When this whole thing started on February 14 no one, not the protesters or the politicians or the media, thought this would become a new Movement, would last so long.
But here we are. Here we remain.
It's gotten more frustrating as the GOP-controlled Legislature pushes through bill after destructive bill in a seeming whirlwind of activity. Tensions between protesters and police have begun to result in excessive uses of force and poor decisions. There are now the inevitable schisms within the movement, between people who have different ideas of how best to see this thing through. For the most part, though, there is unity - and an indefatigable spirit of community and determination to make Wisconsin, make our country, better for everyone.
A protest tent "city" called Walkerville has been ongoing at the capitol square all week and will now be headed into a second. There have been teach-ins and free concerts, shared meals, theatrical protests.
Next week will be a real test, though - of the cohesiveness of the movement and the people involved, of their willingness to remain peaceful, patient, and active. Gov. Walker, you see, is prepared to see Act 10 (the so-called budget "repair" bill, which includes stripping collective bargaining rights from public employees) introduced as an amendment to the bigger, biennial budget. That means no more public hearings, no committee votes, just a straight vote on the floors of the Senate and Assembly.
Worth noting, too, is the fact that the biennial budget now includes severe restrictions on the collective bargaining rights of police and firefighters, who had previously been exempt. One can only assume this is a little payback for the fact that so many cops and firefighters joined in solidarity with the protesters, recognizing (rightly, as it turns out) that they were likely next. And that the Good Fight means standing up for others even when you're not directly effected.
So next week is probably going to be big. The governor knows this - a state emergency response team has apparently been formed to keep tabs on social media sites for inside tips on what the protesters are planning (I'm looking further into this, by the by, so stay tuned).
No matter what does happen in the coming days, though, we must all remember that we're in this for the long haul. The destruction that's taken decades to implement will take just as long, if not longer, to fully undo. Ours has to be a multifaceted, patient, compassionate and ever-vigilant campaign.
Me, right now, I'm focused on letting my knee heal so I'm free to re-commence running around like a chicken with its head cut off as events ramp up again this week. Keep an eye on my Emily's Post blogs for updates and more in-depth information - but I'll try to keep making more personal updates here, too. For better or for worse, I live in interesting times.
ETA: According to Rep. Mark Pocan's vlog, the Fitzgerald Brothers have decided to move Legislative proceedings this week into what's called "Extraordinary Session." What does that mean, exactly? It's quite the trick:
Extraordinary Sessions are very rare and seldom used for the Budget. In an Extraordinary Session action can not be postponed, points of order are decided within one hour, the daily calendar is effective immediately upon posting and does not have to be distributed, motion to advance legislation and message it to the other house only required a majority vote of those present, the session can be expanded to include any other legislation, including new legislation (financial martial law?) and "No notice of hearing before a committee shall be required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and no bulletin of committee hearing shall be published.