The Republicans who lead the Wisconsin Assembly have been arresting anyone in the gallery of the Assembly who demonstrates anything like free speech. They arrest people with cameras, and they arrest people with signs, and they are even arresting people with small sheets of paper. According to the Republicans of the Wisconsin Assembly, free speech is a dead principle in Wisconsin. Perhaps they are afraid the news will get out that their special session on jubs was just an excuse to ram through right wing extremist elegislation on anything but jobs, but even right wing newspapers like the Appleton Post Crescent and the Wausau Daily Herald are now excoriating the Assembly Republicans.
But what of the people? Surely the star of that show is Joe Vittie’s 12 year old daughter, who was in the Assembly gallery doing homework about the constitution. Alas, she was taking notes, and the Republican rules of the Assembly don’t allow homework, especially if it’s about free speech. From the Progressive:
She was there because she had a quiz on Monday. The subject – Civics. (Yes, they still have civics classes in parts of Wisconsin – for now.)
And pray tell, what is the topic for said quiz? The Amendments to the United States Constitution – with emphasis on the Bill of Rights.
And with the recent mass arrests by Capitol Police, State Patrol, and even Conservation Wardens, cracking down on people holding signs, and videotaping in the Assembly gallery, this young woman thought it would be a great place to do her homework, and see her government in action.
What! This juvenile wanted to do her homework! And she wanted to go to the Capitol to do it?! Shouldn’t she be outside, doing drugs, or some other suitable ‘tween behavior?
So as the Assembly debated bills having nothing to do with jobs, in this “special” jobs session, she opened her 8.5”x11” green Civics notebook to the page in which she had listed each of the Bill of Rights. And under each amendment she had enumerated the specific freedoms granted by that law.
And here’s where her behavior became worthy of arrest. When she opened her spiral notebook, she folded it in half, front to back. And as she reviewed her notes, the other side of the notebook was visible to anyone in the opposite empty gallery, and potentially to a member of the Assembly, if they felt it a part of their sworn Constitutional duty, to review a seventh grader’s homework with her.
And they would need to borrow UW’s Washburn Observatory telescope to read the dangerous doodle – yes DOODLE – in this straight “A” student’s notebook:
“FREEDOM OF SPEECH: FIRST AMENDMENT”.
Fairly radical stuff, isn’t it? Maybe the Commies are making a comeback; after all, this did take place in Madison.
Now there were quite a few curlicues on the letters – and it was in ALL CAPS, so from an artistic standpoint, I can see why the Sergeant-at-arms staffer felt compelled to get this potential domestic terrorist under control, before she started drawing hearts, rainbows and kitty cats all over the place.
So the staffer, recently hardened in the continuing battles to remove former Viet Nam vets who dared to wear their United States Marine Corps hats, and hold 4×6 American flags in his gallery, decided to tell this budding Constitutional scholar to STOP DOING HER HOMEWORK.
Last night should be a turning point, if only the media here in Wisconsin and around the country pays attention. A 12 year old girl has her homework confiscated because she wrote “FREEDOM OF SPEECH: FIRST AMENDMENT” and then let that page of her notebook shine down on the legislators doing everything in their power to stifle the first amendment. She was even threatened with arrest!
Call your legislator now and ask him or her why this is happeneing, and ask them also WHERE ARE THE JOBS BILLS? Because that is surely what these Republicans are hiding, the reality that they are using the special jobs session to do anything but focus on jobs. So it goes in FitzWalkerstan nowadays.