You don't hear about Wisconsin politics in the news so much anymore. There is certainly a lot to be discouraged about, now that Walker's had his way on so many pieces of legislation (the budget, the union-busting, the voter ID bill). But just because there aren't 100,000 people marching peacefully on the streets and through the Capitol in a snowstorm doesn't mean this is over, or that the citizens of Wisconsin have given up.
In March of this year, right after the mass protests ended with the DOA's lockdown of the Capitol building, someone began daily noontime sing alongs to keep a constant presence there. I've been a few times (and blogged it here back in April). Now, several months later, the Solidarity Sing Alongs are still going strong. I hadn't been in a long time, but JoyMama's post on Elvis Sightings last Wednesday detailing the Attack on the Red Balloon inspired me to go.
To get y'all up to speed, red heart balloons have been an important symbol of protest since the first march on the Capitol on Valentine's Day. One mylar helium balloon was stuck in the Capitol dome for months. When it finally came down on its own, people started bringing balloons to the noon hour Solidarity Sing Alongs and delivering them to legislators with notes as a form of protest. When a woman was delivering a balloon last Tuesday, a man working for the DOA actually attacked the balloon with a knife, stabbing himself in the process and leaving blood all over the floor. He was arrested a couple days later. Really, you should go read JoyMama's post about it; she explains it much better.
I bribed the kids with a trip to the children's museum downtown (which is right across the street from the Capitol, conveniently), then gave them a bag full of snacks to eat while we sang in the Rotunda.
It's amazing and uplifting to participate in the Sing Alongs. I love to sing (in groups), and the feeling of, well, solidarity is really something special. We raise our right fists when we sing the chorus to "Solidarity Forever!"
There are some wonderful signs and banners, too.
Next week, the perseverance of anti-Walker activists are put to the test. August 9 is the date for recall elections for six Republican state senators who stand with Walker and his policies that go against the public good in so many ways. Three Democrats are up for recall as well. If we can keep those three Democrats in the senate, and take over just three of those Republican seats, it will be a huge victory for the people of Wisconsin.