Right now they think there are 10,000 Ohioans in Wisconsin collecting your signatures - even though so far I know for a fact that the vast majority of signatures have been collected at stationary locations. You have to find a place to sign right now, in the spare ten minutes of your day between the bajillion other things you have to do in your busy life. And you know the people you're working with. If you're like me, you're meeting neighbors and making friendships that will last a lifetime.
There's something brewing, though. There appears to be a direct correlation between our success and their anger. The better we do, the more frightened they get. We see reports every day of harassment, attempted destruction of petitions, physical altercations, and this, which is beyond scary.
It's been great to see the courage in the faces of our volunteers, and the overwhelming willingness to sign petitions. Tonight I spoke with 4 young women who were vehemently opposed to Walker's radical agenda against reproductive rights in Wisconsin. In about two seconds, an ordinary dinner conversation turned into a frank discussion on the state of money in politics. There's a false morality Walker and his allies seem to carry with them every step of the way, even as they come in and essentially give publicly owned resources to the private sector.
I sometimes wonder if that hunger for the moral high ground is rooted in a need to over-compensate for the severely immoral social and economic policies this group routinely carries out. I mean, sure, you're making life harder for poor people, but you're making it easier for them to live Godly lives. You can rest easy knowing that, while you took their money, at least you saved their souls!
The biggest reactionary piece of news I saw this evening was the following article from the Journal-Sentinal regarding new protest rules for the state capitol:
The policy says:
That's right - your family vacation to the capitol building in Madison just became a protest, and you need a permit, buddy! So, for the sake of argument, let's say you're a great planner, and you call in advance to get the permit. If you have a group of four or more and they decide you're planning on protesting, you could be charged 50 bucks a cop prior to coming to visit your lawmaker.
Groups of four or more people must obtain permits for all activity and displays in state buildings and apply for those permits at least 72 hours in advance. The policy requires permits for 100 or more people outside the Capitol. The policy does provide some leeway for spontaneous gatherings triggered by unforeseen events.
Groups holding demonstrations could be charged for the costs of having extra police on hand for the event. Costs associated with a counterprotest could be charged to that second group.
The costs would be $50 per hour per Capitol Police officer - costs for police officers from outside agencies would depend on the costs billed to the state. The police could require an advance payment as a requirement for getting a permit and could also require liability insurance or a bond.
I've been to rallies where I supported my lawmakers, and I've also been to rallies opposing them. I've also come to a couple just to see what was going on and I'm sure my head would be counted in an official number. What this really means is, if you're coming to pay any attention to your lawmaker, positive or negative, you're demonstrating. The only reason a family of four will be able come to the capitol building from now on will be to admire the architecture. Come to think of it, maybe that will be my next reason for showing up!
On nights like this, I look forward to getting this administration out of power. Any show of anger from the opposition makes me fight harder. Any ridiculous-all-caps-misspelled facebook comment calling me a UNION THUG compels me one step further. You can call me what you want - if being concerned about 65,000 people getting dumped off of Badgercare makes me a union thug, then slap a union label on my forehead and call me Jimmy Hoffa. If I have to choose between an organization that stands up for working people and an organization that beats them down, it's not really a contest. Keep up the fight, folks! We're going to right this ship, one signature at a time. Wisconsin will be ours!