Republicans and Democrats came together on April 9 to honor the brave men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard who recently served our country on the southern border.

Steve Doyle mug


They sacrificed their holidays so troops who had been defending our border could take time off to be with their families. I felt inspired by them and proud to be an American from Wisconsin as I heard their stories.

In the Assembly Chambers that day, we weren’t Democrats or Republicans — we were Americans.

A few days ago, La Crosse County Republican Party Chairman Bill Feehan became the only person in the state to turn that event into a partisan hit. By falsely claiming that I and other Democrats disrespected members of the National Guard, he, in fact, was the one who showed disrespect.

Four times during the ceremony, Republicans and Democrats alike gave our National Guard members standing ovations. Beyond that, there were numerous times we interrupted the speaker with rounds of applause.

Unfortunately, there was one moment that the speaker wandered into partisan territory, and Democrats chose not to stand. It was clear by the looks on the faces of some of the Guard members that they were uncomfortable that politics was interjected by the speaker.

I could see their reactions — I sit in the front row.

I remember to this day a lesson I learned in fifth grade at St. James School on the North Side of La Crosse. Sister Delores, while teaching us about the 10 Commandments, said, “A lie is saying something not true; but a lie is also not telling the whole truth.”

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When Feehan posted a picture of Democrats sitting for one moment during the Guard ceremony, he wasn’t telling the whole truth. When he said that Democrats didn’t stand during the ceremony, he wasn’t telling the whole truth. Now, in his Tribune column, when he says that “Democrats did rise at the end for a moment of applause,” he isn’t telling the whole truth.

Read his column again and try to come away with any impression that Democrats did anything but sit on our hands, sulking.

Feehan says that “democracy dies in darkness.” I would respond by saying that our democracy is based on liberty — but not liberty from the truth.

Feehan posted a picture and an edited clip from the ceremony. That’s all he wanted you to see. However, I want you to see the whole thing. Take a few minutes and go to the Wisconsin Eye website. The relevant portion starts at 1:10:30 into the video. Afterward, let me know if you see even one sign of disrespect for our Guard members in between the wild cheering and applause from members of both parties.

I am proud of our Wisconsin National Guard. In fact, I invited the Guard member from my district to lunch in my office after the ceremony.

I also am proud of and thankful for all those who protect us — soldiers, sailors, police officers, firefighters. They put their lives on the line for us every day. We should not disrespect their service by making them pawns in a partisan grudge match.

Fortunately, there is only one person in our entire state who thinks otherwise.

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Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, represents the 94th District in the Wisconsin Assembly.


(15) comments


The reason the Guard were even present was because Dem Governor Evers called them back home because he did not support their mission.

Now, the Dems claiming support of the Guard's mission is ridiculous.


OK so follow Mr Doyles link.

At about 1:15.04 the Dems failed to stand for comments about the Wisconsin Guard's role in curtailing illegal immigration.

At about 1: 15.40 the Dems (except for a very few) failed to stand for comments about the Wisconsin Guard's role in curtailing illegal drugs.

Like it or not, that was the Guard's mission. Support it or not.

Mr Feehan wins this hands down.


This is the sort of krapp I hate about the current political climate. Time to shut up, Mr. Feehan. Stick to policy matters rather than focusing on this insignificant nonsense.


Actually illegal immigration and illegal drugs are important topics.

The Dems would rather have open borders and taxable drugs.

Dem Governor School Marm ordered these same fine soldiers off the border as one of his first acts as WI governor. I'm surprised the Dems clapped at all during this program as they obviously did not support their mission.


Illegal immigration and drugs were not the issue of Bill Feehan’s criticisms. His focus was on a video clip where he tried to play ‘gotcha’ because Democrats didn’t clap at the right time. It’s the same tired krapp Democrats try to pull on Republicans. #adhominem The tactic is petty and stupid no matter who does it.

Talk about the issues, ILLEGAL immigration and drug trafficking; not whether the legislators stood and clapped.


boy oh boy! Of all the problems we have facing this nation and state, someone always tries to drum up some other controversy to distract from the real problems. In this case Freehan is playing the "who is more patriotic" or "who loves our Guard members more" political game. And typical of the right wing fox news crowd they do by telling half truths mixed with lies. Aren't we beyond these childish games of "I love my country more than you"? I guess not for some. Playing these games about who is kneeling or sitting or going to the bathroom or not singing during a patriotic event shows desperation and a level of fascism that is beneath this country. Freehan if you have nothing constructive to add to promote the common good, then keep you mouth shut!


Feehan was slandered in this article: https://lacrossetribune.com/opinion/columnists/margaret-farrow-and-mark-meyer-la-crosse-county-gop-violated/article_5fa707a1-cb7f-5cfb-aa3d-572e0d0b0cdd.html

You know the one with multiple people asking for his response in the comments.


Veridic, please explain your charge of slander and provide evidence. I don't think you actually understand the meaning of the term.


"In violation of the network’s video user agreement with the Legislature, the La Crosse County Republican Party has used copyrighted WisconsinEye video and photographic images to publicly attack Democratic members of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Calls were made to Chair Bill Feehan. A request was made to delete the messages. Our request was rejected. It has since been learned that the messages were not accurate. In other words, a false narrative was built around the video that was used in breach of the WisconsinEye user agreement."

[violation of the network’s video user agreement]
Bill and the Lax GOP did not violate the user agreement. IF SO, SUE THEM.

[a false narrative was built around the video]
Suggests Bill lied. It's a video, it doesn't lie. They didn't clap for troops catching the illegal immigrants.


Typical outcry from a conservative. Who slandered who? Just a typical GOP attempt to smear with propaganda and then cry wolf when they're caught. Deny, deflect, then blame someone else. There is no honor amongst dirty, rotten schmucks like Feehan and his other red shirt patsies.


verdic must be the screen name for freehan. We could care less about your mud slinging and lies Bill. If you don't like what is going on run for office next election. Good luck with that, after this fiasco you would be defeated in a landslide


I always thought Redwall was Freehan.


yes you could very well be right there physics. Freehan and redwall, sounds very plausible.


"Redwall", care to respond?


you mean "freehan" care to respond?

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