Well, o.k., I’ll admit it. I haven’t gotten too riled up about the Solidarity Singers getting arrested. Sorry.
I mean–I did mention it at my 30th high school reunion over the weekend, that they were arresting old people in my state, but I’m pretty sure I shrugged my shoulders at some point each time I mentioned it.
Partly it’s me tending my own emotional acre–I’ve sort of made a rule for myself, in an ongoing attempt to be more sane, that if I don’t have time to DO SOMETHING about a particular issue, I can give myself a free pass not reading about it/getting worked up about it.
(NOTE: I see this disengagement as a temporary state. When I feel healthier, when I feel as though my own emotional acre is well-tended, I will peek farther again. When I have maintained my house for a few months of NOT feeling as though I were half a matchbook collection away from being an episode of Hoarders, I will re-engage. Hell–maybe I’m there now, because….)
Wow am I pissed about Matt Rothschild getting arrested today.
It’s not that I was ever against the Solidarity Singers. I sang with them a couple times. I was proud to sing with them standing next to Margaret Rozga, now famous for speaking truth to power at an MLK, Jr. event.
I think maybe I was just tired of protest. Spring 2011, Wisconsin’s Arab-esque spring, was wonderful and horrible. I took my son to march–he made a sign that had pictures of cats on it that said, “Hey Hey Meow Meow Walker Talk to Unions Now.”
I overcame my one bit of introversion–I don’t like to knock on people’s doors to ask them about politics (or Jesus, for that matter)–and gathered some signatures for the Recall.
But when the Recall failed, I just felt politically wiped out. Tom Barrett? Really? Seems like a nice guy, but really? That’s all we could muster on behalf of half a million signatures?
So like a lot of other people, I’ve just hunkered down & tried to do my job and love my family and maybe just maybe work on de-cluttering my house in case I decide there’s a state I can move to where all this won’t happen. (Where is that? Vermont?)
And at first, when the not-cool, not Tubbs-cops, started arresting singers, I will admit that I was thinking “just apply for a permit already.” But here’s the thing. I really think if there were a group of people showing up every day at noon to sing songs in praise of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Department of Administration would never have made the policy about requiring permits in the first place.
And after a few weeks of this, I’ve decided I agree–this is political speech set to music. If we have freedom of speech, if we want to honor the proud Wisconsin tradition of honoring dissent, then permits shouldn’t be required for protests in the Capitol Rotunda.
I’ll admit one other thing–I’ve been wondering if all my liberal friends who are outraged about this would be equally supportive if a pro-life protesters were to go to the Capitol (if we ever have a pro-choice governor again), and sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and hold up signs of dead babies. (That may not be equivalent, but it would all fall under the category of political speech, and now that I’m getting worked up, I’ll just go ahead and throw my wondering out there.)
But today–arresting a journalist for observing and calling it “obstruction?” I’m so angry and scared I can’t muster disengagement.
And yet, I don’t know what to do. Go to the Capitol and observe? Protest? Sing? Get arrested? I really don’t have time. I would totally have a panic attack. And what would that help?
I don’t know what to do, but I know what I need. Or at least what I wish for.
1. Examples of liberals supporting conservative speech at the Capitol, especially that which made them feel icky.
2. Famous people to come and sing and get arrested. Lots of folks are tweeting in support. That’s pretty much nothing. Even I’m doing that.
3. Famous journalists to come and observe and get arrested. I mean–I know who Matthew Rothschild is, but more people know who Jon Stewart is. Isn’t that sabbatical of his about over?
4. I really need someone amazing to run against Walker in 2014. I don’t know if he could do it, but I’m most excited about Mahlon Mitchell.
5. Mostly I need someone to tell me what I might do to make any of this better. (I’ll ask Dale Schultz next time I see him in Richland Center.) Other than just being pissed and scared and feeling icky, I mean. Because I’m already doing that.
Update: a friend reminds me that when Doyle was governor, pro-life protestors were on the square frequently, and we’re assuming they didn’t have to get a permit.