on the road to Janesville


I’ve reached another personal milestone: my first protest outside of Madison. In the company of about 25 others plus a huge bouquet of heart balloons, I set out on a road trip from Madison to Janesville for a “Soup Kitchen and Speak-Out!” held outside Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s office. On September 1, National Nurses United led 61 similar events in 21 states. All around the country, the message was the same: Tax Wall Street.

I joined the citizens in Janesville because even though Ryan does not represent my district, the proposals he advocates will affect all of us. The nurses, along with supporters like me, asked Senators and Congress members in their local district offices to pledge to "support a Wall Street transaction tax that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street." Of course Paul Ryan, like many other legislators, refused to meet with his constituents or hold town hall meetings this summer.

Since their Congressman would not show up on Main Street, the nurses used a stand-in. My photos show the faux Ryan in his overalls (“I’m just plain Wisconsin folks”) as he answers some very pointed questions from the crowd. At one point he hustled off and apparently changed into his tux, because we spotted him later sipping wine.

This outside-of-Madison protest had the same hallmark as the ones I’ve seen in my hometown: smart, passionate people who are really upset but have creative fun while communicating a serious message. Just as they do on Madison’s Capitol Square, the drivers in Janesville’s many passing cars honked “this is what democracy looks like” or gave us a big smile and a thumbs up.

For video of some of the 400 job protests held across America in August http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/02/1012889/-Members-of-Congress-face-over-400-jobs-protests-in-August If you have not yet let your representative know your opinion on Wall Street and Main Street, speak up soon-and loudly.