Archive for February 17th, 2011

I love Wisconsin

I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been struggling with what to say. It’s been a rough week in Madison, a rough week in Wisconsin. As an extremely active member of my union, and former board member and current bargaining team member of that union, I am extremely disappointed in the governor’s budget repair bill. Disappointed is an understatement.

I love Wisconsin. I love family farms, clean lakes, green trees, the Packers, cheese curds, its little towns, Madison and Milwaukee, the University, the Capitol and its beautiful accessibility, the court system, and its humble people. I love the history. I love that the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. I love that the Republican Party, based on anti-slavery principles, was founded here. I love the history of Bob La Follete and the Progressive movement: primary elections, workers’ compensation laws, unemployment laws. I don’t love the McCarthy era or the Sterling Hall bombing, but I do like the passion that seems so inherent to Wisconsinites.

At yesterday’s rally at the Capitol, I saw that passion first-hand and I cried. I watched as thousands and thousands of people attempted to make their voices peacefully heard. There were so many signs, some very clever but all, as Aaron pointed out, with correct spelling, grammar and syntax. There were tons of kids because Madison’s schools had closed due to a sick-out caused by the introduction of this sweeping bill. There were elderly people and high school students, and people of every age in between. There were nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters, electricians, iron workers and cab drivers. And yes, lawyers. In the two days of protests I attended, I saw only two counter-protesters, one on each day.

People are upset. People are upset because of the hefty paycut that has been proposed (and will most likely pass). People are upset because the numbers do not seem to add up. But it’s clear that people are extremely upset that Walker has chosen to all but prohibit collective bargaining for State and local employees in the very state that made such a thing possible in the first place. It feels like Walker hates everything that I love about Wisconsin.

I know, or at least I think, that someday, this will pass. That even though this feels like a hurricane, we will weather this storm. We will come out poorer, but we will come stronger. Wisconsin, I love you.

February 2011

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