Email date: 3/10/11
As I tweeted last night at about 8 o’clock, the Senate’s surprise vote to bust unions was disgraceful and cowardly. It was a desecration of the democratic process.
Senators made a mockery of Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The governor and legislative leaders insisted for weeks that this was all about the budget. Then last night their union-breaking plan was split away from budgetary items and passed on a moment’s notice. The action on the Senate floor took all of about three minutes. As with The Call, true motives were revealed last night. This is about politics and power. It’s about rewarding campaign donors and kneecapping political opponents.
Either they don’t know it or they don’t care, but they have chosen the path of maximum destruction. Their reckless actions will only result in more protests, lawsuits, boycotts, walkouts. Possibly strikes. Certainly recalls. They say Wisconsin is open for business. Boy, businesses are going to want to flock to Wisconsin now.
No one could have seen all this coming. But we have to rise to the occasion. Spontaneous boycotts of businesses that gave heavily to Governor Walker and his legislative allies are springing up, and people are being steered to our website to see who donated. We have had over 4.5 million hits to wisdc.org in the last three weeks and, knock on wood, the site hasn’t crashed. We’ve been organizing citizens to stand vigil at the Capitol, and we are committed to continuing this effort well into 2012 even if — especially if — the crowds of demonstrators begin to thin out.
I have been traveling the state speaking out against the violence that is being done to our democracy, and other members of our staff have fanned out across Wisconsin to network with community groups and statewide associations. I was at a Milwaukee church on Sunday speaking at a pre-service forum, and people blew off their worship service because they wanted to keep talking about what to do in this historic moment. I testified at a statewide health conference on Monday, spoke at a senior center in Madison on Tuesday, talked to Green Bay-area high school students yesterday. I’ll be in Woodruff on Saturday.
There’s no way to plan for this, or budget for it. But we have to rise to the occasion. We could use your help right now. A donation of $100, $50, $35, $10 or whatever you can afford would be a most welcome sight right about now.
The unprecedented drama playing out at the Capitol has underscored what the Democracy Campaign has been highlighting for the last 16 years — the connection between special interest money in our elections and the influence it has over lawmakers once they are in office. We have been fighting this distortion of our democracy for the better part of two decades and while we have made progress the current crisis demonstrates that there’s a whole lot of work that still needs doing. There’s a massive budget bill to be analyzed, money to be tracked, events to be planned, resistance to be created.
Thank you so much for caring about the work we do and supporting our efforts. It makes a real difference and means the world to us.