Here's my February 13, 2011 post about the "very low key" crowd at the Capitol that day. Typical sign, from before things blew up: "Bullying Is NOT the Answer! Fix if the Plan Needed!" I went on about the lameness of the protest:
You can see that it wasn't a very big crowd. There was an effort to get cars to honk, and when they honked, the honkees went "Wooo!"No chants! I need to be careful what I agitate for.
There were no speakers and no chants.
There was one man — I have video but I'm not posting it — who seemed a bit disoriented, who did something that is comically easy to do in a low-key protest. He started speaking, haranguing, like he was the leader. The group of nice, tolerant people did nothing to shoo him away. It was rather touching, even as it underlined the ineffectiveness of the protest.Ha ha. Is this all you got? I asked.
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm Sunday, and our new governor has just dropped a shocking union-busting proposal that our newly Republican legislature is likely to step up and pass. This is the push-back from the unions?
It was the next day, the 14th, that things started getting big. All I had that day was a link to Isthmus columnist Bill Lueders who said protests would be "a colossal waste of everybody's time, and exactly the reaction Gov. Walker hopes to inspire." The protests would boost Walker?
Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing; or they turn violent and create a massive backlash against the unions and their members. Either way, Walker wins.My reaction was: "Wow. When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?"
That's all very funny in retrospect. And I was definitely wrong. Madison lefties were immensely, passionately optimistic about protests. And Lueders was right, wasn't he? The protests, in the end — we're not quite at the end yet — will have boosted Walker.