether a newspaper, magazine, radio/TV station is right or left politically and that slant is going to impact their coverage. The best of them strive to be objective, but it is an impossible goal. The bulk of them push their viewpoints and citizens gravitate to the ones that best reflect their own beliefs. So don’t give us your sanctimonious crap about the liberal media when the right-wing media has dominated much of the last several decades and helped to lead us into the divided country we have become.

It would be a waste of time to try to refute all of your ridiculous assertions about election fraud when they are simply a rehashing of the many accusations that have been leveled by Trump and proven false by reporters, researchers, judges, and election officials. To assume that there are scads of dead people voting based on a few who have tried to vote as people who were dead (two in Georgia and one Trump voter in another state that I can recall offhand) is an absurd stretch. To say that people who have moved from a state voted illegally in the state they left is misleading at best. That was brought up in Nevada and it was determined that most of those were military personnel stationed elsewhere who had the right to vote in their home state of Nevada. In Georgia, election officials determined that there were many people who had moved out of state and moved back, but it was not simply to vote. Some of them had been back for years. You talk about “large Democrat-controlled counties waiting until after Republican counties have reported and then dumping their vote totals in the wee hours of the morning” as if this isn’t normal in an election. Because they are large counties, it takes longer to count the votes and larger urban areas tend to be more Democratic-leaning just as smaller more rural areas tend to be more Republican. They are not waiting for the Republican votes and then dumping theirs. And don’t try to pretend you don’t know this. You may be stupid, but you’re not that stupid.

To presume there was widespread election fraud in this past election, or any election, is to presume that there is a larger conspiracy network than any debunked conspiracy theory ever invented. You would have to have poll workers and election officials in every county, politicians in every state, judges in every court, citizens across the country, and more actively participating in the scheme to make it work. For you to believe this, you would have to believe that the majority of the people in your state are not trustworthy and if you don’t trust your own constituents any more than that, it is no wonder that we do not trust you. It is no wonder that we want you to stick to your promise of not running for another term as Senator. We can’t trust you to have our best interests at heart. The equivocation of your press release proves that far more than anything you have presented proves election fraud. Your proof is nothing more than parroting of the right-wing echo chamber and your chosen leader because you can’t think for yourself. You and that echo chamber led directly to the attack on our Capitol. Do us a favor and don’t wait to decide about the next election. Resign now and spare us the next two years.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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