The amended bill still contains controversial limitations to unions' collective bargaining powers, as well as an increase in state employee contributions to pensions and health care....
As the discussion continued, so did the clamor of drums and chants coming from the Capitol rotunda.
"For five seconds, listen to what's going on outside this room," said Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. "It's the drumbeat of democracy."I read that quote to Meade, who went down to the demonstration yesterday (to get his fair share of video). He laughed and said he'd tried to get video of the dancing to the drumming — and did the exaggerated flailing arms and stomping legs of drumbeat dancing, accompanied by the chant "THIS is WHAT deMOCracy LOOKS like." Putting the mock in democracy.
I said imagine how Democrats would react if Tea Partiers had a demonstration like that — replete with misspelled signs and signs depicting a Democratic Party politician as Hitler or with his head in a noose.
The fact is that the Republicans decisively won the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — probably with next to no votes from the people who came to the demonstration. If you're asking — like Shilling — for the Republican legislators to listen to democracy, they should look at the last election, the people all over the state who voted for them and, presumably, for fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice.
The people around the state were probably at their jobs yesterday, not able to travel here, into the heart of the state's liberal politics, to do a counter-demonstration and show their numbers (the numbers recorded last October at the polls). Did the demonstrators — many of whom were teachers — try to speak to those people or did they mostly look inward, at each other, pumping up their own resolve?
What are the people around the state supposed to think of them — teachers who have pretty nice jobs and who decided they could go somewhere else for the day instead? What did those teachers teach? I didn't notice any of them trying to speak to the people of the state, trying to win anyone over. In fact, there were chants — simple, repeated words that don't try to explain and persuade — and ugly signs full of name-calling and violence. There were plenty of nice people too and gentle signs, but the nice to ugly ratio was worse than at the Tea Party rallies I've seen, and Democrats aimed such contempt at the Tea Partiers. Why should the Tea Party-type people of the state be impressed by the other side's crowds?