Perhaps their meowing about outlaw singers destroying the ambience in the Wisconsin State Capitol doesn't deserve a reply, but I'm going to give one. Republican State Representatives David Craig and Paul Farrow wrote a letter to Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Mike Huebsch last Friday, trying once again to pressure Capitol Police to break out the pepper spray and batons against rebel retired librarians and the other nice folks who show up every day to sing protest songs in the rotunda.
OK, maybe that's extreme. The retired librarians aren't rebels.
Craig and Farrow (didn't I buy my wicker patio furniture from a place called Craig and Farrow?) want the DOA to start enforcing rules instituted in December that would limit the size and decibel level of events and demonstrations at the Capitol. If you haven't read about those rules, suffice it to say they are absurd and unenforceable, but that doesn't stop Craig and Farrow. (No, it wasn't the patio furniture, it was the tropical-themed shower curtain. Or was it the coffee press imported from Portugal?) Craig and Farrow must protect the good citizens of Wisconsin from the dangers of chanting and singing.
Their letter has been printed in full in other recent diaries, but here is a snippet:
...it is clear that the Capitol Police have proven incapable of uniformly enforcing the security guidelines and access rules set by your department.OK, back up outfielders. Giles is stepping up to the plate...
Not only does this lack of enforcement demonstrate and facilitate a lack of respect for the rule of law in the Capitol, it also endangers the safety of visitors, staff and members of the legislature in the building. As stated in previous correspondence, we continue to note a disturbing pattern of selective enforcement of the Access Policy by Capitol police.
Time and again, the Solidarity Singers, organized labor groups, and other protestor-affiliated events have blatantly ignored and outright broken the rules that were to have taken effect December 16th, 2011. For the Capitol police to continually overlook these infractions and capitulate to the demands of the disillusioned few, is tantamount to a violation of rights for the law-abiding citizens who visit the Capitol each and every day.
Dear Reps. Craig and Farrow,
First let me say how much I am enjoying the dried flower arrangement I purchased in your store a while back. They are lovely. Now, about this Capitol thing...
You call us the disillusioned few, though we number at least a million.
You say our presence endangers the safety of visitors, staff and members of
the legislature in the building, but we have never hurt anyone. We have been hurt by others, though. Others who support you.
You tell the Capitol Police that they must enforce your arbitrary rules, that their failure to do so is “ a violation of rights for the law-abiding citizens who visit the Capitol each and every day.” That would be us. We are the law-abiding citizens who visit the Capitol each and every day.
The Capitol Police are there every day, too. They have made some mistakes, as we all have when things have gotten tense, but they have kept everyone safe from serious injury for a year. That’s a remarkable record. We appreciate that. You don’t. You want them to hurt someone for you. To you, they are robots. Terminators. You want them to be bullies. You threaten them by telling them they must hurt people or lose their jobs. To us, they are stressed and tired and in need of a break. To you they are numbers, replaceable parts.
Unlike you, we try to operate within the boundaries of the Wisconsin Constitution and common decency. We peaceably assemble. We petition our government. We move outside when another event has been scheduled (if we are given the courtesy of being told that others have reserved the space.) We stop singing when paramedics assist an injured person. We are quiet when a couple is being married, and we cheer for them after they have taken their vows. We treat our beautiful statehouse with reverence and respect, and we try to treat each other the same way.
We are law-abiding. What we do is legal and Constitutional. We do not sign secret pledges to hide redistricting legislation from the people. We do not start legislative sessions early to prevent Democratic representatives from voting. We do not deliberately distract Senators in the Governor’s office so they will miss opportunities to amend budget repair bills. We do not offer anonymous mining legislation with no authors and no sponsors.
You break the law. We sing.
We do not lock the people of Wisconsin out of their Capitol in violation of court orders. We do not drag people out of legislative chambers for quietly recording their government in open session. We do not conspire with fake news organizations like the MacIver Institute to create the appearance of wrongdoing where no wrongdoing exists.
You break the law. We sing.
We do not get paid from the public treasury to do private campaign work. We do not set up hidden communications systems in public offices to secretly raise campaign funds when we’re supposed to be doing the people’s business. We do not steal from the families of dead soldiers.
You break the law. We sing.
We do not arrange to get free legal representation in exchange for judicial opinions favorable to our lawyers’ other clients. We do not exempt the legislature from open meeting laws because they belong to the same club we belong to. We do not choke Supreme Court Justices.
You break the law. We assemble, we petition, we sing, and we are not going away. Instead of breaking the law, try listening.
P.S. - if you ever get another shipment of those flamingo-shaped throw pillows, please put two aside for me.