In order to really capture what it felt like to attend the pro-Walker rally at Hart Park a few weeks ago, Phil and I embedded ourselves in the crowd. In some ways, it felt more like participation than reporting to me, even though that was not the intent. For days after the event, I was not myself. I was aggressive, angry, on edge, and kind of depressed. I was deeply affected by the use of fear, anger and hatred these politicians harnessed in order to score political points.
I understand why Tommy Thompson felt the need to go all Tony Soprano with his “they’ll be black and blue!” remarks. It’s effective. It gets votes.
But after a Facebook group made threats to those who signed the Walker recall petition yesterday, some citizens are now terrorized and live in fear that they’ll suffer the wrath of these bullies. This is not okay. And it shouldn’t fall solely on the shoulders of the GAB to rectify the situation.
The politicians who encouraged this kind of behavior at Hart Park must denounce it, NOW, if they truly care about Wisconsin. They must not pretend that there’s no correlation between their hate speech and the hateful actions taken by their supporters. They must put the needs of those they serve or seek to serve over the needs of themselves.