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The People’s House February 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — wiunion @ 3:29 am

Looking around the vast lawn, all I could see were people, signs and police. What struck me most was just how determined and yet polite folks were. “Oh, sorry, do you need to get through?” We were not related, but it seemed that everyone was family.

“Have you been inside yet?” I shook my head. I was planning to get around to it, but we were busy serving coffee and hot chocolate to people standing out in the cold.

A stern look followed, “You have to go.” I shrugged. I’d get around to it.

“No really. You HAVE to go.”

I followed her through the crowd on the front lawn, up the staircase, around the building to the side entrance – the only entrance in or out of the building these days. There were countless police officers, but they looked remarkably relaxed. No one bothered the police; they’re union, too. They get it, but they have to protect the safety and welfare of all people. They directed us politely to the entrance door.

Walking in, the first thing you notice is the sound.
It’s deafening.

“Usually, you can hear a pin drop in here and it echoes through the halls,” I was told.

Today, all you could hear was people. The rotunda is its own echo chamber, amplifying each person’s voice beyond its own range. But today, there was a symphony of voices rising up to the heavens to praise democracy. It was as fervent as an evangelical revival as thousands and thousands of people lifted their voices to the heavens.

It felt like the collective consciousness of all of us had awoken, and was channeled right into that room. It was transcendent. It was a moment in my life I would never give away, yet I wish folks all around the country could be in its presence even for a minute. It is a mecca in and of its own right, a mecca of democracy.

The people of Wisconsin have taken over – and taken back – their House. It’s time for every day Americans to take back their country.

Rise up, fellow citizens, and sing to the heavens your hopes and dreams. One voice becomes two, and two becomes four until the collective voice of hope – real hope – transcends political ideology.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

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14 Responses to “The People’s House”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara Loring and matt t1, Diane Russell. Diane Russell said: New Blog posted: http://solidaritywisconsin.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/the-peoples-house/ #wiUnion […]

  2. Patty Kean Says:

    Wonderful reporting, Diane. We need to rely on first hand accounts of the people rather than the news shows.The true spirit and experience of our society comes through so powerfully in your accounts.

    On the other hand, Boston local channels, all 3 of them (4, 5 & 7) “reported” on the rally of support at the State House this afternoon. Actually, they shaped the report in such a biased way, I am hard pressed to call it “reporting.”

    Here are the facts: 1800 people gathered in front of the State House on the Commons. About 20, and I mean just 20, anti-union folks stood together on the other side of the street, by the steps going down into the commons. But ALL 3 stations framed it such that if I had not gone, I would have thought it was 900 anti-union protesters and 900 pro union supporters. The “reporters” actually interviewed more anti union protesters and for longer comments than the other 1780 people.

    I want the airways back for the people and honest civil discourse!

    Today, these are public airways are exploited by the national corporations. Make no mistake about this: media, local and national, are in the pockets of the very rich and powerful. I watched the interviews take place and watched these anti-union folks gather, be interviewed, start a loud fight for the cameras and then leave shortly afterward. I wondered then if they were news plants to be interviewed…

    In the meantime, several democratic representatives (Markey, Lynch, Capuano) and Gov. Patrick made it clear that to strengthen the state, they have no intention of hurting the union or the public servants right to bargain. In fact, it was nice to hear the acknowledgment that the unions are what makes our state strong.

    A representative of the nurse’s union spoke powerfully ~ saying that we aren’t the public enemy #1 as the Tea Party, the GOP, make us out to be. We are actually the ones who advocate for your children, for you when you are sick, for your elderly parents. We put out the fires in your neighborhoods and put our lives at risk to protect you…

    And, because we unionize ~ YOUR employer has to pay you better than if we are busted and rendered powerless…Now who do you think will benefit from that?

    Follow the money.

  3. Lornie Richards Says:

    When you say take our country back, what do you mean? Keep us in massive debt. Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for the mess our country is in. Taxpayers, citizens and yes state employees are paying the price for government waste fraud and abuse. Miss Russell, as a Democrat can you explain the Trillions in debt the Democrats have voted for in Washington. Who is going to pay? Who is going to pay for the Billions of debt to the Maine state retirement system? Who is going to fix it? Are the taxpayers to blame ..no, are the state employees to blame …No? who kept kicking the can down the road? who made the mess…LEGISLATORS just like you. So when you leave to go fight for these employees. Just remember you have let the employees down in your state. If you are going to be a Representative of the state of Maine either do your job or don’t come back.

  4. Guy Bourrie Says:

    Lornie, get your facts straight!
    The so-called “bail outs” were voted in at a time of and to help prevent further, economic catastrophe. Most of that money will and is being paid back with interest. The billions owed to the Maine State Retirement system is owed because past administrations did not pay their share into it. Perhaps it would be better to replace Maine Retirement with Social Security. I bet that won’t go unfunded, but it will cost the state more. As far as this rep doing her job, she is and doing a very admirable job of it at that. In your ignoranceyYou would bite the hand that feeds you, or in this case stands up for you–unless you are an employee of the Koch Bros.

    • JULIUS Says:

      PEOPLE LIKE GUY ARE IN A DREAM LAND, PAY BACK WITH INTEREST, THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS BEEN RAPED AND PILAGES LONG ENOUGH, WE THE PEOPLE (NOT THE FAT UNION MEMBERS) WILL TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY, WE ARE SICK OF THE PEOPLE WE PAY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, (MOSTLY STATE EMPLOYEES MEANING STATE, COUNTY AND LOCAL) MAKING MORE THAN THE AVERAGE PRIVATE PERSON WITH TEN TIMES THE BENEFITS THAT WE THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAVE. THE CASH COW HAS COME TO AN END SO GET READY, THERE IS ANOTHER NOVEMBER COMING FAST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • JULIUS Says:

        GUY IS OBVIOUSLY A TEACHER OR PUBLIC WORKER OR A UNION REP.
        WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HE TALING ABOUT, IE: THE PAST ADIMNISTRATIONS PAYING DID NOT PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE ????????
        YOU MEAN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THE MONEY COMES FROM US.
        GET A LIFE AND GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY, WHERE I HOPE THE 14 DEMS GET SHIPPED TO AFTER SKIPPING OUT ON THEIR ELECTED JOB, I WONDER WHO IS PAYING FOR THE HOTEL ROOMS, THAT DEFINATLEY NEEDS TO BE CHECKED ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lornie Richards Says:

      The hand that feeds me is hard work my friend. It is the Legislature that appropriates money for the retirement system. They along with Pension fund managers and union leaders decide when to add to the unfunded mandates,
      not prior administrations, so get your facts straight. Miss Russell is a legislator and I am certain she had no problem voting for covering the experience losses to the pension fund which is a violation of the Constitution of the State of Maine. The Federal government last year collected 2.1 Trillion dollars in revenue yet ran a 1.5Trillion dollar deficit. I can’t raise my debt ceiling and spend money I do not have. What happened to fiscal sanity. What you and Ms. Russell fail to realize is that our kids and grand kids are going to pay for all of this debt. If the State had a “defined contribution benefit plan” the state would be paying far less for Pensions. They should be no different than the private sector where employees pay their fair share. How is it right when 20% of a states budget goes to pay just for retirement and that’s before payroll, which will occur as of 2015. Then there’s the debt service. Where do you propose this money is coming from. You are the one who has boundless ignorance because government is not the hand that is supposed to feed everyone because as soon as it does it is now a socialist country with a dictatorial & tyrannical government> If you believe in Freedom and the Constitution and in America you would not have said what you said.

      • Patty Kean Says:

        Hi Lornie,

        I really appreciate your fears for the future generations. I share in them! Especially since my first grandchild was born 3 months ago! Funny how those babies make future generations seem more real!

        I love your question: Where is the money going to come from?

        I have some ideas about this one. Since the WI walkout on Walker ~ I have learned a lot more about $$$ via Twitter posts.

        Did you know that oil companies Exxon Mobile do not pay any taxes on its billions of $$ in profits? I just learned about this! It has something called a tax shelter ~ a main address for its corporation on a small island somewhere ~ and so it makes tons of money from us ~ our tax money helps clean up its messes ~ and provides infrastructure for these corporations ~ yet it doesn’t pay the US one dime in taxes! Now, that sounds a bit like welfare to me ~ only these guys aren’t poor!!!!

        Here is another article I read last week via Twitter: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

        Be careful reading this one if you have high blood pressure.

        And, the very rich own 98% of the media in this country now ~ thanks to the politicians who let themselves be sold and paid for by the billionaires ~ so all we get after working our butts off all day ~ when we sit down ~ exhuasted (I work 12 hour days too) ~ is this one sided story ~ making us angry with each other ~ instead of w/ the billionaires and the politicians (DEMs, GOPs, TeaParty) who support them.

        I belong to a teacher’s union ~ and if we didn’t have this union ~ I would be paid less than I already am (I make less than my students who get jobs after graduating and working for 2 years ~ and I have been teaching for 30 years).

        I am sick as hell and I don’t want to take it any more from government + the rich corporations. These people are not MY neighbors or MY friends. They do NOT care about MY grandchild’s future.

        I want to support LABOR! The people who work their butts off ~ day after day and have precious little to show for it at the end of each month.

        I live from pay chedk to pay check too ~ I am helping to support my kids who are trying to find jobs in this awful economy!

        We can’t turn against each other. That is what these rich guys like the Koch brothers want. They are funding the corrupt politicians and they control the media.

        Workers did not make the corporations take employ people in other countries! The greed of corporations did!

        Workers deserve a right to health care, and enough wages to make ends meet and maybe take a trip to see the grandchildren each year!

        We don’t have capitalism here any more! We have a welfare state! But it is welfare for the corporations ~ who are now monopolies. NO REAL competition exists for them ~ and they wipe out all the small businesses too! But blame the cost of healthcare for the workers!

        Yikes. Like I said, I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it anymore.

        That is why I gave some of my hard earned $$$ to Rep Russell to go to WI!

  5. Barbara Corsi Says:

    Well done.

  6. JULIUS Says:

    DIANE RUSSELL IS ANOTHER WHINNING DEM, WHAT THE HE11 IS SHE DOING THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, HER STATE WILL BE NEXT TO CARRY THE AXE.
    IS SHE GOING TO RUN AND HIDE LIKE THE OTHER COWARDS, AFFRAID THAT THE BIG UNION BOSSES WON’T CONTRIBUTE TO HER CAMPAIN NEXT TIME, POLITICIANS LIKE HER MAKE ME SICK, VERY SICK, JUST REMEMBER NOVEMBER, THERE AREN’T THAT MANY UNIONS IN THE STATES THAT CAN KEEP HER IN OFFICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Beth Fahlberg Says:

    Diane, Thank you for the eloquent description of this most amazing and historic of Wisconsin experiences. I have been in the capitol rotunda many times as a resident of Madison, and have been struck by the beauty and grandeur of this place. However, in visiting there since the protests started last week, this place has been transformed from a symbol of our state government to a true seat of democracy for not only this state, but for this nation. It is inspiring.

    As Madisonians, Capitol Square is an integral part of our lives- something that was amazing to experience when I moved here 4 years ago. On Saturdays during the warm months we shop at the wonderful Dane County Farmer’s Market. We picnic on the capitol lawn, our kids climb the trees, and we go in the capitol building when attending events to use the bathroom facilities, to get relief from the heat or simply to appreciate the beauty of this place. On summer weeknights we enjoy concerts here, and throughout the year we attend festivals and events that take place on or near the square. Geographically, our Capitol was strategically situated by the founders of this city at the middle of a narrow isthmus between two lakes, next to the flagship of the University of Wisconsin system, signifying the integral and reciprocal relationship between the government of this state and its people. I have only been a Wisconsonian a short time, but I’ve quickly discovered that this is a unique place where people care about what goes on, and they will work tirelessly to support and fight for what they believe is right. This is why Wisconsin is known as a laboratory of democracy, and I’m privileged to call this my home.

  8. […] according to her blog for the trip, to bring hot *chocolate* to those gathered in the cold. Good call, Diane! We were rooting for you […]

  9. Bill Buehler Says:

    An interesting event at this time. I have had the Madison Capitol plotted as a major Earth Grid “eye” or “resh: (Chief Head Stone) point for a number of years. The Grid is intercontinental covering most of this side of the Planet (collective Planet/Race). The area would be very senstive to World events in the present accelerating Transition, surging now. (I live in Colorado.) There are other large grids keying into this one now including Celestial systems. For those interested in this kind of thing you might want to also check into what Madison may be doing beyond the politics.


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