Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Was There

I haven't considered myself a super-political gal in the past. I write the occasional letter to a representative. I vote. I try to follow news - beyond the endless op-ed pieces run on cable "news" networks.
Until this week, I wasn't really granola enough to put on my marching boots and que up with the masses.

Today, my legs are tired from a five hour march in Madison. Today, my voice is hoarse from singing the national anthem on the steps of the capitol building with a crowd of 100,000. Today, my arms are tired from pulling my son in a wagon, alongside the thousands of other moms and dads and grandparents carrying their children with them on the walk.
I am tired physically, but internally, I feel refreshed, renewed, and encouraged.

Yesterday, we arrived in Madison in time to join the police and firefighters' unions as they marched from the Municipal Building to the Capitol.

There were some amusing characters in the crowd.

The majority of the crowd were just decent people, union and non-union alike. They were smiling, They were singing. They were joining together in a spirit of unity and hope. The mood was overwhelmingly positive and civil. In the middle of a group of tens of thousands, I didn't see a single angry word exchanged. Not a single scuffle, not a single angry slur aimed at anyone in the crowd. The gathering remained unfailingly polite, hospitable and respectful. People handed out food and drink to each other. They kept the grounds spotless.

The people gathering in Madison this past week - over 250,000 so far - have been there to support each other, to speak out on each other's behalf, to stand and be counted together. It has been more than a protest. More than a demonstration. This has been a gathering of respect, of kindness, of civility, of appreciation. That is what the people in Madison have demonstrated this week, and it is all we are asking for from our government.

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