I'm hungover (physically, not literally) after a long day at the capitol in Madison. Another day, another awesome display of determined, proud, persistent, playful, peaceful Badgerness. I wish there was some way to convey to all Kossacks everywhere the spirit and power of my fellow citizens. Hey... I think I can! See below.
It was a day distinguished by the return of the WIsconsin 14 and the presence of our farming neighbors. As the tractor parade proceeded, the smiles of the farmers, young and old, was inspirational -- not unlike the feeling when firefighters and cops came to march in solidarity those first few days.
This video of farmer Tony Schultz speaking captures the feel of the rally today better than anything I've yet seen. (But be careful with your volume. The screams and cheers will bust your eardrums!) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch this, and pass it on to everyone.
We have seen a lot of bonds of solidarity forged and strengthened over the last three weeks in Madison, between union and non-union workers, protesters and police, teachers and students, Madisonians and out-staters, even Wisconsinites and Illinoisians (!!). Today was the day to break down the rural-urban divide, and pull people toward the common cause. I love especially going into Madison and watching students and visitors to Madison make a connection with the state's farmers. (It happens every Saturday in the growing season through the amazing farmer's market.) But this reached an even deeper level on Saturday.
WATCH THIS VIDEO and please share it widely. Republicans have ruled red and rural America for a generation, playing off of fears, driving wedges, creating sterotypes. And Democracts, it must be said, have too often given them an open field to do so. It took Scott Walker and his minions to bring it fully to the surface here in Wisconsin. Tony passionately states the common threats we face, and the opportunity we have to rebuild the connections across the landscape for a progressive future. Ironically, Scott Walker is ignorant of rural and small town Wisconsin, and the social fabric that keeps small town life healthy -- the schools, health care, environmental stewardship, the local cops and firefighters. Tony reveals that here.
This raises another key point. Notice who's been missing from the national media lately, through the whole Wisconsin story. Can you say... Sarah Palin. Wisconsin represents a refudiation of her image and shtick: these are not the "coastal liberals" that she and others on the far right love to stereotype and demonize and mock; these are your down-home, middle-of-America, tough-as-a-Badger, nice-as-can-be working peoiple. We just don't fit her narrative, and she doesn't know what to say or do about it. Couldn't happen to a meaner girl. As one sign in Madison said: "Be quiet, Sarah. We invented 'You betcha!'"
UPDATE: Hey, thanks for putting this up on the Rec List! The recognition goes to Tony and the other farmers there yesterday. Tony is active with Family Farm Defenders, based here in Wisconsin. They really deserve the credit for pulling together the farmers at the rally yesterday. Check out their website, Family Farm Defenders, for all kinds of great stuff from and about the rally yesterday! Give them a little support if you can. These are neighbors of mine, and I know what great work they do. On Wisconsin!
UPDATE 2: Holy crap, top of the list! Thanks everyone. I hope Tony gets word of his new friends here. I don't know him personally, but we have some mutual friends. Out of movements like this in Wisconsin come new leaders and I hope we hear and see more of Tony from now on. And I should add that the other inspiring moment for me yesterday for me was listening to amazing young students -- we're talking young grade school kids -- in the capitol rotunda, getting up and sepaking with authority and clarity and determination. I've never seen anything like it. So we're also cultivating a new generation of active citizens through this amazing civics lesson.Updated by strobusguy at Sun Mar 13, 2011, 04:25:41 PM
I have to sign off for a while -- I'm heading back in to Madison and to the capitol. There's a St. Pat's Day parade around the capitol today (that ought to be interesting!). And apparently there is a troop of teachers who have been walking from Milwaukee to Madison over the last few days, and they're due to arrive. Now those are MY KIND of walkers!! Thanks again for the fine ride at the top of the list!
Updated by strobusguy at Sun Mar 13, 2011, 10:38:23 PM
Thank you to garyn in a comment below, and to Geof Herman for this better version: