Monday, April 11, 2011

From Slacktivist to Activist

I think most people are aware of the demonstrations that went on in Madison, WI during the beginning of the year.  For weeks and weeks, throngs of protesters swarmed the state capitol to protest what they perceived to be anti-union legislation, many sleeping in the building for days on end.  Those protesters were a constant reminder to the state representatives of the large numbers of citizens who did not support the anti-union legislation they were trying to pass through.  But they passed it anyway.

Madison, WI Capitol Building - April 9, 2011
What I don't think a lot of people realize (at least I know I didn't), is that even after the legislation was pushed through and the Democrats returned to the capitol that the peaceful protests continue.

Because both Superman and I are in the fields of education, we are particularly interested in political issues that affect teachers.  Not to mention, as parents, we are interested in issues about education, since they will affect our children in a year when they start kindergarten.  So, we've definitely been following this issue from Indiana.

When preparing for the trip to Madison, I actually thought to myself that I wished the protests were still going on, because I'd never seen a real life protest before.  So, imagine my surprise to find upon our arrival, that there were indeed still protesters actively protesting at the capitol each day.

Saturday, during my hour lunch break, I decided to head to State Street to do some souvenir shopping for Thing 1 and Thing 2.  (I thought a set of foam cheese heads from the University of Wisconsin bookstore was in order.) But, while walking over, I got side tracked when I heard some live rock music playing, and I slowly went towards the source.  I found on the steps of the capitol building: The Gomers and a growing crowd of protestors with homemade signs.  A few minutes later, I heard some different music behind me.  A hodge podge marching band was making it's way directly up State Street and then circled the capitol, before heading up the steps.

I was officially in the middle of my first ever political protest.  I decided to skip my shopping trip (I did venture out later that evening to pick up the souvenirs for the boys) and skip my lunch, so that I could document and experience history in the making.  I talked with a lot of union workers, Democrats and Republicans, and heard their real voices, their real concerns...not just what the media decides to report on.  And I let them know that this educator, this parent, this citizen, was behind them.

I even got Superman a souvenir from a street vender:

Click here for more pictures of the protest.

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