Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Huffington Post article on unbreakable Wisconsin spirit

I wrote a comment to this article in the Huffington Post, and thought I'd post it here as well. The article talks about how well organized, well-behaved, and steadfast the protests have been, especially inside the Capitol. It made me very proud to see our state and the people fighting to preserve our social justice traditions recognized in this way.

My comment:
I have been at or in the Capitol every day for two weeks now, although I have not spent the night. What you describe is what I have seen every day, and you are right, it is what our Governor should fear. These are Wisconsini­tes of all ages, jobs, areas of the state, and income levels. Most of the people are not even unionized employees. They are simply people that know right from wrong, and they know that Walker's plans are wrong.
Wisconsin has a strong tradition of caring for others, and this tradition is on display, both inside the Capitol and in the opposition to the budget as a whole. 
As several friends have said, "Walker severely underestim­ated us."
On February 13, when this all started, Bill Lueders of the Isthmus wrote, "The governor also knows exactly what kind of reaction -- sustained, militant, disciplined -- might put the kibosh on his power grab." In that same article he said,
Teachers and other public employees, on the other hand, are perfect victims. They aren't used to conflict, and they aren't very good at it. They will hoist their signs and chant their chants and lose their benefits and then their unions. 
Could they fight back and win? Absolutely. But it would take a lot more resolve than Scott Walker and the Republicans give them credit for. It would take all-out campaigns of nonviolent civil disobedience, including a willingness to risk physical abuse and mass arrest, again and again.
So, I think that not only did Scott Walker underestimate us, and specifically underestimated the people that live in Madison - did he forget where the Capitol and his office is located? - but I think that some pundits also underestimated us.

The Huffington Post caught the spirit of what is happening. Wisconsinites are a tough bunch, and they are willing to stand up and fight when they feel backed against the wall. If we can make it through the winters, and put our names on a waiting list for Packer tickets that is over 20 years long, we can keep showing up at the Capitol.

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