I took this picture on February 14 just as UW-Madison students and teachers marched into the Capitol with a stack of Valentines. They joined the Solidarity Sing Along in a rousing chorus of â€œThis Uprising of Mine, Itâ€™s My Valentineâ€ to the tune of This Little Light of Mine. The day was a very significant anniversary, as Jill Hopke, doctoral student at UW-Madison, explains:
â€œA year ago the system of social trust in Wisconsin began to come unraveled. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Walkerâ€™s announcement of the Budget Repair Bill, now Wisconsin Act 10, effectively ending 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights.
I believed a year ago that we would â€œkill the bill.â€ I believed if we made our voices heard, we could appeal to reason on the part of lawmakers. If we spoke about the hardships this bill would cause around the state for families, for students, for ordinary Wisconsinites that go to work everyday with faith in the system, our government would listen to us.
But more than that, I had faith in the democratic process. I had faith in a fair democratic system in which we could appeal to a deeper sense of justice. This is what had broken down in our state over the course of the past year. This is what John Rawls, in outlining the idea of â€œjustice as fairness,â€ writes is the â€œidea of society as a fair system of social cooperation,â€ meaning on a most basic level that in a pluralist political system individuals may not agree with the outcome of any given decision, but they can trust the process by which decisions are made is fair, that democratic institutions uphold what we can agree on as â€œdemocracy.â€ That means playing by the rules, not bending them to suit a national right-wing political agenda. That means having a truly independent judiciary system to check the power of the legislative and executive branches of government. It means not making it harder for those who are more likely to disagree with you to vote.
There are moments when one cannot be silent. We did not know how many people would join us on February 14, 2011, as we delivered valentines to Gov. Walker, or how many people would come to the Joint Committee on Finance public hearing on February 15, 2011. But we spoke out . . .
February 2011, was not a time when we could be neutral, nor is now. What we value as a state, and as a nation, is at stake. Those of us that value access to education, dignity in the workplace and a social system that guarantees basic services for the neediest amongst us must continue to speak out.
What we sparked a year ago is beyond anything I would have imagined experiencing my lifetime. I am hopeful that over the course of the next year we can rise above the rancor and work together to move Wisconsin forward.â€
Read Jillâ€™s whole article at Remembering as We Move Wisconsin ForwardÂ
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