Wisconsin: Still Fighting.
Today is the first day of spring. When people started standing up for their rights against the anti-union actions of Republican Governor Scott Walker, it was still very much winter. It's been 5 weeks since Gov. Walker proposed eliminating the collective bargaining rights of state workers and 14 Wisconsin legislators left the state to prevent a vote on the measure. In that time, we've seen the largest rallies that Madison has ever seen, by some estimates 150,000 gathered in the cold at any given time, to stand in solidarity for the rights of people to organize.
Five weeks is longer than it took the Egyptian people to overthrow a dictator who had been in power for 30 years.
You wouldn't know any of this from watching the news or even from listening to the radio. Sure, there has been lots to cover in the news lately, but the media blackout about Wisconsin has been nearly complete. A search for "Wisconsin Protest" on the nytimes.com finds nothing more recent than March 10. Same story (or lack thereof) on CNN. Searching on NPR doesn't produce articles about how thousands of people are standing strong -- though they do have a story about how a judge thinks the actions of Wisconsin Republicans might be unconstitutional.
I'm not really sure why this is happening. Maybe it's because the protests have been too peaceful. When 150,000 people get together and not one single person is arrested, there's not much of a story there. Except that there are stories everywhere.
I haven't had the chance to go to Wisconsin myself, but a good friend of mine visited last weekend. She reports that it was one of the most peaceful, family-friendly rallies she has ever been to. People from around the world are ordering pizzas for the protesters. And Iraq Veterans Against the War are joining the protest, pointing out that if we have enough money to spend hundreds of thousands on each Tomahawk missile, we've got enough to pay a teacher's pension.
So what can you do (assuming you can't make it to Wisconsin yourself)? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper and demand they cover the outpouring of people power. Join the End the Wisconsin Media Blackout Facebook page. Or just call up and order them some more pizza.
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