On March 10, a sunny unseasonably warm day, about 40,000 Wisconsinites gathered at the Capitol to commemorate the one year anniversary of Governor Walkerâ€™s infamous budget repair bill. It was a small group compared to the 150,000 who took to the streets last year on that day, but it was a huge turnout by current American standards of protests.
During the past year, whenever some new outrage has occurred, we have channeled our anger into activism. In the process weâ€™ve created unique and remarkable signs, songs and events. Our creativity brings us positive energy, hope, and solidarity.
Weâ€™ve learned that our protests do not have the power we thought they might have to change GOP plans, but our protests bring us together and we gain strength for the fight. Ordinary citizens now believe they can and should run for public office, people who had never before given a thought to that idea.
An example is Lori Compas, who is running for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgeraldâ€™s seat after having spearheaded his recall. As she puts it, the Senator convened the legislature in the dark of night without giving even two hoursâ€™ notice as required by law. He used his power to lock citizens out of the Capitol and shut them out of the political process. The GOP broke the law that night, but they didnâ€™t break our spirit. They only strengthened the resolve of the people of Wisconsin.
Hereâ€™s what Lori said to the gathered crowd at the rally.
â€œLast night at sunset I saw a pair of sandhill cranes flying low over the cornfields outside our town. Sandhills, for many of us here in Wisconsin, are one of the first signs of spring-- we watch for them in the skies, we listen for their calls, and every year their return reminds us that even after the most difficult winters, new life is stirring and new beginnings are underway.
Weâ€™ve come together on this beautiful day not so much to mourn what happened here a year ago, but to celebrate what happened next, and to gather our strength for whatâ€™s ahead.
Change is in the air, I can feel it! Can you?â€