Wow. Imagine me, a local rabble rouser, being lumped in with the likes of ISIS. I went to Madison, Wisconsin last week to voice my opinion over the Right To Work legislation, not because I'm a member of any union, but as a citizen who feels marginalized, who hates to see The Wisconsin Idea being torn apart -- like, say, a pristine forest by a mining company (lucky for us, Gogebic Taconite pulled up and out -- mining interruptus?)
I stood there in the windy cold, on the Capitol steps, over-dressed -- down-filled jacket, mittens and boots -- but I didn't take into account the insulating properties of Iron Workers Local 8. While I'm not one of those USA! USA! rah-rah types, when said Iron Workers and their brothers and sisters began to sing the National Anthem, I got all verklempt. It was a moment, not unlike going to vote in the last Presidential election, standing in a long line of elderly African-Americans, one woman in particular who talked about how back in the day, she had to guess how many beans were in a jar before she was allowed to vote (no right answer) and who should walk past me? The Rev. Jesse Jackson. Yeah, that was a moment. So was standing on the street listening to a very hoarse-r than usual Bruce Springsteen singing "This Land Is Your Land" right before the soon-to-be-re-elected President spoke on election eve.
But, this day in Wisconsin was my first real protest. I didn't get involved in the anti-war protests during the Vietnam era because I was only 12 and my father was a cop, a.k.a. The Man, so, yeah... fun times. And for all other things protest-y, when it came to issues that I supported, I pretty much sat on my butt and let other people do my talking, walking and slogan-chanting for me. So, what made me get off my duff this time? Budget. Cuts.
99.9% of the cuts are mostly to things I hold dear -- cycling lanes, natural resources, the University, education, women's health, public transportation... you get the idea.
The bill will more than likely pass, then get signed by Walker with multiple pens. Should I have stayed home? If I had, I wouldn't have had another moment to add to my string of moments. What were my takeaways? Iron Workers are better than wind breakers on a cold day. Writers make lousy protest sign writers -- mine was way too wordy -- and if I follow Scott Walker's ISIS-Peaceful Protestor logic, I've trained my dog to get the morning paper, so, therefore, I can do the same with a lion. Makes total sense.