...you've said it all!
This week, more than any other, my heart is in my old home town, Madison. It is with all the teachers and friends I used to work with, with my friend Emily and her family of police officers, who have been down at the Capitol, my old neighbours, and all the other people I knew. Actually, it's with everyone who has spent the last nine days supporting the protests against the proposed budget repair bill.
The nuts and bolts of this issue are this:
In an attempt to address the deficit facing Wisconsin, the governor has proposed a bill that will cut funding to schools, double employee contributions for healthcare and other benefits for teachers (many of whom already take a hit when they pay for school supplies out of their own pockets), and would limit the teachers' unions collective bargaining rights for anything other than wages.
The 14 Democratic senators have fled the state in order to stall a vote to pass this bill as the state assembly cannot hold a quorum without them there. There are tens of thousands of protesters (around 70,000 on Saturday alone) who have turned out to the Capitol to voice their opposition. And while this bill only targets teachers' and other city/state employees' bargaining rights, other union groups (cops, fire fighters, steel workers, etc) have shown up to stand in solidarity with the teachers and state/UW employees.
I've been watching the development of this protest in the town I used to call my home, along with the protests in other countries, and I find myself invigorated with the energy of knowing that one person does have the power to make an impact. People DO have voices, and we can hear them!
I found these two videos taken by a person right there in the middle of it. Not only are they well filmed and edited, but the choice of music and the scenes they capture have moved me. I feel very homesick when I watch them.
In these clips (though I can't really see them) are people I know.
And, I know just where I'd be if I were there.