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To the tune of My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean:

They're trying to stifle our voices
They're trying to keep us derailed
They'll find it's not easy to do, though...
McCarthy once tried it and failed!
At the daily Solidarity Sing Along in Wisconsin's Capitol Rotunda, the Wisconsin-constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, has been blatantly abridged this September.  (Article 1, Section 4)

Swarms of officers descended upon and surrounded and handcuffed peaceful individuals for holding t-shirts or small signs.

When singers poured in to the Rotunda during subsequent noon hours, too many to arrest all at once, they started sending officers to deliver citations to people's homes, or to their place of work.  Without speaking to them at the time of the supposed infraction.

We don't know what specific behaviors are considered criminal from one day to the next.  Dave Erwin, the chief of the Capitol Police walked out on a meeting with Assembly Representative Chris Taylor, when she dared to ask for specifics.

They film us relentlessly during the Sing Alongs, from the corridors and the balcony and the upper floors.

Sometimes they do give warnings, but can't define exactly what they're warning about.

On Wednesday, they dared to threaten an ACLU legal observer for "obstruction" for performing her duties as an observer.  

Today the news came out that they have extended these threats to the press as well; photographers for Madison's Isthmus weekly paper were threatened for "obstruction."

And how do they justify these heavy-handed intimidation measures?

With a string of unsubstantiated anecdotes of incidents for which nobody was ever arrested, unconnected to the Sing Along, which amount (in the words of Chief Erwin) to "terrorizing people at this Capitol."

Here's the longer quote:

And so we have a group of people that come here, and last week they were holding signs and they are part of this group that, for lack of a better word, are terrorizing people at this Capitol.
He gave this interview on September 10, 2012.

On the eve of September 11, he accused the gentle, angry people of the Solidarity Sing Along... of acts of terror.

Terrorizing!

Chief Erwin, I am many things.

I am a woman, I am a mother.
I am a sister and a daughter and a wife.
I am a mild-mannered librarian.
I am a citizen.
I am a Christian.
I am an advocate.
I am a gardener.
I am a voter.
I am a writer.
I am a singer.
I am an amateur policy wonk.
I am a constituent.

I AM NOT A TERRORIST.

And neither are my brothers and sisters in the loosely-organized spontaneous collective known as the Solidarity Sing Along, with a record of precisely ZERO acts of violence in the course of 459 consecutive gatherings.

How have we gotten to the point where peaceful individuals asserting their constitutionally-guaranteed rights can be casually compared, on the eve of September 11, to the depraved criminals who brought down the World Trade Center?

And to take the comparison to such extremes as to spend over a hundred thousand dollars in taxpayer money, to install panic buttons in offices all through the Capitol?

How dare he?

How DARE they?!

Originally posted to AnnieJo on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, Protest Music, and Community Spotlight.

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