Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen Stoughtonites rise like a tide beneath our community.

Our teachers and school staff converted 13 grades of curriculum into an online learning format in less than a week, and parents and students traversed the glitches with quiet patience. Business owners and employees showed extreme resilience as they switched to new ways of delivering goods and services — while weighed down by fear of what the future holds — and we maintained our loyal support. Healthcare workers waded through the dangers of COVID-19 every single day to save lives while risking their own and those of their families.

Here and all over the state, people are helping neighbors. People are doing something. But our Legislative leaders do nothing.

They won’t adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to act in the best interest of our statewide community. When Gov. Tony Evers called on our representatives to convene on April 4 and vote to move to a mail-in only election — to protect the lives of our citizens and dedicated poll workers — Republican leaders couldn’t put politics aside, just for a moment, to protect the people they claim to represent.

Not even for a national pandemic, could they rise above their repugnant partisanship.

These leaders hide behind vague, obtuse claims of “confusion” and “voter behavior distortion,” knowing full well that moving forward with an in-person election will result in lower voter turnout, especially in larger cities. They know this will benefit conservatives at the polls and increase the chances of planting the candidate they back on the state supreme court bench.

They even oppose a week-long extension of the absentee ballot deadline, a modest adjustment in extraordinary times.

Only for this shameful effort to curb voter rights will they open their slack mouths and shout a disingenuous appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But they won’t lift an indolent finger to protect you.

It’s a cold, callous calculation, made at the potential cost of thousands of lives. It’s abhorrent. It’s cowardly.

Meanwhile, concerned, forward-thinking mayors across Wisconsin have asked the state health secretary to delay the spring election, something most states have already done.

When you cast your votes in the months ahead, remember who looked out for you during this critical time. It wasn’t the GOP in our state Legislature. They were too busy playing politics — and playing with your lives.

Nik Hawkins

City of Stoughton