I've never had it happen before that I've attended an event at noon, and then just a few hours later heard clips from that same event being broadcast on NPR's Marketplace while driving around town later that day! But that's what came to pass today, this incredible final day before the election to replace Scott Walker with Tom Barrett as governor of Wisconsin.
The Solidarity Singalong has been the most faithful and longest-running protest of the entire Wisconsin uprising, keeping the faith since Gov. Walker locked down the Capitol in March of 2011. Though little has been said of the Singalong on Daily Kos lately, this stalwart band of protesters has continued to meet every single weekday at the Capitol in Madison, rain or shine. Most days the Singalong makes the Rotunda ring; on Fridays and on days when other events are being held in the Rotunda, the action moves out to the Capitol steps, where a Singalong band known as The Learning Curve brings guitar, drums, pipes, fiddle, dulcimer, cowbell and other assorted instruments to the party.
Today I had the honor of participating in the three hundred and eighty second Solidarity Singalong outside the Capitol on a gorgeous lunch hour, together with some one hundred and sixty five of my fellow progressive-Badgers. (When the count was announced mid-way through the Singalong, some wag wondered loudly what number Kathy Nikolaus would have come up with?!)
Get your Solidarity Singalong Songbooks here!
More enthusiastic photographic goodness beyond the cheese curd.
The media swarmed around as the singing got underway. As always, singalong leader Chris Reeder directed with aplomb in the face of media scrutiny.
The NPR story referenced above was a fine piece, by the way, focusing on public safety union members (police, firefighters, corrections) who joined the protests despite having their unions exempted from Scott Walker's chopping block. Among the interviewees: fire chief Mahlon Mitchell, now running for lieutenant governor. The story was remarkable for utterly avoiding the false balance trap!
Barrett and Mitchell: we know who we're voting for! At one point, Chris ran a little poll of his own... "How many of you voted already?" Over half the hands went up. "And who's voting tomorrow?" And up shot all the rest.
This Republican was singing on the side of the light:
for the union makes us strong!
I appreciated the contingent of singers in wheelchairs who lined the sidewalk right up front across from the band:
Hit the road, Scott, and don't ya come back(And when you hit that road -- RIGHT LANE CLOSED, MERGE LEFT!)
No more, no more, no more, no more!
Hit the road, Scott, and don't ya come back no more!
Recall Scott Walker! He chooses to divide us rather than unite us... he chooses to demoralize us rather than inspire us... he chooses to deride us rather than respect us... Wisconsin Deserves Better!
Yeah, we got yer enthusiasm gap RIGHT HERE! The band's acrobatics accompany the song "There is Power in a Union," with big jumps punctuating the chorus on the bolded syllables:
The UNion forever
DeFENDing our rights
DOWN with Scott Walker
All WORKers unite!
The Solidarity Singalong will continue to make music on behalf of Wisconsin's 99%. We know that this is not over, come what may. The need for progressive witness will continue, no matter who is in the governor's office. We're fired up to win, and we're also fired up for the long haul. Because this is not just about Wisconsin. This is about the heart and soul of America.
Come join the Singalong on Tuesday June 5 outside the Capitol (State Street side) at noon, and then again at 8pm as the polls close. After the 8pm Singalong, the group will proceed to the Majestic Theatre to sing some more and watch the returns roll in.
Then the Singalong will continue at noon for the rest of the week, Wednesday through Friday, after which it will transition to a weekly Friday-afternoon event.
And now, on to Tuesday! On, Wisconsin!
Vote! Vote! Vote!