As many of you know from reading this blog, I'm in the process of retiring after nearly 34 years of State service. During all of that time I have enjoyed the benefits of a Union, both as a member and as a part of management. I've always believed that the Union made working life better for everyone involved. It provided a negotiated rule book for work behavior and tools to resolve conflict. And it worked well!
Even though the changes that Gov. Walker has tried unsuccessfully to sneak through the legislature would not affect my retirement, I feel an obligation to do what I can to protect those rights for current workers and those to follow. That is why I keep going back to the Capitol Square to add my presence to the throng and to document and share what I witness.
Here are pictures from Saturday and today.
The rotunda has been occupied continuously since Tuesday, although there were rumors that the police might try to clear the building tonight.
I got really irritated yesterday when I heard some right wing pundit blame these demonstrations on the Democratic National Committee. Unlike so many other demonstrations that I've witnessed there are almost no mass-produced signs. Nearly every sign you see was made by hand with obvious personal sincerity.
The other thing that I hear that tics me off is the suggestion that this extended demonstration of civic displeasure is in any way unruly. In fact people have been eerily polite. The only hateful words I've heard have come from the mouths of Tea Party folks.
Yesterday, the crowd outside was the biggest I've seen since the 60's. The 3-lane-wide street was packed for its full 8 blocks. The thing to keep in mind is that this is not really an event driven protest. Although there may be scheduled speakers, people seem to come and go constantly. So, on a day like today with horrible weather there might me 3,000 people in the Capitol at a given time, but over the day the total who have come and gone might be 3 or 4 times that number.
I was told that this young guy comes by bus from Milwaukee every day. Here he is picking up any bit of trash that someone might drop as the crowd circles the square.
This was one of many variations on the HOPE/DOPE theme. All handmade.
I'm still treating this as a rumor, but people I've talked to swear they have it on reliable information that Walker did not leave Marquette University completely willingly.
This accusation appears to have a lot of factual support. It seems that Gov. Walker IS part of that "vast Right Wing conspiracy" that we've heard about. Check out the Feb. 18 article in Mother Jones.
And no one can accuse us of not having a sense of humor!
This really is the bottom line.