Milwaukee-Area Residents Across The Political Aisle React To The Insurrection And New Administration

Jan 27, 2021

People in Wisconsin and elsewhere have watched an insurrection, an impeachment and an inauguration unfold over the past three weeks in the Nation’s Capitol.

Van Mobley, Dennis Walton and Othman Atta all live in the Milwaukee-area and each processed the events and what they would like to see from the new administration differently.

Van Mobley is the village president of Thiensville and says despite voting for former President Donald Trump, he wants President Joe Biden to do the best job he can and that includes wanting him to follow in the footsteps of Trump.

“I certainly hope that Biden will follow some of Trump's line on some of the foreign policy, for example, Trump's foreign policy featured extraction from the Middle East, and putting Iran in a box. Now, I think that that's a very good policy and Biden, although he ran against it, he's still has wiggle room,” says Mobley.

He says he could support the upcoming stimulus bill and thinks there is a possibility it can be passed in a bipartisan way.

Mobley condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters but says those who stormed the Capitol should not be called terrorists and that Trump himself crossed no lines in his rhetoric to his supporters before the attack.

“I think politicians who call for people to fight and work hard and protest, that's what people do in the United States. And that's fine. The question is violence. I don't think that the people who went down there to the riot, I don't think that they were terrorists,” he says.

Dennis Walton identifies as an Independent and he did not cast his ballot for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

“It was so much bickering between the parties, and the identity politics. And it was almost like choosing what gang are you in, you know, I really saw a lack of respect for each institution, whether it be Republican or Democrat, you know, Democrats had zero respect for Republicans, Republicans had zero respect for Democrats,” says Walton.

In terms of policy, Walton is focused on the criminal justice system and bringing families back together.

“We need to look very closely at, you know, the criminal justice system, there's a serious imbalance. You know, as far as people of color being incarcerated, we need to look at the laws that are affecting communities that have people unfairly and unjustly being incarcerated and bring balance to that system,” he says.

Walton has hope that the Biden administration will push for policies like expungement laws for those who have served their time and some form of reparations for Black Americans.

As the impeachment trial nears, he says politicians should ask whether it can be used to bring the country together and not further push the divide.

“With the impeachment, I think we have to be practical about is that something that's going to be accomplished? Is it something that's going to continue to further divide the country? Or is it going to give us the opportunity to heal and bring closure to the presidency that we want to get beyond and get past right now?” he says.

Othman Atta says he has almost always voted for Democrats and he cast his vote for Joe Biden in this last election.

His focus is on what President Biden will do on immigration policy.

“There's a lot of changes that are needed, especially to reverse many of the things that the Trump administration tried to do. The Muslim ban, limiting immigrants from coming here or visiting here, DACA. You know, stopping the entry of refugees as part of established programs of the United States that have been in existence for four decades,” he says.

Some other issues on Atta’s mind are the slow roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, climate change and the U.S.’ treatment of foreign dictators.

He says when it comes to the insurrection, he doesn’t want to paint all Trump supporters as extremists but that there needs to be more of an effort to condemn those who support the attack on the Capitol.

“It's kind of like, where Muslims were told, ‘hey, you guys got to condemn groups such as ISIS. Because you you're allowing them to do what they're doing if you don’t condemn them’,” he says. “Now we're expecting people to condemn people like Trump, and Cruz and all of these others who were really inciting people to do the kind of things they did.”