Madison Rotunda Report 2/25/2011

I’m not sure how many people realize that the Capitol Building in Madison, WI features the second largest dome in the United States — second only to the one in Washington, DC. In a quite physical sense, the rallies in Madison’s Rotunda really do form a microcosm of the rest of the US right now. Today we have a follow-up report from guest blogger and passionate advocate, Brad Palmer. Many thanks, Brad!

Rotunda February 24, 2011

Hello, All — I was afraid after the gestapo-like passage in the Wisconsin Assembly last night that enthusiasm would wane at the capital. I was wrong. The crowd in the Rotunda tonight was louder. The marchers on the square were more numerous.

I’ll paraphrase my little speech….I don’t plan on speaking until the spirit moves me, so there are occasional poorly expressed thoughts I make, which I’ll point out in parentheses. Again, the moderators allowed anyone to speak who wanted, so that’s how I got my minute. And so I said:

“I’ll be brief. First, Wisconsin Fourteen–HOLD FAST! (loud cheers). Second, I heard the governor’s threats tonight (ref. his “press conference’ in which he said it was time for the fourteen Democrats to return.) I know the captial building is resuming hours, and will be closed from Sunday at 4 PM until Monday morning. We will respect that. But Governor, this building doesn’t belong to you. IT BELONGS TO US! (louder cheers….but I wish I’d said it belongs to the people of Wisconsin, never meant to imply it belonged only to the protesters.) Third, tomorrow my grandchildren will be marching. My children will be marching. My in-laws will be marching. My wife and I will be marching. Bring your children, bring you families. If the children don’t understand, explain it to them. Tomorrow at noon, I want to see 100,000!” Loud cheers.

The Madison Police department, which sent round 25 officers on Wednesday, had about 60 there tonight. They were supported by the Dane County Deputies union, around 20 deputies carrying signs supporting the protest. I noticed a few more minorities tonight. I noticed more union people–IWW, Teamsters, UAW, the Madison Firefighters union….the gathering was peaceful, and LOUD!

A sixteen year old girl spoke of her admiration for her teachers. A college student spoke of her special-needs sister (Down’s Syndrome AND autism) who is cared for via medicaide, will the student is studying health care to tend to her sister. A woman held up photographs of the Republicans who acted
inappropriately and likely illegally in last night’s session, refusing to let 28 representatives vote. “Remember these faces,” she said.

The highlight of the evening came at 7 PM. One of the moderators had a letter to the governor from the head of the Madison Police union. He read it, and I wish I’d recorded it, perhaps it’s on the net somewhere. He said in essence: “The current stance of the Assembly and the Governor to dispel the state workers union and eliminate collective bargaining is wrong. During the police co-occupation with the protesters, the protesters were polite, peaceful, and cleaned the capital after themselves. The police, he declared, have decided to sleep in the capital with the protesters TONIGHT!” Thunderous cheers.

Two new words were repeated by several thousand of us over and over…..”Solidarity.” “Undivided.” And the very loud chant of, “We will not be divided!”

The enthusiasm is higher tonight than Wednesday. Walker and his bullies exposed themselves last night with the fallicious passage of the bill. This, my friends, is not subsiding, but growing into steadfast resolve. We
were not “a bunch of out of towners” tonight. We were not “that State Street bunch” tonight. We were and will remain Wisconsin. We of Madison have become the peaceful battle ground and inspiriation to the
Americans who believe in fairness.

Representative Barca took a compromise to Walker on Wednesday. Walker has refused to respond.

I think Walker and his cronies are painting themselves into a corner, politically. Walker’s approval ratings have taken a hit this last two weeks. Many of the protesters stated they will remain united and carry this
fight for weeks…months…years.

It continues to inspire me. I thanked every cop and speaker I could, we shook hands with everyone we passed. Kathie and I went into businesses off the square with signs in their windows supporting working families and thanked them. We thanked people on the street carrying signs in support. We saw NO tea baggers or anti-union people tonight. Despite the apathy in Portage, we will cointinue to carry the message, bolstered by Madison. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Please learn more about the issue, find the names of the Wisconsin corporations delinquent in their fair share of taxes….the numbers are staggering.

THIS is what democracy looks like!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by laurabruno on February 27, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Thanks to my housemate, David Gleysteen, for finding all of these links:

    Union busting as Trojan horse distraction? – “The Koch Brothers’ End Game in Wisconsin” –

    Ethics concerns: “Koch Brothers ‘Prank’ No Laughing Matter” – …

    Koch “prank call” in two parts on YouTube: ,

    “Scott Walker’s union-busting ‘dress rehearsal'” –

    “The Last Time Scott Walker Went Union Busting, He Was Overruled And Wasted Taxpayer Dollars” –

    Strange and stranger: Walker’s private security contractors – Wackenhut – who he hired to replace the union security workers he fired in Milwaukee have some truly unique ways to pass the time: “Afghanistan: vodka ‘butt shots,’ group fondling, other pastimes of defense contractors guarding US embassy” –



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