Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recall rally and petition circulation - notes and pics - Nov 19, 201

Just some random thoughts and photos from the rally yesterday.

Even though I am recovering from a cold, and being out in the cold and shouting in the street probably isn't the best thing for my health, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend the kick-off rally at the Capitol today. Besides, you can only stand so much "recovery" inside before you come down with another ailment: cabin fever.

So off I went, first to a pre-rally caffeination session at Barriques with some other lefties, and then up to the main rally. After walking around for a bit, I found a booth where you could grab supplies to circulate recall petitions. I had brought my own clipboard and pens, so all I needed was the paperwork: one recall petition for Walker, and  a second one for Kleefish.

We can't forget the recall for Kleefish, because if we get rid of Walker without getting rid of her, she'd become Governor. Hard to believe there would be anyone worse than Walker, but I think she would fit that role.

The organizers told me to stand at the top of State Street, on the Capitol side, but there were already so many volunteers there that I went down State Street a bit. We also had stickers to give people once they signed so that other people wouldn't bug them. I think I gave out ten times as many stickers as the number of signatures I got, but that's OK. People were glad to get a sticker, partly in support of the cause, and partly so they wouldn't keep being asked to sign. I gave stickers to little kids, teens too young to vote, out of state supporters, and citizens of other countries. It was wonderful to see so many people wanting to do anything they could to support the recall.

I finally filled all the sheets I had for both candidates and gave out all the stickers I had. I was feeling like it was time to get out of the cold, but I walked around a bit to see some of the signs. It all had a bit of a deja vu feeling, since we were all out in the cold, rain, and snow just 8-9 months ago. 

There were the creative signs; the Madison Fire Dept bagpipes and kilts; parades and signs from AFSCME, MTI, ATF, and other unions; even the Teamsters truck was back. Everyone was back in the street, shouting, chanting, marching, organizing, and being supportive of each other. There were smiles all around, but also that same frustration and anger, the feeling that our progressive state had been taken from us. 

 One thing I thought, as I walked around, was, "Well, it seems that Walker is good for a certain category of small business: Those in Madison selling food near the Square, and those printing and selling t-shirts, bumper stickers, and pins." The business was brisk at the food carts, bars, and coffee shops. You could hardly get in anywhere within two blocks of the Square. And there was a healthy selection of ways to express your feelings by wearing, pinning something on yourself, or sticking something on your car (or bike.)

I had a few errands to do, and as I entered one business, well away from downtown, one of the employees smiled and said, "I bet  know where you were today." She offered to sign my petition (I had picked up some extra sheets) without me saying anything, and another employee quickly came over as well. They both implied that they could only sign because the boss wasn't around, but they were very eager. (I don't want to get them in trouble, so I won't say where I was.) 

Everyone I know seems to be passing around petitions, volunteering to stand in the street, or knock on doors. I was worried that the energy would be gone by now, that people would be resigned to the regime, but it seems they were just waiting for the signal to rush back into action. I hope the action and momentum is as good in other parts of the state as it is here in Madison, because we are going to need it to get all the signatures in time.

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