On Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 Wisconsin made history by successfully recalling 2 non-responsive Republican male state senators and replacing them with two strong female Democrats - Jessica King and Jennifer Schilling. I am relieved and happy that we took two steps forward, and I have never been more proud to say that I am Wisconsin.
We did it legally. We did it peacefully. We did it with love, patience, and a sense of humor. And we did it with music.
For 22 weeks, the Solidarity Sing Along has taken place every weekday from noon to 1:00 in or just outside the state capitol in Madison. I've joined in occasionally, but a lot more often lately. An hour of singing is better than caffeine and better than a vitamin pill.
The regulars, especially the group's leader, Chris Reeder, are keeping the positive spirit alive and at the center of our peaceful protest movement. Last night, we had a special Sing Along outside the capitol, and we ended by marching around the square to where the "Ed Show" audience was gathered, while we sang "Solidarity Forever!" Sound awesome? Yes, it was. 400 voices strong, and more when the Ed Show audience joined in.
Today's Sing Along was especially moving. A few of us started our singing early today by making an appearance at a union-sponsored "brat fry" for state workers a couple blocks from the capitol. We sang a few classic workers' rights tunes then headed to the capitol.
At noon, we started with "We Shall Overcome" and our voices never sounded better. Honestly. It was really intense. For an hour we sang, each song better than the previous one as the crowd grew and more voices were added. We added a couple special verses to one song to say goodbye to Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke.
Near the end of the hour, a special presentation was made to Chris - an Ian's pizza box that had been signed by dozens of people at the 100th Sing Along a few weeks ago.
Then we sang "We Are a Gentle, Angry People", a slow number, and there were moistened eyes throughout the circle. As always, the last song was "Solidarity Forever." Someone then started a chant of "One Day Longer, One Day Stronger" which lasted a few minutes.
Finally, some of the regular activists stayed around and delivered autographed moving boxes to the offices of Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke while singing "Na Na, Hey Hey (goodbye)."
Remember the Wisconsin 14, also called the Fab 14? The consensus today was that the new name for our heroic Democratic Senators is the Sweet 16.
Yes it is. Hallelujah!