Let me preface this by stating that I am in no way a political writer. It’s not something I feel comfortable doing, however the events of the last few days is too important to not document in my own journal.
Madison is bursting with unrest. It’s like a people bomb went off overnight, and now the city is flooded with state workers, teachers, child care workers and other state or unionized workers, park workers, garbage collectors, snow removal, 911, high school students, children…all demonstrating against the new Governor’s plan to pass a bill — introduced late last Friday night to be voted on — today, one week later that would take away the right for unions to organize and bargain, with the exception of salary. This has absolutely nothing to do with the budget (which it is hidden in) and is more about union busting. One week. Sadly we have enough Republicans in legislature to pass this ridiculous bill. There have been massive protests at the Capitol, and all over Wisconsin opposing this starting on Tuesday. Each day the number of protestors has more than doubled — today topping 25,000 to 30,000 people standing up for their rights. Unions — the people that brought you the weekend, is in dire danger.
Last night i spent my free time with a friend showing our support at the capitol until 10:30 when I had to leave to go grocery shopping for milk and snacks. I volunteered to watch a friends school age children because school had been cancelled for the second day in a row. Two days of massive “sick outs” – never before in my memory has this happened before. It’s a big deal when school is cancelled because of snow, cold or ice. Madison is a tough nut when it comes to disrupting public school and it’s schedules. But to do it two days in a row was just incredible. So it was, that I spent the day with two extra kids (totally easy!) while my friend went to one class that hadn’t been canceled and then down to the Capitol to show her support.
I was absolutely shocked and elated when I learned this morning, on the day of the vote, that all 14 Democrats, without a word to anyone but each other, left the state. There are 19 Republicans but 20 are needed to vote on the bill. There are now warrants for arrest for the Democrats to be escorted back to work, hence the reason for leaving the state. One Democrat is all they need, and so they have all fled the state to buy time for more Wisconsinites to do something, to convince Walker that there needs to be discussion, compromise and give.
Until then…this is historic. How long will our State’s democrats remain in exile? How long until reason and decency prevail?
Tomorrow, I am going to take the kids on a field trip to their first protest, though I am wondering if I shouldn’t wait until this weekend when Tim can help. Make it a family event.