Monday, March 14, 2011

Can't Protest At The Capitol? You Can Help A Lot

Yesterday, my mom told me that my cousin from Oconto Falls was looking for more information about what's going on at the Capitol. She also told my mom that she wishes she could come down to the Capitol, but with work and a family with kids she just can't make it. My mom asked me to send my cousin the link to my blog (my mom's better at computers than she thinks). As I began to write my cousin an email, I realized that there's lots of ways that she can have a meaningful effect right where she lives, some of which she might not know about. I wrote everything I could think of, and sent the email. Then I thought that there might be a lot of other people wishing and asking the same things. So, if you can't make it to the Capitol in Madison but want to show your support for Wisconsin's public workers, these are some things you can do where you live that I believe can have a real impact.

(1) First and foremost, find out if you live in one of the Republican 8 senate districts, the eight Republican senators who voted against workers' rights and can be recalled now. If even three Republicans are recalled, the law may get repealed (Walker can still veto if he dares). We have less than 60 days to collect enough signatures to have a recall election for each senator. So it's important that we get as many signatures as quickly as possible. is the best place I've found to go for information on the recall campaigns. Make sure you sign, and get as many other people you know in your district to sign. Then, watch the news for when the recall election will be held, and vote.

(2) You can help spread the word. Look at the map here. If you think you know anyone who is in one of the red areas and supports workers' rights, tell them that their state senator may be up for recall and to sign the recall form and later vote. Facebook can be a great way to easily spread the word.

(3) There's a major election for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice on April 5th. Prosser, alleged Tea Party conservative and the current justice, was appointed by Gov. Tommy Thompson and most likely supports Walker, but now we can choose who we want to serve in his position (he ran unchallenged in 2001). His opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg has said she's independent and will judge cases based on the facts of the law not ideology, and she most likely supports workers' rights.

A vote for Kloppenburg is a vote against Walker. Especially, since the law might be taken to the Supreme Court. Currently, the court is split in Walker's favor, but with Prosser out and Kloppenburg in, it could split the other way. If Kloppenburg wins, which may not be very likely given the massive corporate support Prosser has as we've seen with Walker, it will be a strong message that Walker is wrong. Kloppenburg can't accept donations, because she's using public financing. So you can help by volunteering, spreading the word, and voting for JoAnne Kloppenburg on April 5th.

(4) There may be other local elections on April 5th in your district with candidates who are for or against workers' rights. If you don't know how they stand, try to ask the candidate, so that all the voters know. Then vote for the candidates who support workers' rights.

(5) You may not be able to make it to the Capitol, but there are lot's of protests and events throughout the state. The best site I've found for information on events around the state is here.

(6) Tell people why unions are good. I think we as a country have forgotten the value of unions. People want to know why this whole "collective bargaining thing" matters. So it's a great time to talk about it because people are listening. If you're in a union, talk about what it means to you to be in a union, and what you get out of it, and don't forget to mention that anyone in Wisconsin can join a union. If you're a public worker, you can also talk about the value of your work, why you do what you do, and you can talk about how this law will affect you. Your story matters. Facebook is good for this, too.

Lot's of really good people are doing everything they can to help. I hope things get better, but I believe now is one of those times when action can really make a difference. The energy at the protests is unbelievable, and you see that on people's faces, hear it from people as you pass by, and are told by people who are much wiser than myself that they haven't seen Madison like this since the 60's, if even then. People from truly all walks of life show up, with no more men than women, both young and old, rich through poor, there's no better characterization than Wisconsin. We can all help each other by spreading this energy across the state, like it already appears to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment