The Spirit of Madison

This is a guest blog post from my Aunt Gail’s half-brother, or my mom’s step-brother, depending on how you look at it. As synchronicity would have it, he and his family just happen to live near Madison. So many people have commented about my having just gotten settled in Madison right before Madtown took the national stage. What can I say? Always in the right place at the right time. šŸ˜‰ Anyway, it’s a fantastic time to be on this planet, and an especially exciting time to live in Madison, WI. I’m supplying a few photos from my walk to and around the Capitol last Saturday, but this inspiring report comes to us courtesy of my sorta-uncle, the passionate and articulate, Brad Palmer. Thanks, Brad!

Creative Signs and Costumes from Madison's Walker Protest

Hi All — Kathie [Brad’s wife] has been attending the rallies in Madison’s capital rotunda every night since Saturday’s big one. She and I went there tonight. There are perhaps a hundred outside in the cold evening, but the capital itself is wall to wall people every night…I’d guess 3000-4000, since every tier and the main floor is full. Signs are everywhere, the people have taken over the building. They are picking up litter daily. It is peaceful and enthusiastic. NO ONE is willing to give up the fight.

Tonight there were union and NON union people from Los Angeles and Oklahoma, Chicago, northern and Eastern Wisconsin. They came, they said, in support of Wisconsin workers, because they know what happens here affects everyone. Whoever had something to say was allowed to speak. I was able to publicly thank my home state of Illinois for sheltering the Wisconsin 14, which drew rousing cheers. I also said we were all part of a 68,000 person march last Saturday, and I looked forward to being part of 100,000 person march this Saturday…again, rousing cheers.

Madison's Capitol Building on February 19, 2011

There were people there from all ages; 15, 40, 65, 71. Some of us drummed. Pizza joints are sending free pizza to the protesters, with money donated from 50 states. Saturday, capitals all over the country are trying to organize marches at noon on their capital buildings. America is watching Madison, becoming known as “Ground Zero.” The movement is not giving in.

"I Feel a Disturbance in the Force"

The largest cheers came when the Madison Police (about a dozen) came through with signs saying, “Cops for Labor.” One of the police officers spoke, stating Walker has not threatened the police union, but that the police would not fall into his trap of complacency. “We are with you,” he said, “and this will not stand!” Thunderous applause. There is strength of resolve in this ever-growing grassroots nation.

A temporary emcee (they rotate through a half dozen or so) led the rotunda in singing the national anthem. He encouraged everyone to remain peaceful, resolved, and consciencous about keeping the capital clean. Native Americans, Asians, African Americans, caucasians, all spoke. One 60-ish guy said he’s never been part of a protest like this, certainly not one where Bear fans and Packer fans embrace, most certainly not one in which the police are on the same side. A woman stated that women did not attain the right to vote by sitting down. The out of towners thanked Madison for leading this on-going struggle.

Indiana, Florida, Ohio….all taking the lead from us. It feels good to stand together and care about something so important….it feels good to not only be actively engaged in it, but to see young people actively engaged in the political process for the first time in their lives.

The country is indeed watching Madison. Some parts of the world are watching us. I want them to see what democracy looks like.


PS–Check out Scott Walker’s relationship with the Koch Brothers’ companies, and his plans for the privatization of Wisconsin utilities on the net. Check reliable sources and deduce what you may.

Peace and Love from Madison, Wisconsin!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Joselyn on February 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you so much for your courage and leadership and sharing this great narrative! My hope in America is restored daily because of the amazing people of Wisconsin and those who daily join them in the fight for a decent future for the working people in this country. United we stand!



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