That was one of the chants today inside the Wisconsin capitol in Madison. Here's another diary detailing one more day of my spontaneous staycation.
In three words: It's Getting Bigger! No, that's not a testimonial for an herbal E.D. remedy. I'm talking about the demonstrations that literally heated up the capitol. In a show of real bravery, many of the teachers union locals around Madison followed the lead of their brothers and sisters of MTI (Madison Teachers, Incorporated) and called in sick. About a dozen districts were closed today.
I watched the ticker on the local news this morning and was delighted to see that my children's school was closed. My son hitched a ride with a friend, protest signs in tow, and met up with some classmates on ground zero - the capitol rotunda.
My daughter and I quickly made some more signs and the two of us joined the pilgrimage to Madison shortly after. Perhaps you saw my sign when I held it up behind a Fox "News" anchor as he interviewed someone. It said "We're Ba-ack!" on one side and "I Thought Cairo Would Be Warmer" on the other. I swear the cameraman grinned.
When we arrived on the square about 10:00 a.m., I was disappointed that there wern't many protesters. The reason: They were all inside, yelling, singing, banging drums, clanging cowbells, chanting. The place was really heated up - literally. We made our way to the third floor and the heat from all the bodies was nearly stifling. We took off our coats and talked to a couple teachers we know, chanted some, then went back outside for the noon rally.
By this time, the square was filled with people - even more than yesterday. The crowd was ready to roar. And did we roar! More pep talks from the Wisconsin head of the AFL-CIO and the head of the firefighters association. As we listened to one of the speakers detail what she would lose if this bill passes, a buzz went through the crowd. People were texting and checking news sites. Holy Shit! The Democratic senators have left the state and 2 Republicans were missing, so they couldn't get a quorom together!
After the program, we marched around the capitol again, and saw one of the long granite set of steps filled with students. Not college students. Elementary, middle and high school. The sight was unbelievable. "Kill the Bill!" they shouted. "Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Scott Walker Has Got To Go!". As we headed toward the parking ramp to find our car, I saw my son and his friends, about 30 of them. They marched down State Street shouting "We Love Teachers!" I caught up with him to make sure he had a ride home. "We're going to eat, and I've got a ride," he told me. They stopped in front of a packed pizzeria and started shouting "We Love Pizza! And Our Teachers!"
There was something in the air today - Love. People were simply expressing their love. Love for their jobs, love for their students, love for their human rights, love for Wisconsin, love for democracy, and love for America. Today, it dawned on us that we were making history, and as one of the speakers said, someday we can look back and proudly say "I was there."
We were there when the middle class finally stood up and shouted "We're not Gonna Take It...Anymore!"
Sorry no pics today. I forgot to charge the battery :(
Protestors will be occupying the capitol 24/7 until further notice. Another rally on the capitol steps at 5 P.m. local time, and MSNBC's "The Ed Show" will be broadcasting live from the square tonight. If you can get your a$$ to Madison, do it!