Jilly D.

Good News from Madison

In Friends, Signs from beyond on March 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I want to share some good news from my dearest friend, Amy Anderson. Yes, that’s the famous (or infamous) Amy EEEEEEE Anderson of my favorite knitting patterns and original designs. Never one to waste one minute on politics and other stuff there’s nothing you can do a thing about, Amy is on the frontlines of the Wisconsin workers’ protests.

Here’s what she wrote this morning:

Greetings to all my Out-Of-State Friends

For those of you who have been following the protests in Madison, I thought I’d offer you the view from the front line.  My desk, at work, looks out on the Capitol Building lawn and Tracy and I have joined the protests almost every day – both inside the Capitol Building and outside.

Some of the news broadcasts have portrayed the atmosphere as one of confrontation, or at least the verge of confrontation.  This is completely misleading.  The spirit in the crowd is one of incredible camaraderie and unity, and the interactions between police and protesters have been friendly and calm.  Hundreds of police officers who have been guarding the Capitol have come back on their own time to join the protests in solidarity and they are cheered by the crowds, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you”. 

Last week the Episcopal Bishop of Milwaukee addressed the crowd with a letter signed by 500 ministers and rabbis from Wisconsin, telling Governor Walker (a born-again Christian) that they do not support his bill, which doesn’t just end collective bargaining for public employees but also kicks thousands of children off Badgercare which provides healthcare to low-income working families.

Many of you may have heard about Fox news getting busted for their bogus coverage – showing their reporter inside the Capitol Building and then showing angry protesters outside, screaming at police and pushing – only one problem, there were palm trees in the background, so………maybe not Wisconsin?  The following day, I got to work and looked down on the crowd to see a dozen protesters carrying plastic or inflatable palm trees.  This is only one example, from hundreds, of the sense of humor in the crowd.   One fellow stands outside in the freezing cold wearing an outfit (skirt, cummerbund, and beauty-pageant sash) made entirely of candy necklaces, with a sign that says, “I don’t look any more ridiculous than our governor”.  Every day we see a new favorite sign.  Here are two of my favorites:

Tea Party sounds so much nicer than racist, homophobic, low-wage Republican.

Thank God for CNN – How else would we know what’s happening on Twitter?

As for the hundreds of people who camped out inside the Capitol Building – here are just a few examples of how peaceful and cooperative this group was:

1.     In the wee hours of the night, they went around cleaning the building.

2.    They established a family area for people with young children

3.    They had a First Aid Station

4.    They set up their own Lending Library to share reading material

5.    They had tables set up with free food – thousands of people called local pizza places asking if they could donate pizza to the protesters.  Other restaurants and individuals are constantly delivering food (I took fresh baked scones 2 mornings last week, and discovered sleepy protesters inside, already eating hot breakfast burritos, coffee, and bagels.)

6.    During the first big weekend rally – the week that the public schools were closed for 3 days because so many teachers called in sick – they had 5 doctors standing on one of the street corners ready to write notes for any teacher who needed a doctor’s excuse in order to receive sick pay.

Tracy and I came to my office today to order our tickets for the film festival and we can hear a live band across the street, leading a crowd of 60,000 in songs like This Land is Your Land, and Love Train. 

Time to go join them.

tall shot of rotunda.jpg


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