I grew up in a little town on Lake Superior. Ashland was my home and I felt safe there. I was in the band in high school, I was in some plays, I even sang in some musicals. It was a good life and a safe one. I remember good times with friends. I remember falling in love for the first time and suffering that first broken heart, the one that never quite mends. I remember hearing my Mom sing while she cooked and baked each Saturday and I remember my Dad and brother Mike laughing until they cried while watching Laurel and Hardy movies. And I remember Clare and I trying so desperately to grow up much too fast.
As happens with most families, we grew up and apart. Dad died when I was 20 just before Clare left for her freshman year of college. Suddenly my Mom was alone, a time for her and Dad was lost and replaced by her living alone for the first time since her marriage some 30 years before. My brother Mike lived in Alaska, Mary and her family lived in Japan and then Singapore for many years. Clare and I were in college in Madison, living in Ogg. I was in 1272 Ogg East and Clare was in 1113 Ogg Wast. We could see each other from our windows. We did everything together, studied, partied and grew up.
Ashland was still our home and in the summers we piled our belongings in the back of Dad's truck and drove ourselves home. Laughing to the Journey concert on the radio and excited for three months of rest, food and friends.
Since then, Clare and I married. She will celebrate her 20th anniversary this year and I will celebrate my 19th anniversary this year too. Clare's boys are growing up much too quickly and time is flying by.
But something happened to our little world this year and I was not prepared for it. This year, we in Wisconsin are under attack by our own legislature. Mr. Walker our new Governor is attempting to strong arm a budget repair bill by bypassing the normal routes and shoving it down our throats. Perhaps he though we were still celebrating the Packer Superbowl win, I don't know what he was thinking.
And I am to blame for this problem. I assumed that our leaders that we elect are reasonable, intelligent and hard-working people. Instead, we have a petulant man pretending to be the Governor by living in the big house in Maple Bluff, but he is no Governor. He is refusing to meet and/or talk to the 14 Democratic State Senators who fled our state to keep the budget repair bill from passing. This is a purely legal move, it is allowed. The bill that normally would have had 6 months of discussions and meeting with people, instead had about 2 weeks. When Mr. Walker refused to make any concessions our strong 14 Senators, fled the state. That was the only way to stop this blatant attack on the middle class and specifically women.
I have been in mourning since this happened because in addition to dealing with my disability and the constant pain, I have also been under attack from friends who I thought were at least willing to listen and I found out differently. I lost a good friend, someone I trusted attacked my in writing because I think the Governor is being a jack ass. I think the Governor should get off his throne, make some calls and broker an agreement between the Democrats and Republicans that we can all live with. In case he forgot, the Democrats are citizens too.
Where did the good old days go? I know. They were the days when we relied on our parents and other adults to take care of this great state and make sure that nothing bad happens. Keep out of state interest from buying up our power plants and creating an "Enron" in our state. I assumed that someone else was making sure things are OK. But I was wrong.
It's time for all of us, Demorcrats and Republicans to listen to each other and figure out what we can live with and then get on with our lives. It's time for me to stop assuming someone else is taking care of things and do it myself. It's time to educate myself and stop expecting everyone else to make sure this world is OK and that we treat people with dignity and respect if they have earned it. It's time to make my voice heard and carry a sign and march in protest of this great attack on the middle class.
You can disagree with my convictions, but if you are reading this I hope this wakes you up to the world problems that need all of us to repair. No I can't walk all day and sleep on the floor, but I can write letters and stories and I can communicate with others. This week my husband and I will head to the Capitol in Madison again, to protest, voice our concerns and feel the energy and the love from the folks all around us. I was afraid to go there, but after being in the Capitol, we were welcomed and frankly I was thinking a verse or two of kumbaya was going to break out any minute.
Wisconsin stands at the forefront of a new labor movement. A movement that will provide a good working wage for all workers, not just union employees and not just state employees. Wisconsin is leading the nation again in labor relations and this is too important to let it die on our watch. WE will not accept MR. Walkers stone walling. The Democrats have asked him to meet, he has refused.
His job is to broker and agreement we all can live with and for God's sake, make him stop taking calls from the Koch brothers while he is working. If he can talk to the Koch Brothers, he can talk to the Wisconsin 14.
Thanks for listening.