FifteenÂ days from today, on June 5, the people of Wisconsin will vote. Six representatives of the people are facing recall: Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Senators, including grassroots heroine Lori Compas in District 13.
As John Nichols said in a recent article, â€œThe unprecedented spending on behalf of Walker and his allies has made these recall elections an example of what campaigning has come to look like in the Citizens United era: Democrats canâ€™t hope to match the staggering level of corporate cash raised by the GOP, so they will have to accelerate grassroots organizing and get-out-the-vote drives.
Wisconsin will test the prospect that people power might yet beat money power.â€ (My emphasis)
Many people, including me, wonder what we can do in these last days to most effectively fight back against all that corporate cash. After all, we donâ€™t have millions of dollars to spend on slick commercials, so how do we get the word out about the Democratic candidates? Hereâ€™s a list I hope you will share with others:
1.Â Â Â Â Write a letter to your local paper (Several of mine have been printed, and youâ€™d be surprised how many people mentioned seeing them.)
2.Â Â Â Â Spend as many hours as you can volunteering to Get Out the Vote. Go door to door, make phone calls, or bake cookies for volunteers. Sign up opportunities are at http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/ or http://www.wearewisconsin.org/ or http://www.loricompas.org/
4.Â Â Â Â Make a video and post it to YouTube. Hereâ€™s one that Lori Compas and her family did a week ago to combat her opponent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3FWw_XriE
5.Â Â Â Â Make handheld signs and recruit others to wave them by the side of the road at rush hour. Get involved in the Highway to Truth Project by contacting Nate Timm at (608) 220-0139 or firstname.lastname@example.org You can donate $20 per sign to fund or help install handmade signs at busy locations.
6.Â Â Â Â Wear a button. Sing. I designed the button in the photo to honor Ron, a man in his 80â€™s who joins the Solidarity Sing along every day and rings his Bell of Freedom.
7.Â Â Â Â Visit the Overpass Light Brigade Facebook page and join themâ€”or make your own LED signs. Hereâ€™s the video from last weekend when I stood on an overpass in Madison for several hours with 60 other peopleâ€”what a great time it was with motorists honking down below. http://vimeo.com/42097105
8.Â Â Â Â Paint your car, home, or office windows with your recall message. Hereâ€™s a good one: â€œWalker is a Weasel, Barrett is a Badger!â€
9. Â Â Â Or paint your trash . . . Take a look at the Northwoods Projectâ€™s newest campaign: the "Trash Walker" Brigade. This is what I call recycling. http://grassrootstvwi.blogspot.com/
Articles with titles like â€œMy Top 40 Reasons to Recall Scott Walkerâ€ have been popping up all year, and with time, those lists have grown longer. On the flip side, Walker supporters and the media often insist that Walker and the recalled State Senators have been targeted for their brave actionâ€”passing Act 10, the bill that repealed collective bargaining for public employees.
I can list many ways in which Governor Scott Walker is damaging our state, but the reason I believe heâ€”and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgeraldâ€”should be recalled is somewhat different. The Wisconsin State Constitution is very specific about the recourse of recall.
In the early 1900s, Progressives designed recall as the remedy for a broken democracy. They wanted to strengthen the control of the people over the levers of government, while reducing the influence of powerful and wealthy special interests that controlled government. Sure sounds like today in Wisconsin.
As Fighting Bob LaFollette wrote: â€œBy the recall, a faithless public official may be retired without waiting for the evil to be fully consummated. Under such a law, the public official will no longer betray his constituency.â€
I vote to recall Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald because they have betrayed those who elected them. They used their positions to push an extreme agenda that Wisconsin citizens were not aware of and would never have voted for. We simply cannot wait until the end of their terms to vote them out, because we do not want to stand by until their agenda is â€œfully consummatedâ€.
So on June 5, be thankful for the recall and make your voice heard!
If youâ€™re confused about tomorrowâ€™s primary recall election in Wisconsin, youâ€™re not alone. Hereâ€™s a guide to navigate through the fakes and frauds to the real candidates for each of six offices.
Your vote is very important because the GOP is running six Republicans as fake Democratic candidates. Does that sound fishy? It is. Because voters donâ€™t have to declare party allegiance in the primaries, many Republicans may cross over to the Democratic side and vote for the weakest gubernatorial challenger to create an easy race for Walker. They can also decide to cast their votes for the other five fakes.
â€œThe Republicans have very little incentive to stay on their side of the ballot,â€ University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee said. â€œThereâ€™s a possibility a tsunami of Republican voters will cross over and mess things up.â€
So please donâ€™t ignore this crucial primaryâ€”but please do igonore the fake Democrats on the ballot.
Vote tomorrow, May 8, for one of these four real Democratic candidates for governor: Kathleen Falk, Tom Barrett, Kathleen Vinehout, or Doug LaFollette
Vote for Democratic candidate Mahon Mitchell as Lt. Governor.
If you live in District 13, please vote for Lori Compas for Senate.
In District 21, vote for John Lehman.
In District 23, vote for Kristen Dexter.
In District 29, vote for Donna Seidel.
After the primary, weâ€™ll enthusiastically support the Democratic winners. Weâ€™ll come together for a month of hard work leading up to the general election on June 5, just like we did when we gathered signatures for these historic recalls. Weâ€™ll be outspent, but no one will outdo us in getting our fellow citizens to vote out the GOP, right?
Please volunteer or donate at http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/recall-walker-reclaim-wisconsin
Support Lori Compas in her exciting David vs Goliath attempt to unseat Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald http://www.loricompas.org/ If you canâ€™t vote in her district, you can still donate your time and/or money to her campaign.
on the night of April 26, boy, did we have a party! Hundreds of Solidarity Sing Along participants and supporters gathered at the Majestic Theater in Madison to celebrate the 350th day of melodiously protesting Governor Scott Walkerâ€™s policies. Plus we cheered the release of our cd â€œThis is What Democracy Sounds Like.â€ Lyrics are included with the cd so you can sing alongâ€”or just listen to a cut online at http://soundcloud.com/solidarity-sing-along
I was honored to design the cd booklet and cover pictured above. Here is the story of how we got to where we are now, written by Chris Reeder, our organizer and song leader:
â€œOn March 11, Steve Burns printed up some song books and led the first Solidarity Sing Along in the Capitol.
During those first few weeks, weâ€™d be lucky to get 15 people in the circle. Weâ€™d stand there, staring nervously at each other, and weâ€™d sing. Our voices might have been shaking, but we sang. We sang out our frustration; we sang out our anger. While there were no longer 100,000 people in the streets, we wanted to make sure the legislators in the Capitol knew that the citizens of Wisconsin had not gone away. That we had not forgotten. That this was all far from over.
We sang every day. A dozen of us. Then two dozen. Then, all of a sudden, we were getting a hundred people every day.
And slowly, without anyone really noticing, some remarkable things started to happen. A community developed. Friendships formed. We supported each other. We cried together on the bad days and hugged each other on the good days.
We found that, although the main point of the sing along was still the petitioning of our government, a secondary purpose had developed. The sing along was strengthening us. The power of singing together was unmistakable. We left stronger than we arrived. We might arrive in despair, shocked at some new atrocity the Walker administration was attempting to foist upon our state, but we could leave strengthened and ready to get back to the important work of participatory democracy.
Perhaps most remarkably, we startedâ€”on occasionâ€”to sound good. I suppose it should have been no big surprise. If you do anything for an hour 300 times, you will improve, but it still came as a surprise to us.
Some people who attend the sing along are professional-level musicians and singers. Some never even considered singing in public before the sing along began. Yet we all
blend together into a harmonious whole. Once or twice a week, we sing outside. Over the course of several months, as musicians began to bring instruments, an ad-hoc band formed. They have been dubbed The Learning Curve, due to the ever-changing nature of who they are and what they are asked to do. Theyâ€™re never the same group of people, but they are always amazing.
Eventually, through the goodwill of some very generous people (in particular Steve Gotcher, Audio For The Arts, and Sally de Broux) we were asked to do a recording. It may not be the most polished recording ever made, but the passion of these citizens of Wisconsin, who make their way into the Capitol every single weekday to sing for what they believe in, is unmistakable.
We have never thought of what we do as a performance. One of the central ideas of Solidarity Sing Along is that anyone can participate. So, please, when you listen to this document of a remarkable timeâ€”sing along.â€
You can download the cd at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/solidaritysingalong
All proceeds will benefit the Wisconsin recall effort.
DB Infusion Chocolates is a chocolate shop in Hilldale shopping center. I visited it when my friend Justine was here. She is a self-proclaimed chocolate snob and liked this place a lot. Everything tasted as good as it looked. The fab artwork above was done by middle school kids from a local school. Check it out if you are in the area.
on a recent sunny Saturday, an Americans for Prosperity sponsored anti-tax rally took place on the Capitol Square in Madison. Camera in hand and curious, I decided to observe the event. Iâ€™ve never spent any time listening to â€œThe Other Sideâ€ on right wing
talk radio, and boy, did I get an earful.
I was absolutely astonished as I listened for fifteen minutes to hate-filled, inflammatory lies from one of the speakers. At one point, when he mentioned the millions of dollars worth of damage union thugs had inflicted on our Capitol, I burst out with a â€œthatâ€™s just not true!â€
The guy standing next to me said, â€œWell it was a couple hundred thousand.â€ (According to a recent statement by the Walker administration, the Capitol sustained no damage, rather $200,000 of â€œaccelerated wear and tearâ€”seven million was the original damage claim.)
â€œSo you agree that was not a true statement,â€ I said.
His reply still puzzles me, â€œWell they killed a ladyâ€™s puppy.â€
Iâ€™m dismayed at the misinformation that is used to simply rile people up. As Iâ€˜ve said many times, Iâ€™ve been at the Capitol on almost a daily basis for over a year and have followed debate and legislation closely. I was there at the rallies listening to the speakers on â€œOur Sideâ€. I never heard anything mean or inflammatory. And to the best of my first-hand knowledge, the statements were true. That doesnâ€™t mean we werenâ€™t angry, but we were dismayed by real events, not lies.
How do we help people check out their sources of information, and how do we end the divisiveness of hate-filled talk radio?
And here is a great link...
http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/04/11419/incredible-shrinking-75-million-damage-tab-wisconsin-capitol-protests read about it here or in the comments section.
Last week the four Democratic candidates for Wisconsin governor made their pitches to a standing-room-only crowd in Madison. I attended apprehensively, fearful of seeing them in ugly political attack mode, but I came home very encouraged. They were respectful about their minor tactical differences. All four candidates are smart and are united in their views, including support for clean, green job policies, a return to higher state funding for public schools, technical colleges and the University of Wisconsin System, and the restoration of collective bargaining for all state workers.
I decided I would be more than happy to have any one of them take the reins from Governor Walker. Hereâ€™s what I felt best about: they were all in favor of reversing the rule-making, crony-appointing powers the GOP has made part of Wisconsin law,
thus affecting all future governors. The candidates recognize those powers are a dangerous power grab, no matter what party controls the office. Their theme was â€œPower Back to the Peopleâ€.
Hereâ€™s a link to the candidate forum so you can see for yourself http://scottwalkerwatch.com/2012/04/12/april-11-dane-county-democratic-party-gubernatorial-candidate-forum-review-video/
I ask that the four candidates show solidarity until one of them is chosen by voters in the May 8 primary. The people of Wisconsin protested and collected petition signatures as one, so we demand nothing less from them. We want to show the rest of the country that there is a better way to run for office.
And the world is still watching Wisconsin.