On March 8, we published the story “Dems propose Wisconsin ERA.”

The annual event put on by several Democratic legislators seeks to add an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution for protections that Republicans say are already covered in the existing state constitution.

Nobody is going to argue that every human should be guaranteed equal rights and the same protection of those rights under the constitution. But the last paragraph in the story is what’s driving me nuts because I don’t believe it and it points to exactly what’s dividing us.

The paragraph read, “Rep. Lee Snodgrass, D-Appleton, said the Wisconsin ERA would clarify and strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ residents who continue to face high levels of discrimination and harassment in employment, housing, education and health care.”

I first tried to contact Snodgrass through two different emails and did not receive a reply. I then did some searching on my own and did not find incidents of discrimination and harassment at any level, but mostly found sources and state government websites for equal rights and protection from discrimination and harassment.

We’ve always had liberal views and conservative views. In my opinion, what’s changed is that we’ve elected political activists instead of public servants who take the stage and push their activist agenda, regardless of facts, and sometimes we publish those comments.

For the last several years we’ve moved from who lied to who lies less. The only way to correct that is to make politicians prove their bold, blanket statements before we agree to publish them.

It seems that gone are the days that we take people at their word when bold statements are made. We can’t fact-check everything, but in this case a response from the legislator would have triggered a “Wow, I didn’t know that was a problem in our community,” response. Instead, it has become a lesson in fact-checking.

I don’t believe there is a high level of harassment and discrimination to the LGBTQ+ community in employment, housing, education and health care. I believe Snodgrass is irresponsible in making that statement because I believe in the humanity of Wisconsinites more than I believe in the nonsense activist politicians try to get us to believe.

Prove me wrong.

Rickman is publisher of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.