This evening I attended a Racine town hall rally regarding (I say regarding instead of protesting because people from all sides were welcome, however…it was a protest) the bill threatening collective bargaining. I was worried that not many would show up since the weather was terrible. It was like a flippin’ ice storm. I did not leave soon enough and had to walk a couple blocks on sidewalks made of 3 inch thick ice. Burr. But the reason I had to park so far away was because the place was PACKED!! Yea!!
There to speak was Mayor John Dickert, Representatives Cory Mason and Bob Turner as well as a surprise visit by former Senator John Lehman. Senator David Hansen also spoke by speaker phone. The crowd roared in reaction to the short but passionate speeches made by Mason and Turner. Hearing from Senator Hansen was encouraging to those worried about their possibility of giving up. And John Lehman brought people to their feet simply by showing up. Sadly, many of us know that none of this would probably be happening if Lehman had won his second term in the midterm election.
Representative Voss and Senator Wanggaard were invited to attend and speak. Neither showed. The town hall was for everyone, however, I heard from no one who was in support of Walker’s bill. After the politicians spoke, the microphone was turned over to the citizens.
Most of the speakers were members of various unions. From teachers to nurses to auto workers – there was a solid consensus and that was of strong opposition. The men and women of all ages and race represented our diverse city proudly. Some were standing up for themselves and others were standing up for what was right – even with no dog in this fight.
I suppose that is how I kinda feel. Will the passing of this particular bill effect me directly? No. Probably not at all. But it will effect others. And it will effect future policies and bills. And it will effect the future of Wisconsin jobs, economy and the welfare of it’s people. So while it may not hurt me now or even in the near future, hell, I probably wouldn’t even notice – it will eventually be felt by everyone.
People are insulting the Wisconsin 14 (the senators who have fled the state to give the Governor time to reconsider this bill and to avoid the required quorum for a legal vote). They are saying that they are childish, fearful. They say they are neglecting their jobs. I say they are brave and smart and doing EXACTLY what their constituents want. I look at them with great pride. I have not felt this way about any group of politicians…ever. They are doing what is necessary to keep this state from becoming a dictatorship. The republicans and the governor were not willing to listen, discuss or debate the details of this 140 page bill. If they stayed, the vote would have been passed without any input from the minority. They had no other choice. I applaud them with all I have.
One message which was relayed over and over today was “Get to Wisconsin!!”. It seemed many had been there during these 8 days (so far) of protesting. And they were all visually filled with pride and enthusiasm after having been a part of this movement. And I must say, I agree. Being there was something I have never experienced before and probably never will again.
Not only was it important to stand up for something I strongly believe in…but there was so much more to it. To see so many good people in one place was outstanding. Everyone was so nice and peaceful. The diversity of our state is encouraging and refreshing. The talented, creative, intelligent masses left me in awe. In these days of the protests I have seen and heard about so much support and kindness – acts I never could have imagined. On Saturday night there was a back log of 400 Pizzas from Ian’s Pizza on State Street in Madison. These pizzas were not ordered by protesters but they were delivered to them. People from around the country – even the world – had/have been ordering these pizzas to be delivered to the persevering protesters at the Capital. Celebrities were ordering pizzas. One was even ordered from Egypt. I don’t like to use the cliché word, amazing. But that is exactly what this whole united chaos has been. Amazing. I have never – EVER – been so proud to be from Wisconsin. The embarrassment over having such a reprehensible Governor has been far overshadowed by the goodness that has come out of this political mess.
Below I will be posting pictures and videos from today’s town hall. The videos are taking their own sweet time uploading, so they will be on…eventually 🙂
- The Best Wisconsin Protest Signs (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Egyptian Orders Pizza For Wisconsin Protesters: People the World Over Donate to Feed Demonstrators (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- Wisconsin Protests (npr.org)
- Pizza – the latest weapon of protest (guardian.co.uk)
- With Wisconsin’s Protesters: A Cold Night in Madison (time.com)