Saturday, March 12, 2011

One Day Longer, One Day Stronger

Photo by the great Cat Degen
I am tired.

And I'm not talking about the regular, watched too many episodes of West Wing instead of going to bed kind of tired. No, the kind of tired I am is the type of exhaustion that makes your bones ache and your muscles drag and your sister say, "Wow, you look tired."

My whole city is that kind of tired. It's palpable to anyone who happens to be walking down State Street, away from the Capitol Building that we can't get into anyway. The same people whose energy has spurred me on for the last 24 days are walking more slowly, heads down, signs lagging, visibly hurt.

Lucy, Maddy, Anna and me (photo by Jessica Carrier)
The last month has contained some of the most difficult days of my life. I've been disappointed by public figures, flabbergasted at the daily goings on of state politics, and offended by hateful, disparaging comments slung by media outlets and senators about myself, my fellow state employees, my family, my teachers, my schools, and my city. I'm more committed than ever to my cause, but I readily admit that pushing forward has become increasingly difficult.

I was feeling pretty low yesterday when I remembered a piece by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister I had heard at the Third Coast Festival. Listening to Si Se Puede (which starts about halfway through this episode of Re:Sound) was like a Five-Hour Energy for my mood (only much less disgusting and without the fear of possibly becoming radioactive). I highly recommend it to anyone who's feeling the Governor Walker hangover right now.

...another photo by Jessica Carrier
Our story isn't there yet, because it isn't finished. We don't have a triumphant ending. But even though it's a work in progress, I wanted to give something to my citywide, statewide, cross-country family of protesters. This isn't news, and it doesn't have a perfect story arc. Think of it as a love letter to the hundreds of thousands of people who have stood together for the last several weeks. One day longer, one day stronger!

HOST: This Wednesday, the state of Wisconsin passed a controversial bill limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees. Here, labor activists at Thursday's solidarity rally react to the bill's passage, and a Madison union organizer discusses a press release distributed by the Governor Wednesday detailing "Strange but true provisions of collective bargaining."

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