Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Things got interesting in Madison tonight
For the last few weeks, my son and I have spent Wednesday nights up at the Capitol. My daughter has tap class, so we drop her off and head down to join the protesters for a bit.
Tonight, we decided not to go. Tap class was canceled due to a scheduling conflict, so we all changed into our PJs early, and curled up with our books in front of the fire for a relaxing night.
As I was making dinner, my Twitter account was going nuts. "Come to the Capitol IMMEDIATELY" messages at every turn. I ignored them - how urgent could it be? The news yesterday led me to believe that a compromise was coming. The Fab 14 had been communicating with the Governor's office. Although the media made it sound divisive - certainly that means that some progress was being made. Right?
But then Facebook started taking off, so I turned on the WisconsinEye cable channel to watch the Senate proceedings. It wasn't like anything interesting could possibly happen, but I figured I should have it on while I made dinner.
All of a sudden - holy shit - I was brought back to the evening of the Assembly Vote, when I watched the Assembly Republicans railroad the budget repair bill through at 1:30 a.m. on a ambush vote. (Yes, I stayed up to watch it.) The Republican Senators did the same thing tonight - they separated the Collective Bargaining provisions from the financial part of the bill and rammed it through.
Basically, they took the part that NO ONE likes (union busting) and approved it. The part that most people will accept (financial concessions from public sector workers) is still out there. It really makes no sense.
By now, dinner was burnt to a crisp, but I managed to scoop it out and tell my children that "this is what democracy tastes like" and we wolfed down the food and piled in the car to head downtown.
It was really amazing down there. The inner ring of the Capitol was full of a slow parade of cars, honking their horns in a chanting rhythm. People were in the building and circling around the outside.
We know that the atmosphere was a bit more angry tonight than in days past when we saw a few people walking clockwise. Anyone who has spent any time in Madison knows the drill: whether it is the farmer's market or an art fair or a 100K person protest: We walk counter-clockwise around the Capitol. We just do.
Things could start to get very interesting...