I generally avoid politics on this blog, but it’s just not possible to live in Dane County, Wisconsin and avoid talking about The Bill. It is in the air, on the streets, on our minds and our lips. My husband has been protesting at the Capitol every day, and, though I’ve been sick, Reed and I finally managed to join him yesterday afternoon. The first thing I noticed was the impressiveness of the people I stood with on the freezing concrete. They were kind to one another, intelligent and good-spirited. They smiled, encouraged each other, and made it easy to maneuver out of the crowd when you needed to. They even made each other peanut butter sandwiches. It was good to see. Heartening.
It is not a fight of good versus evil, the fight for and against this bill. If anyone speaks to you of the conflict on those terms, I would take their opinion on it with a grain of salt. Those who ardently support the bill have their reasons, some I believe to be misguided but most boiling down to different values and a different ideal of what this country should be. I feel like with the presentation of this bill, Madison, Wisconsin has become the epicenter of this clash in ideologies that has been building up in the U.S. for the last several years. It is an interesting place to be.
Let me also say I oppose this bill. I oppose it heartily. I oppose it because public workers are the cornerstone of America’s middle class, and America’s middle class needs all the defending it can get. I oppose it because I believe collective bargaining is an invaluable tool to protect individual workers from the authority of the powerful and the wealthy. And I believe that there not only less harmful, but much smarter ways than hacking indiscriminately to address the deficit and the waste that is present in the public sector.
Have Wisconsin on your minds, in your prayers, and on your lips, my friends. And let’s continue to treat one another with respect and kindness.