Today, Meade went back to the Capitol rotunda to see what things were like after the overnight-sleeping protesters had been cleared out pursuant to a state court order. It was easy to get into the building, and lots of protesters were back, chanting their usual chants. But one man — who did not agree with the protesters — decided he would occupy the central spot. To the consternation of the others, he invited people to come talk to him one-on-one.
There's reasonable dialogue along with unreasonable efforts to drown out that dialogue. A polite organizer asks the man to move out of the center of the rotunda, and he refuses. There's an almost perfectly beautiful interlude when everyone sings the national anthem. Nervous women air the notion that the man — and Meade — are Walker plants. The woman accusing Meade sticks her finger right into the camera lens. And then, somehow, Meade becomes human to her, and, as 2 young girls spot a friend on the balcony and run off, we have the feeling that maybe everything's going to be all right.
I started to imagine Wisconsinites coming back to the building every day, talking about everything, on and on, indefinitely into the future. That man who decided to hold dialogues in the center of the rotunda is a courageous man. But it isn't that hard to be as courageous as he was. In the long run, it's easier to do that than to spend your life intimidated and repressed. That man was showing us how to be free. He was there today, but you — and you and you! — could be there tomorrow, standing your ground, inviting people to talk to you, listening and going back and forth, for the sheer demonstration of the power of human dialogue and the preservation of freedom.
And you could start singing the National Anthem. If you go in, with no idea other than to sing the National Anthem, there's a good chance everyone will stop what they are yelling and chanting and sing along with you, because nobody wants to be seen not singing along with the National Anthem. Oh, except that one girl. But let's be charitable. She has a whole life inside her, and we don't know what it is.