Citizen Dave: Dave Erwin should meet & talk with Solidarity Sing Along participants

This is worth a read…

It’s always a hard to understand in the moment if a form of direct action is helping or hurting the cause. Sitting in at lunch counters is now understood to be heroic and important. But at the time, even some of those who supported civil rights weren’t so sure. Disrupting speeches of those you oppose seems to me to be always bad form and counter to an open-minded university and community. The Dow disruption, while ugly, probably ended up being a positive for the movement to end the war. The Sterling Hall bombing was seen by most to be criminal, morally wrong and extremely counter-productive.

And the sing-along? Time will tell. Clearly, both sides see advantage in continuing the confrontation because either side could end it tomorrow if they wanted to. Solidarity Sing Along participants see the confrontation as giving front-page attention to their cause, while the Walker administration apparently sees advantage in providing red meat for his base of conservative supporters.

But there’s one last lesson from Levin’s history that is worth noting. Ralph Hanson was the UW police chief during much of the campus unrest. Hanson was there on the front lines himself and the protestors came to know and like him. No one knows how many potentially violent confrontations were diffused because of that human relationship.

By contrast, hard line Capitol Police Chief Dave Erwin is nowhere to be found at the daily protests. He has developed no relationship or dialogue at all with the people who attend them. So, he has become easy to hate as the devil they don’t know.

One step toward resolution, if that is actually wanted by either side, would be for Erwin to meet with the sing-along participants and listen to their message, try to get to know and understand them, and then share his perspective. That in itself won’t end the confrontation, but it might lessen the tensions and head off any serious physical confrontations down the road. It’s much harder to hate the devil you know.


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13 thoughts on “Citizen Dave: Dave Erwin should meet & talk with Solidarity Sing Along participants

  1. What I found most interesting about Cieslewicz’s piece is that he suggests a political advantage in all of this for Walker. He doesn’t suggest the singers stand is hurting Walker going into 2014.

    1. “…a political advantage…for Walker.”


      If so, blaming the singers is like the rapist saying, “She asked for it!”

      Isn’t Erwin and the excessive force by his goons, under Walker’s direction, saying similarly, “They asked for it!”?

      I suppose Walker’s loyalists may see “a political advantage” in excessive force used on non-violent protestors to suppress speech, assembly, and petition, but no conscience of a fair-minded person could justify or condone this behavior by the Capitol police under Erwin, Huebsch, and Walker(the buck stops at the top).

        1. Steve, I could have used “exuding excrement” or “releasing lower bowel gaseous excess orally” but they had been used recently. I was compelled to seek an alternative hyperbolic analogy that only reached three quarter’s of satisfying being “flabbergasted.”

          Please accept the apology of an older, brother Democrat.

    2. “What I found most interesting about Cieslewicz’s piece is that he suggests a political advantage in all of this for Walker.”

      No, Steve, that’s not what Cieslewicz wrote. He wrote that “the Walker administration apparently sees advantage” for itself in the crackdown while the singers also believe that they benefit from the continued confrontation.

      You strongly implied that Cieslewicz himself sees “a political advantage in all of this for Walker,” but it seems clear to me that Cieslewicz is not sure which side has the advantage. (I don’t see how you can draw any other conclusion from “And the sing-along? Time will tell.”)

    3. Whether Cieslewicz suggested it or not, let ME suggest Walker IS doing this for political advantage for the simple reason of: when has he ever done anything that wasn’t to his advantage? He would not be allowing the arrests to continue if he thought they put him in a bad light. So clearly, he thinks they help him with that hippie-hating Teabagger base, or the corporatists of ALEC, or the deep pocket donors like Dianne What’s-her-name, the billionairess of Beloit. Why ELSE would he do it?

      1. Bob, I define Walker as a zealot A zealot is not a reasonable person; he is driven to an extreme by his “fanatical and uncompromising” beliefs. Negative reviews and challenges to a zealot’s ideals and decisions only causes him to resort to a doubling down or an increase in the tactics chosen. A zealot is not deterred by unfavorable short term results; a zealot’s motto is, “The END justifies the means. In other words, Walker’s conscience and ethics are crippled or blind to “bad” methods necessary to achieve his “good” goal.

        1. Duane12,
          The danger here is that it is easy underestimate Walker. He is not the hapless, corrupt zealot you’d like to believe him to be; he is one of the most ruthlessly shrewd, effective (and evil in his corruption) politicians of our time. Do not accept “our” rhetoric and underestimate him.

          1. Bob, I reject your modification of my definition of Walker’s zealotry by adding “…hapless, corrupt…” and then concluding “…you’d like him to be.” I cannot answer a misstatement and a false premise.

            1. Apologies, Duane, I was sloppy in attaching my criticism of our side underestimating Walker to your use of the word zealous. But the overblown, and inaccurate, rhetoric the left employs sets us up for disappointment with the success and acceptance of Walker and his policies by the average low information voter.

  2. I’m not sure Erwin is looking for a solution or even a dialogue. Remember he is ex-State Police and Walker’s former bodyguard It may be he is under orders from Walker to “divide and conquer.” Already we see rival GOP singers on the scene. We must remember lessons from past history of Walker’s uncompromising zealotry such as the Milwaukee County Courthouse guards dispute and his use of State Police and hired thugs in his epic battle with the Wisconsin 14 and the Capitol protestors over ACT10.

    Walker is no compromiser in the good sense of the word to arrive at a reasonable and peaceful solution. Don’t expect any better from Erwin whose ethics have been bought and paid for or is “just following orders” (Walker’s).

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