THOSE WHO EXPECT TO REAP THE BLESSINGS OF FREEDOM MUST UNDERGO THE FATIGUE OF SUPPORTING IT.
THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.
I am going to go off my usual environmental topic for this post. Things were very crazy in Madison last week,
What is happening in the Wisconsin State Capitol is related to environment in that it does involve our same newly- elected state government that has named a developer as the head of the Department of Natural Resources.
This past week (as everyone who reads a paper or watches the news knows) Governor Walker announced he was going to push through a “Budget Repair Bill” that would effectively eliminate the ability of state employees to collectively bargain. He also set in place changes in compensation that seemed like a kick in the gut to state employees.
Also buried in the bill, the Governor gives himself the power to change state health care assistance to the needy without due process. Perhaps he wants to increase medical aid to the state’s poor.
At first people seemed to focus on the sudden loss of income, but they quickly realized there was a lot more at stake. Collective bargaining is a hard-won right, and having it taken away without any chance to negotiate has raised great ire. State workers have agreed to all his financial terms, but Walker still will not budge unless he can kill collective bargaining — which seems to be his real goal
I’ve been in the crowds at the Capitol. I’ve been very impressed by the determined but peaceful bearing of everyone around me.
I’ve also been very disappointed in the general media coverage. A great deal of hype was generated over the expected arrival of the tea partiers Saturday. I even feared violence. But very few of the TPs showed up, and their part in the demonstration was underwhelming. They stood around for a few hours Saturday and were gone again. Their numbers have been exaggerated in almost every report I have seen. It makes me wonder about reports of the TP’s activities elsewhere. That is a positive note in this messy business.
Walker seems unaffected by the outcry. Those of you with Republican representatives may be having trouble reaching them. They seem to be turning off their phones and plugging their ears. My daughter from LaCrosse was at the Capitol Monday. She reports, “I visited my(Dem) Rep Jenifer Shillings office and got a lollipop when I signed in. I tried to visit (Rep Senator) Dan Kapanke and was turned back by armed Capitol Police.”
I had to go to Platteville on Monday, but my daughters report that the crowds are not quite as large as Saturday and Sunday, although very nearly. The resistance surges on in an amazing outpouring. Despite terrible freezing rain last night that makes moving about much more trouble than usual. The firefighters have announced they will spend Monday night.
On a cheerful note, a popular campus pizza outlet called Ian’s has been delivering pizza into the crowds for days to keep up their morale. It began with Wisconsonites living out of state who can not make it home for this process calling up Ian’s and ordering multiple pizzas to be made and served to rally goers I think Ian’s may be donating pizzas themselves at this point. It’s good pizza, and I’m sure it’s fortified many at the rally who must be very cold and hungry by now.
I’m here to report that standing out in the cold or inside in the sweltering and increasingly smelly heat, standing on on tired, aching feet and cheering speakers till you are hoarse is not pleasant. People aren’t doing it for fun. Many of the people there aren’t even state employees. I’m proud of my fellow citizens. It gives me new hope.
ARE YOU FOLLOWING THIS?
HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
A short update on Feb. 23:
My daughters were at the Capitol Monday, as was the filming crew from John Stewart’s Daily Show. While viewing the Madison segment on computer today, I saw both my daughters walk behind the Daily Show reporter. That unexpected event was worth a smile. A little levity is appreciated in these dark times.
Categories: Eco activism