Letter: ‘Widespread corruption’ found in Wisconsin courts

Editor’s note: World Day of Social Justice is on Feb. 20.

To the Editor-

In recognition of World Social Justice Day, I engaged in a community-in-action call to view and discuss the documentary: “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

According to Lewis, “My philosophy is simple. When you see something that’s not right, not just, not fair, say something, do something.” That’s pretty much the teaching given to elementary students in school bullying prevention efforts. Adults, how can we hear what you teach when your leadership actions speak so loudly?

The Christine Center, located in west central Wisconsin, hosted the community-in-action call. It is an interfaith retreat center, grounded in the Franciscan tradition whose mission is: Spiritual Deepening for Global Transformation. In that vein, they offer abundant programming, online and in person to grow a more just, compassionate, sustainable and inclusive world.

In Wisconsin, we have trouble. A group of dedicated, loving fathers, most notably organized under the title Wisconsin For Children and Families (WFCF) anguished by Wisconsin child support policy, often living a shoestring, would be qualified candidates for 50/50 placement of their children. However, the government does not make money from a 50/50 approach. Having child support standard orders with inequitable placement does not feed a robust cadre of workers and lawyers and judicial hours to support it. In many instances, children carry the pain of the drama and trauma the courts draw out and even encourage. Some families and children are, unbeknownst, placed on the fast track to the real money maker; foster care. Wonder why child human trafficking is on the rise in Wisconsin, described as an epidemic? Isolated and traumatized children, looking for love in all the wrong places, are cut off from regular familial caring connections.

There is widespread corruption in our Wisconsin courts. Some judges and family court commissioners, much like child protective services, have very little oversight, emphasize confidentially, and engage in wide ranging opportunities to abuse their powers and prey on the weak.

These systems are reactive to being called out — if someone is saying something — much like a schoolyard bully. Watch your back; then comes retaliation and abuse of power. There are networks of parents seeing that they are treated as playthings, or annoyances, or enemies when seeking loving connections with their children.

When experiencing something not just, not fair, I said something, took some self-represented reins. This led to punishment in the form of further legal abuse. It does not feed the monetary objectives of the system and challenges the patriarchy/power. Then, powered by modem, I saw a cartoon that hit home; see no family court evil, hear no family court evil, speak no family court evil. Oops, too late. In the John Lewis documentary, in a moment preceding the police batons and beatings he was told “there would be no words” to consider alternatives to the impending violence.

Anybody reading this see any patterns?

What is becoming clear is governmental systems have only grown more corrupt. In a report published by The Center for Public Integrity headlines: Wisconsin gets D grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation. Noteworthy to this review are F’s given in the areas of Judicial Accountability, State Civil Service Management, and Public Access to Information.

We seek to address youth mental and pour money into mental health bandaids, but fail to look at some of the roots of violence in policy and practice. And yes, the networking on social media, and the power of the internet can be educational. Discernment, and critical thinking are important. So are open minds, open hearts, and open will. That is how we access the field of the future.

Perhaps we need more people to say something to achieve this — good trouble, necessary trouble. While speaking, always know your opinion is just that….open to differences, adjustment, and refinement.

Cheryl Geske

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