July 15, 2013 By Samantha Masterton
[What follows are written comments submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Administration as part of the public input process on the promulgation of emergency administrative rules. – Editors]
We can agree on one thing … there is an emergency in Wisconsin.
Scott Walker has said that he wants to divide and conquer the people of this state. Walker shows contempt for established procedures while ramming through legislation that hurts workers, public education, healthcare, unions, women, and the environment. Walker pads the pockets of the rich at the expense of the middle and lower classes. He sneers at the constitutional rights of the people to assemble and express discontent. If that is not an emergency, I don’t know what is.
I have to believe that we can agree on something else. If someone came into your life and started attacking all the things you hold dearest, you would fight back. I have to believe that you would perceive those attacks as an emergency. I have to believe you would do everything you could think of to restore the values and institutions that help you define what it is to be a loving, caring human being in this crazy mixed-up world.
And that is exactly what I am doing. I am doing everything I can think of to overcome the destruction Scott Walker is perpetrating in Wisconsin, a state I fervently love. It’s an emergency, and I am fighting back.
I donate money. I hit the streets and get petition signatures. I protest among handfuls and hundreds and thousands of people, again and again and again. I work to achieve and to protect election integrity. I place signs in my yard. I attend Assembly and Senate hearings in person, and I watch, on Wisconsin Eye, hours upon hours of our state government at work.
I read articles. I knock on doors. I write e-mails. I organize democracy forums so citizens can come together and discuss issues that are important to them. I continue to learn the names and voting records of our elected officials. I reach out to and argue and plead with my neighbors and friends. I make phone calls. I display signs and wear t-shirts to fight the mine, to end corporate rule, to recall Walker. I vote. I research and support candidates I think have my best interests in mind. And, I sing.
So many of the efforts described in the above paragraph have not helped to thwart Scott Walker’s painful and deadly agenda. I have faced failure more times than I care to describe. The disappointment and heartbreak can be overwhelming. The only thing I have that never disappoints me is the Solidarity Sing Along.
It is not easy for me to come to Madison. I work full-time. I am the primary caretaker of my 87 year-old mother. I live in Antigo. The trip is expensive. But, I come as often as I can because it is the only thing I have that gives me the strength to fight another day.
The “emergency” rules you are trying to impose on the expression of free speech in the Capitol only add to the REAL emergency of the dismantling of democracy that is currently happening in Wisconsin. Imposing absurd limits on peaceful expressions during non-business hours will only inspire me to break the rules and to help expose the absurdity.
For more than two years, the Solidarity Sing Along has been peaceful, non-violent, and acquiescent to groups/events with permits. Leave us the hell alone, and quit spending unnecessary money and allocating unnecessary resources to try to quell our speech. We are not hurting anyone. We are not breaking any laws. We are responding to the REAL emergency, and the Capitol is made for such responses. It’s the PEOPLE’S HOUSE, and it was built for our singing.