The Reclaim Wisconsin rally: The epitome of Solidarity

One year ago I didn’t know any of the people I was warmly embracing and high-fiving as I walked around the Capitol Square today. In the course of just one short year, strangers have become almost like family members. Whereas a year ago a dude carrying a plastic inflatable palm tree around would have been avoided at all costs, this afternoon that dude received knowing smiles, chuckles and friendly pats on the back.  There were a lot of inside jokes made and lingo used that only a Wisconsinite could truly get. Today’s was a different kind of rally than that of last March, but no less important or necessary.

The day began with meetings of various groups and organizations near the Capitol Square. I attended the open house of Madison’s United Wisconsin office, which opened its doors to a steady stream of well-wishers and those in search of coffee and snacks. The office was packed with people from across the state. I ran into at least ten people from Waukesha and Jefferson Counties while I was there eating cookies, including Scott Michalak, the Democrat running against Joel Kleefisch.

There was music outside the office, with a small band warming everyone up before John Nichols spoke, followed by Mahlon Mitchell, and Peter Barca (who was very well-received).

Eventually, everyone meandered away from their smaller groups and meetings toward the Capitol Square, where over 65,000 gathered around the stage built on the stairs of the Capitol. The Solidarity Singers, a group which didn’t exist this time last year, regaled us with songs like “We Shall Overcome” and “Solidarity Forever” before we listened to and cheered on speakers including Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, Lori Compas, John Nichols, and others. (It seemed to me that the audience seemed most excited by Lori Compas…)

After the speakers, some people lingered, some went to area bars and restaurants, and some headed home. The whole day had felt really warm and fuzzy, and not just because of the balmy weather. Most everybody I encountered was smiling, and some were positively glowing, especially the elder members in the crowd.  Whereas last March there was almost a hunger in the air, this year the crowd seemed pleasantly sated. It was a leisurely atmosphere that lacked the urgency of the 2011 rallies. That’s not to say momentum or excitement has died down, because that’s not the case, by any means.

Today’s events seemed to tie up loose ends and tighten the bonds that we’ve formed over the past year. This battle isn’t over, and we’ve got a lot more work to do. But today was fun, energizing, and rejuvenating. It was like coming home. (Pictures)


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9 thoughts on “The Reclaim Wisconsin rally: The epitome of Solidarity

  1. It’s hard to understand how so called professionals can act like a screaming heard of pigs. Why not just come out and admit that you want our government to support you throughout your lives, from “cradle to grave”. But I say, nay nay! Why not just try to make your OWN way in the world and stop with the beggers mentality. I was given nothing from anyone, including our government, but was able to carve out a beautiful life. I have worked, studied and fixed every issue that has come my way, why should I be expected to support those who have made bad choices? Again, I say nay nay!! Does anyone of you have the marbles to try and justify your rantings? Or will I just be called a Troll again? I could start calling you guys PARASITES, because you need a host to survive, is that where we have to go, or will one of you step up to the plate?

    1. Boy Andy, you certainly do add a lot to the dialogue by comparing teachers, corrections officers, firefighters, police officers, probation & parole agents, etc. to a “screaming herd of pigs.”

      As to your comment that you were “given nothing from anyone, including our government,” I can’t help but question if you live by yourself on an island. After all, unless that’s the case, you’ve been given roads to drive on (and plowing of those roads in the winter), fire and police protection, and clean water to drink (if you’re not pulling off a well), among other things. The last time I checked, all of those things were provided to you by the government.

    2. Angry Andy,

      For all any of us know you’re a retired postal worker with some kind of chip on his pimply shoulder.

      As soon as you say something intelligent I’ll be happy to respond in an intelligent fashion.

      Until then it’s zit cream for you my angry little friend.

    3. Sir, your comments don’t seem to have anything to do with my post.
      Furthermore, you don’t know anything about me or the choices I’ve made throughout my life.
      Finally, I would never post such vitriolic and mean-spirited comments on anyone’s blog, and I ask that you please treat me with the same respect that I will afford you. Thank you.

      1. Don’t worry about him….something tells me he won’t be bothering us anymore unless he learns to behave himself.


        1. Yes I hear when people disagree here they get a redirect to some video. I saw a forum discussing this recently.

      2. I’ve been looking for that vote someone off the island button. We were told (by you know who) over at the retirement thread, that we lefties need to hold people accountable for their behavior. I worked an abuse crisis counseling program and I understand the legal definition. I’ve got a suggestion.

        Thanks so much ZachW, no time like the present.

    4. Angry [I’m. . .JUST. . .SOOOO. . .angry] Andy: “Does anyone of you have the marbles to try and justify your rantings?”

      Wow. (*laughing*) Clearly, Angry Andy knows a thing or two about ranting.


      Two words, AA. Anger Management. Get some help, huh?

  2. all i have to say is wow to angry andy,so so sad, nothing more…. my wife and i went to all rallies last yr, it was cold, but we felt warm, because we knew they werent going to get away with this,.. so ppl please support lori(i never met her or talked to her, but she inspired my wife and i at the rally on sat.and the courage).. get out and VOTE

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