Rotunda Report from Madison on March 11

Another report from my Uncle Brad. It’s somewhat bizarre to have moved to Madison from Chicago, and yet to be visiting some dear friends in Chicago during these last few days. My friends are leaving the US, so I feel good about the decision to spend extra time with them, but I’ve been sending lots of love, Reiki and Runes to Madison and around the world. It seems many other exciting spots have popped up this week. Thanks again to Brad Palmer for his on-the-ground reports, humor and good cheer:

Hi, Kids….I expected tonight would be a light one on the capitol square, what with the anticipation of Saturday–Teamsters, AF of L-CIO, the Tractorcade, the return of the Wisconsin 14–and the latter ARE going to march with the predicted tens of thousands of demonstrators, in unity for the people of Wisconsin’s support for them, and our thanks and support for them. Personally, I’m hoping for over 100,000 people. And I further anticipate the continuation of these demonstrations until we get our state back. We are Wisconsin, not a division of Koch Industries.

There were perhaps 200 marching around the square tonight when we arrived at 6:10 PM, many carrying their signs, some chanting, some playing musical instruments. The satellite TV news trucks were everywhere in anticipation of tomorrow. Milwaukee, Madison, and beyond represented. The Teamsters’ semis were lined up and outlined in tiny lights all round the trailers. Kathie and I walked around the square three times, exchanging quick conversations, like, “This is NOT over,” and those we met responded in kind. We could actually FEEL the anxiety, the expectation of tomorrow in the air. It was like most save a few of us were charging up for the protest.

We dined, and Kathie went back to Portage. She is going to walk recall petitions around Portage on Sunday and Monday to pick up any signatures we might have missed. Portage had another 150 volunteers to do the same for the recall of our disgraceful senator, Luther Olsen. Luther said his escorted exit from the senate after the illegal, immoral, unethical vote to ram Walker’s reprehensible bill was “the scariest gauntlet I’ve ever run.” I wonder why Luther doesn’t press skin with his constituency lately????

I returned to the square, wanted to experience some one on one with these pesky demonstrators. I came upon a group of women carrying signs, and asked one around my age if she was one of those union thugs. She laughed, said, “Yes,” and asked if I was, too. I replied, “No, I’m just a slob.” (Reference senator Fitzgerald’s reference to the 100,000 demonstrators of two weeks ago as ‘union thugs’ and ‘slobs’ and ‘some of that State Street bunch.’) I came upon a band of a baritone, clarinet, hand symbols, an accordion, and a drummer playing, “When the Saints.” I stopped and sang a few choruses with them, and continued walking. Cars on the street honked in approval of my “Recall Scott Walker” sign. I walked up to an elderly man (even older than I!) and said, “This ain’t over, young man!” to which he replied, “No, it’s not!” He said his wife was in a union. I came next upon a young couple whose two children were chanting, “Scott Walker has got to go.” I told them they were getting a better civics lesson than I ever got.

A new twist is the chalk art on the sidewalks of the square. (I wonder what cost Walker will assess to that “damage.” You recall he said the tape adhesive “damage” to the capitol was $7,500,000, a figure he later corrected to $250,000. Having been in the capitol building a lot ourselves, we would assess the “damage” at somewhere between $0 and nothing.) The most poignant thing I saw, in bold letters and bright yellow chalk, said; “If we can’t change the minds, we can change the faces.” –Lena Taylor. Well said.

The preponderance of the citizens of this state want these Republicans not only out of office, but out of our lives. I perceive the anger, determination, and perseverance of these people. Walker is uniting all of
us. I trust Saturday will only be a preview of things to come–a constant reminder to the media of this disgraceful misrepresentation of Wisconsin citizens.

Just to buck you all up a little, I listened to a woman from Michigan who phoned the host of 92.1 FM (progressive radio). Michigan’s governor (a Republican, go figure) has declared a “financial emergency” and is
attempting to elicit monies from pensions to line pockets. They are in far worse economic shape than Wisconsin. She said that what is happening in Wisconsin has got the Michigan residents, “Charged up!” America continues to look to Wisconsin to lead this fight of the middle class versus corporate
giants, and it looks like David just might KO Goliath again. We JUST AREN’T GIVING UP!

By the time I get to downtown Madison Saturday, the enormity of it will likely keep me from getting close. I hope that’s the case, I have previous appointments I must keep. I’m relying on my family (so far, seven of them will be there) to give me details. I’m sure the media coverage will be massive–but I DO NOT trust the media, they, too, are owned by Clear Channel, et al. I will do my best to tell you the truth in my own, albeit,
solidarity way.

I was heartened by the determination of children, students, grandparents on the square tonight–still walking when I left at 9 PM. NONE of them were conceding anything, all of them convinced and determined Walker’s pitiful short-lived regime is about to end–through the Constitution of Wisconsin and the absolutely heroic and historic will of her people.

Madison is about to explode into the largest peaceful, unified demonstration I will have seen in my lifetime. This is really going to be somethin’.

Solidarity, We are Wisconsin…

Brad

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