Wednesday in Madison, Marching Against Scott Walker’s Bill

I attended the rally in Madison on Wednesday, with my buddy Tim Brown. (He came up with the sign but let me hold it. It garnered lots of laughs.)

Wednesday’s rally was bigger than Tuesday’s. (Tuesday about 6,000 people; Wednesday about 13,000.) Thursday’s the scheduled vote, although there’s some indication of pushing it back for further consideration.

I have to say, the rally was fun. The demonstrators were so well behaved—vocal but positive. This wasn’t an angry mob, but intelligent people insisting to be heard. I felt proud to be part, with all those union members, and teachers, and high-school students.

My buddy Tim and I went to the Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave., for a 10am meetup and orientation. (We’d seen an announcement on Twitter, and this looked like a good place to start, though we aren’t actually members of any of the organizations.) From there, the crowd gathered at the Capitol at noon and marched around it for an hour, before the Capitol was opened and we packed inside. (See twitpic.com/photos/lestersmith. Most are photos from my outmoded camera phone, but you get the idea. Check my Thursday Twitter posts for news articles with better photos.)

After half an hour or so of group chanting and singing, Tim and I set off in search of Sen. Kedzie’s office; trying to find direction among all those people was impossible, so I called my wife at work and had her check the Net for Kedzie’s room number. We went in, introduced ourselves to his staff, wrote a note for the senator, said our piece, and then retired to an Irish pub across the street for some excellent food and drink. (I think Powers whiskey may have supplanted Jameson’s in my affections. More taste tests are probably required.)

Overall, there was a festive feel to this event. People knew it was deadly serious business, but the organizers were so focused, so positive (“This is about the bill, not about Walker”), I felt proud to be an adopted Wisconsinite. To stand shoulder to shoulder, filling the Capitol building, was such an affirmation of “This is what democracy is all about!” In such a setting, it’s hard not to feel proud of this tradition of self rule around the globe.

By the way, I’ve even come to appreciate the Packers more. Didn’t know they were the only publicly-owned team in the league. (Is that still true?) Learned today that Aaron Rodgers is the team’s union representative. And if you haven’t read it yet, a group of Packers players have written a letter publicly chastising the governor for his union-busting tactics.

Ah, and we heard today that the city of Eau Claire called an emergency board meeting and passed a unanimous resolution disapproving this bill.

Forward, Wisconsin!

8 Comments

  1. pattie

    I think if we give in to Scott walker it will end what our four fathers worked for. We would go backwards in time and our children and grandchildren will suffer.
    When President Nixon made the law, that no city worker could strike, it ended a lot of the bargaining power. It gave more power to the government. What do you think will happen if they get away with Walkers plan?
    Stop him now before its too late. We need our good teachers and workers. Walkers plan is for the rich not the poor or middle income. Look at the plan more carefully its a plot for the rich.

  2. I’ve left this comment up to introduce a point: No matter how irritating we find an opposing view, name calling just doesn’t accomplish much. That goes for both sides in an issue such as this: those using “Hitler” to describe Scott Walker aren’t accomplishing any more than those calling the demonstrators union “thugs,” or “commies” or (as Dana does above) “degenerates.”

    Has this nation listened to Olbermann, Limbaugh, Beck so long it has forgotten how to debate?

    “Discussed,” problems can be resolved. “Disgust” gets us nowhere.

  3. EricTheRead

    Yes, the Packers are still the only publicly owned professional sports franchise. In fact the owners made rules so it would never happen again (Cleveland tried when they lost the Browns the last time).

  4. Dustin

    Yes, Green Bay is the only team that is publicly owned. They made a rule a while back that there must be a single majority owner whenever there’s a group of people purchasing a team. This allows the Packers to remain publicly owned until they’re sold, which will never happen.

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