It's official: I'm exhausted. But I can't stop paying attention, which means that I can't stop running around to cover as much of the goings on here in Madison as physically possible. I suspect I'm going to get very sick very soon if this keeps up.
Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in on a roundtable interview with SEIU president Mary Kay Henry. You can read more about that over at today's Emily's Post if you'd like, but suffice to say that she was very personable and very informed and seems like an excellent choice to lead that union group. Glad she came to town to show support.
Today I've been at the capitol since about 11 a.m., observing yet another rally on the State Street steps (it was only a matter of time before local political song group The Raging Grannies got their turn at the mic). I slipped inside about halfway through to find the rotunda as filled with people and drumming as always.
Only two of the entrances/exist to the building are open (north and west, I think) to the public, with a very heavy police presence guarding all of the rest, as well as upper stairways and galleries leading to Senate, Assembly, and Supreme Court chambers. I've seen cops and troopers from all over the state, too, including places like Waukesha and Manitowoc.
On the second floor of the capitol there are several impromptu stations set up by and for protesters, including a large free food set-up (I availed myself of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I was about to fall over from hunger at one point), a first aid station, boxes full of free toiletries for those camping out, information booths, and more.
These folks know how to do it up right.
My only regret is that I physically can't partake of the boatloads of free pizza being donated from around the country/world to the protesters via Ian's Pizza. It's hard to catch wafts of delicious cheese smells and know that I can't eat any. Stupid lactose intolerance.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who's been in town for a few days now, also joined Rep. Tammy Baldwin at the head of a large parade of state firefighters as they walked around the rotunda and eventually gave some short, fiery speeches at the center of the crowd. Think I managed to snap a few good shots of the shindig, so keep your eye on my Flickr account if you're interested.
Anyway, this afternoon I'm going to attempt to cover the firefighters and nurses "address for the people" at 3 p.m. that will act as a sort of counterweight (I hope) to Walker's fireside chat at 6 p.m. - which is bound to be just as smug and infuriating as always.
A friend just brought me free food from Himal Chuli, so my day is pretty damn good.