Saturday, March 19, 2011

Madison 3/12/2011

I had a request to post a report (with pictures) of last weekend's activity in Madison, WI.   It was an amazing day for me, I love being in the midst of people peacefully expressing their passionate views and opinions and exercising their freedom of speech.  The first time I ever held a protest sign was back in the early '70s on the capitol steps in Lansing, MI, marching against nuclear power.  (oh, if only we had won that debate, I still believe nuclear power is a bargain with the devil...a bad accident waiting to happen... but musing about that will have to wait.)  The sign I held, way back in my youth, was "SPLIT WOOD, NOT ATOMS".  I still like it.  But that day, I was young and full of ideals but not many facts, and I was intimidated when a burly middle aged man challenged me saying "how long does it take you to split a cord of wood, young lady?   Huh??"  I had never split a cord of wood.

The capitol building in Madison is a splendid backdrop.  Masses of people were gathering on the square, this picture was taken at about noon.  We missed the farmers with their tractors, that march had been at 10 am.  I don't know how they estimate numbers at these events because it's a fluid situation - people come and go, so even if you took an aerial photo and counted all the heads, you would still miss those who had been there an hour ago and are now gone.  Estimates ranged from 85,000-100,000.

I love Farmers Markets and Madison has one of the best.  On a summer Saturday, I could spend all morning strolling around the Square, and I never really know which side of the capitol I'm on.  Every side looks great.  March 12 was like Farmers Market on steroids...without the wonderful booths of produce.  The positive energy was in the air.

This is probably the least crowded it would be all day, you can see large swaths of pavement.  By late afternoon, there was no point in even trying to take a picture like this because all I'd get would be someone's coat.  It became wall-to-wall people, with a single file stream slowly moving through, trying to get somewhere.  When the Fab 14 were speaking, the sidewalks and streets were solid people.

Okay, now for some of the best posters.  Note:  most of the signs are handmade and unique.

I remember having tea parties when I was a little girl! I had a china tea set and would serve my stuffed animals!  I think my little brother even joined me a few times!

Nice calligraphy!

This is one that took lots of time, paint, and creativity.  As stated above, I missed the Tractor Rally, but I did get to see this tractor!

This is Wisconsin, after all.

Apologies to weasels everywhere.

So, we weren't the only "outside agitators".  I hope these Michigan teachers are watching their own state, too.  Seems like the GOP is busy pushing their agenda while people's eyes and hearts are in Japan and/or Libya.

Some of still have dreams of no more wars.  The weekend's battle was not over military spending, but wherever a crowd gathers, it's a good message to put out there.

It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who are so concerned about the unborn are so often trying to cut spending on education, don't care if people have basic healthcare, and want to spend billions developing weapons.

The theory I heard is that Scott Walker wants to sell the state's power plants to the Koch brothers.  Have I got that right?

Governor Scott Walker didn't finish college.  I don't know... Is that part of what makes America great?  That you don't need to be educated (or even smart) to run for public office?   You just need some big $$ backing you and you can win?  ??

No need to elaborate on this one.

This is from the capitol steps, looking down State Street toward the UW campus.  
There are people as far as the eye can see.  Totally peaceful.  No arrests.

These kids were scrambling to get their stuff into the wagon before Mom took off.  

I wonder what this guy teaches...I should have stopped and asked him.  Apparently he was taking a dancing break.

Pun intended.

Here's an end-of-the-day shot.  The 14 state senators who had left Wisconsin to prevent the vote were back and about to speak to a very appreciative crowd.  People are fired up.  Let's hope we can keep up the enthusiasm through the next election.