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I've spent 24 hours trying to edit a diary of yesterday's 100,000 + rally, and I just can't find the words. It feels foolish to try to describe what it's like to disappear into a huge unified crowd filled with positive energy. Tonight we have seen the capitol protesters unite with police officers who refused to arrest or remove them. We have received word (still not directly confirmed, but likely true) that Senator Dale Schultz will no longer support the bill. It's a huge moment for this movement; probably the biggest since the "Fab 14" split town with nary but a "brb." This should be a moment of overwhelming joy.

And I'm pissed off.

I'm angry at all of the people I see responding to this news in one of two ways:

1) ZOMG ITZA WALKER TRICK!
or
2) Yeah! Victory! Keep going until the GOP no longer exists!

The first is just moronic. We can only win this thing with facts; that's what's on our side. Let's think about the actual facts for a moment.

A. Sen. Schultz is already being targeted by the teabaggers as a RINO because he suggested a compromise measure on this bill that went over like a lead balloon with both sides. He's already going to face a primary challenge next time 'round.
B. Sen. Schultz cannot on his own trigger a Democrat return. They will only return if the vote is not a foregone conclusion. Without three GOP votes against it, it will pass. If three GOP senators come out against it, the governor will pull it from consideration to avoid a humiliating floor vote. Pulling the vote cuts him off at the knees; losing it would castrate him. There is nothing for anyone to gain by pulling some kind of "trick" with this.

The second one is often stated in the same thought pattern as the first, but it's far more insidious and dangerous for this movement. Our entire fight these two weeks has been that decisions like these should be reached with debate, sacrifice, and compromise. As I've stated in earlier diaries, the most humbling thing about being a part of these protests is the sheer diversity of the crowd.

I'm certain there are some evangelical Christians in there. (Hell, there are members of the clergy in the capitol right now!)
I'm certain there are some anti-abortion folks in there.
I know for a fact there are some fiscal conservatives in the group.
I'm certain there are people against gay marriage in the group.

And you know what? I happen to think all of the above positions are immoral, but I've been nothing but proud to march next to the people who hold them. I'm willing to spend my life arguing that my gay friends deserve the same recognition I do, and that a woman's right to her own body is sacrosanct.

But none of that erases the feeling of unity I have felt over these past weeks. If three GOP senators join us against this bill, I will honor them because they will be speaking up in favor of compromise instead of hyperpartisanship. I will be proud they are (like I am) public servants of the state of Wisconsin. And then I will then go back to convincing them that they're wrong about all the other stuff.

If anyone one the left gives in to hyperpartisanship, they are part of the problem instead of its solution. If we ever allow ourselves to think that everyone on the other side is irretrievably alien, we will be fighting for something that doesn't exist. If we adopt the rhetoric of the Tea Party but only change the bullet points, we are the same as them.

If we win this fight, Wisconsin wins. If we win in Wisconsin, we help other states to win. If we truly believe that what we want is best for the state, we must rejoice in the name of the whole state. If we cheer that we've vanquished an unholy enemy force, we aren't worthy of the victory.

If you give in to that rhetoric, make no mistake: I am your political opposition. You will be making cheap all that we've tried to do here in Madison (and around the country). We may agree on every issue, but I will stand against you if you can't recognize the difference between your opposition and your enemy.

My father was a republican, after all, and he was one of the best men I've ever known. If you tell me he was evil, I'll know you're a liar.

Poll

Must we be like our enemies in order to defeat them?

31%16 votes
9%5 votes
19%10 votes
39%20 votes

| 51 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  While I agree with your sentiments, the one thing (8+ / 0-)

    that is apparent, This ain't our dad's Republican Party any longer. My dad would have been appalled at what passes for the GOP today. Just saying.

    If voting made any difference it would be illegal- Philip Berrigan

    by Mighty Ike on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:14:15 PM PST

    •  The party isn't, (10+ / 0-)

      but I'm sure plenty of the rank-and-file members are at heart reasonable people who've been hoodwinked by the fearmongering of the special interests & Fox narratives. Those rank-and-file folks are the ones I want to bring back to the table by convincing them they've been lied to.

      •  That is a tall order. The people I work with are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, science nerd, avsp

        prime examples of that mentality. And they are Union! I don't get it sometimes, but you are right to reach out and try to make them see reason. I told one of them the other day I sure hope he has enjoyed those weekends off and that 40 hour workweek. He just does not get it. Hopefully these folks will see the light.

        If voting made any difference it would be illegal- Philip Berrigan

        by Mighty Ike on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:25:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even today's Republicans, (4+ / 0-)

      especially the rank and file sort, can be fine people. They have a distorted, misinformed belief system, but in many cases that is a result of upbringing, indoctrination, and the prevalence of misinformation. I am proud to stand beside any Republican who does the right thing in a given situation -- just as I am proud to oppose him or her in times when we disagree.

      My father is a Republican -- the sort that thinks the current Republican party is too liberal. He is still in most ways a good man, who loves his family and friends, treats all people with respect, and even engages in acts of charity for those less fortunate. His politics are confused, and therefore, yes, destructive. But as the diarist says... he and many other Republicans are, at heart, reasonable people who have been fooled into voting against their own best interests and the best interests of the country.

      Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative. - William S. Burroughs

      by sricki on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:30:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be grumpy in solidarity with you! (12+ / 0-)

    It's been an exhausting and exhilerating two weeks in Wisconsin!  We all deserve to be a little grumpy before we get a decent night's sleep and then revert to midwest nice.

    I'm with you here.  I never hoped or expected ever to see such an amazing, state-wide, surprising, destroy-your-favorite-stereotype outouring of common concern as I've seen here over the last two weeks.  Walker had no idea what he was doing when he put a knife to the heart of Wisconsin's hundreds of communities large and small -- the teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses....  Like you,. I am certain that I disagree with many of my protesting neighbors on all kinds of things.  But we have reasserted, for another generation, the primacy of the general welfare and the public interest -- against a libertarian the party onslaught on the very concept of the public interest.  

    And abovve all, we have seen young people get it in a way that I've never seen before.  That bodes very well indeed:  that for all the distractions and temptations and challenges of our lives, the kids still have their innate BS-detectors intact.  (One thing about Wisconsin:  when we are awake and paying attention, we do tend to see BS for what it is.)

    Let's keep pushing.  Let's even help Republicans in Wisconsin rediscover, at least a little, their inner progressive.  After all:  Fighting Bob LaFollette was a Republican (well, at least until his last years).  There is a proud Republican progressive tradition.  It deserves to be reclaimed.

  •  Well said and highly rec'd. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, science nerd

    Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative. - William S. Burroughs

    by sricki on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:30:28 PM PST

  •  You are far too reasonable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science nerd

    what the hells the matter with you? Don't you know treat the opposition as sub-human? Srsly get with the program!

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:32:41 PM PST

  •  I'm Sorry But There Exist Objective Facts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lisa, Dirtandiron

    Look, I'm overjoyed for you that you find strange bedfellows gathering together to fight this fight in Wisconsin.

    But it's been FORTY EFFING YEARS, man, before we reached this lovely kumbaya moment. These many types of conservatives around you and your father's generation of Republicans who are finally, at long long long last waking up to the idea that something's rotten in Madison, drove our nation to the point of robbing 200 million of us of our fututers, and triggering a global financial collapse that's robbing billions of opportunity, well being and many thousands of lives around the world. Throw in climate change, that we can't even budge on, and the number is into the millions over time.

    Our politics is not some trivial issue of tone and attitude limited to our little stateside club. And so we don't have the luxury of incrementalizing our way toward gradually slowing down our destruction of everything of value on this planet for the next 40 years till we can bring it to a stop.

    There is no effing equivalency between right and left wings. There is no way for the left to be "like" the rightwing. It's not physically possible.

    The Koch Brothers who are driving this legislation in a number of states across the nation first mobilized after the Brown vs Board of Education decision integrated the public schools. There wouldn't BE a Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and many other catastrophes except for a hugely unholy alliance behind it. Even if the individuals carrying it out are merely dupes.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:35:16 PM PST

    •  That kind of thinking (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Julie Gulden, slave138, science nerd

      makes it LESS likely that we'll achieve what we need to, not more.  How do you accomplish it? Destroy the right? Stop those who disagree with us from voting?

      If we set goals for ourselves for the next ten years, what's the best option?
      We can push for ten years and accept twenty, or we can push for five years and end up taking fifty.

      Blind insistence on ideological "purity" was one of the ways the 60s really ended, and it was one of the reasons Nixon got elected. Let's not do it again.

  •  Divide & conquer is Republican strategy (5+ / 0-)

    Let's make it our strategy to unify what the R's are trying to divide.  Use this outpouring of people power in WI, and now spreading nationwide, as a unifying force!

    Robert Reich:

    The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class - pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don't believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.

    Great reporting from Madison, Grumpy!

    "Thanks a million!" WI Gov. Scott Walker to "David Koch" (Ian Murphy)

    by rsmpdx on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:42:42 PM PST

  •  I , too, will honor any Senator who votes no. (8+ / 0-)

    On this bill, voting no will take real guts and is a real risk.

    Throughout these rallies, there have been occasional rare moments when I wanted to say No. Don't go there. Do not make statements about keeping abortion legal, or your belief that Jesus is everyone's savior, or that this is about gun rights. This is a coalition of people who believe in fairness in the work place and the dignity of work.

    I've cringed at the Hitler signs, too.

    But overall, it has been and continues to be a spiritually uplifting experience unlike anything else I've ever known. 100,000 people peacefully nodding in agreement about something so important and saying an internal Amen of sorts does not happen often.

    Where are the jobs, Governor Walker???

    by Giles Goat Boy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:43:47 PM PST

  •  We all want... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, science nerd, avsp

    our point of view respected.  Convincing arguments do not hold a candle to the 'you gotta be shittin' me' moment that comes when one realizes that what they believed so strongly was actually total bullshit.  I've had those moments, as I am sure we all have.  Sooner or later, more and more of the independents who have supported the Repub agenda will realize they've been had.  When that happens, as Mr. T says, 'Pity the fool'.

    Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining!

    by Arkieboy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:14:38 PM PST

  •  I agree w/you. Be glad for the support wherever (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, science nerd, avsp

    it comes from and leave the other issues for another day. I trade comments on a blog that has a few conservative regulars. The insults fly both ways but there is a bit of good dialogue as well. It is one of my favorite blogs. I think the best hope for the future has to include educating and winning back some current conservatives

  •  walker could have taken the concessions, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, science nerd, Arkieboy

    claimed victory, dropped the whole crush the unions nonsense & moved on. he drew the line in the sand which makes anything short of doing away with collective bargaining a personal defeat. apparently almost all of his party both in the state & outside have signed on to this dictum. republicans have been totally unreasonable in their demands.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:42:06 PM PST

    •  It's not about Walker anymore. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rasbobbo, Dirtandiron, science nerd

      Yes, Walker is an ideologue with delusions of Reaganism. I'd be stunned if he backed down on his own. The majority leader is another one (I believe he's the one who said on record he didn't think there should be any public workers at all). However, we only need three reasonable people to make this work.

      Schultz was trying to broker a deal days ago, and pressure from his constituents has been building for some time. You're right; Governor Walker could have accepted the concessions, claimed defeat, and then made the next ten years of his political career about the fact that he "beat the unions." I think he's living in such an echo chamber that he can't conceive of defeat.

      In fact, I'll qualify my earlier statements. If this bill fails, Wisconsin (both red & blue) will be the victor, but Governor Walker will certainly be the lose. That, I'm okay with. He'll either wise up and start acting like a human being or his political career will be broken. Either way is fine with me.

  •  Thank you... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, science nerd, avsp

    I forgot to thank you for your posts on the 'Battle of Madison.'  

    My grandfather, who was instrumental in organizing the union local in the lumber mill he worked in Arkansas in the 30's would be spitting fire at this brazen attempt to stamp out unions.  

    Jesus spoke of 'the little dogs getting the scraps from the table of their masters.'  This is what the wealthy want 'the great unwashed' to be satisfied with, while the 'bosses' get the 'fine dishes.'  Only by uniting the working people can we defeat this most unamerican concept.

    Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining!

    by Arkieboy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:55:09 PM PST

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