Elizabeth MoonRaven, Whitewater, Wi Pagan
Why are you here today?
I feel the energy here is part of the global revolution that is coming forth from all parts of the world. I wanted to be here to add my energy to that realm of energy because we are all related. I feel really great about this energy, it naturally flows (around the square) widdershins, see how the parade flows. This is the natural way to unwind all the bad things that have been happening. I am concerned about all of the American Freedoms becuause there is a bigger dark agenda underneath all of this. Part of what is going on under all of this is there is a land grab, wetlands and parks are being threatened. I have friends and family who are teachers. It affects them, it effects their bottom line. I am out here to support the farmers, and the tractors and to add my good energy to it.
Peggy G. River Falls, Wi. Pagan
Why are you here today?
I’m a teacher and I’m here because I am very passionate about what is wrong with our democracy today. I am a Druid, I have been practicing for about 12 years now, with a group out of the Twin cities. It is very powerful to be here today because the energy is just so intense. There is so much pride and hope. People are coming together, it brings tears. I have already signed my petition to recall my Senator, Sheila Harsdorf, and also for Walker. I am involved in some local community protests, next in Hudson on the bridge, Sunday. I have been through all the emotions, you know, shock, anger, and despair. I’ve cried. You start with one group and target, demonize them and once they are taken out, there is another group. Most Walker supporters do not like non-Christians, so it is very, very scary.
Peggy B. Madison, Wi. Pagan
What has been your involvement in these protests?
If I am away for the weekend or something, then I am not. I am usually here everyday at lunch, because I work a block off the Capitol for the state. Sometimes I am here after work.
What is the energy like here today?
I am trying to describe what it is like whether a handful or a large group such as this, as we’ve seen today. It is a whole group of people who are friendly to each other. I don’t see any hostility, it is such a phenomenon, because I have never felt that before. You get out of the bubble and you say “Hi” to somebody and they look at you funny. Here, it is just friends, it is okay, it is amazing.
Do recent events give you cause for concern about your religious freedom?
Well I am not so out with the new administration, that came in. I work for the Department of commerce. I am not going to hide that I am Pagan, and I think that could cause me problems. I work for the newly “public-private” part of the organization. I don’t think my job is so secure. They have a wonderful man heading it, Secretary Jadin. I don’t trust Walker and I think he wants to get rid of us. When it switches over I think someone is going to come along and ask what we do, and we’ll be reassigned a new wage.
Do we need these rallies anymore, or to just get out and recall Senators?
I think we need both. I will keep coming, as long as people are here, because it is easy for me to be here. I am also committed to working on people’s campaigns, to getting out the vote. I’ll be donating to campaigns and supporting those candidates that I believe in.
I also did random interviews on the March 12th, picking every twentieth person to briefly interview as the rally broke up. Here are the complete results, in the order they were received.
Asked: First name? What do you do for a living? City? Why was it important for you to attend today?
Bob, Metal Fabricator, Baraboo
Raymond, unemployed, Madison
“This counts. This counts for a lot of people in my family, and my group of friends.”
Erica, Teacher, Madison
“I’m mad. I gotta show it!”
Brian, Driver, Madison
“Support the people here, the peace, and to show solidarity.”
Roger, Retired, Madison
“Supporting the unions, my wife is in the union.”
Garrett, Student, Milwaukee
“I wanted to show support for the union workers.”
Adell, works at a Federal Housing Authority, Madison
“I’m against the Republicans, and the bill they just passed. Very important, I will lose at least $300 a month from my pay check, with the pension increase. Walker and the Republicans ought to try working for Walmart with no benefits. I work hard for my living . The billionaires have taken over this country and it is going to stop. We are galvanized, organized, and we are going to fight!”
Vickie, Research Scientist, Madison
“Power to the people!”
Scott, Preschool Teacher, Madison
(laughs) “Not an easy answer. I am here because I want to stand with the people of this beautiful state. I went to college here, I met my wife here, I got married at the Capitol. My wife is a state employee. I am from Chicago, but what I am seeing, well this is not my state anymore. I want it back. I want the state that I fell in love with, and I want it back!”
Barbara, Retired, Madison
“I am quite passionate about the fact we have lost all balance in this country. Walker has just… This is a lovely state. Everything that Walker has done lately, well it is just deception. He is not listening to the people. We are still a friendly people, we are still open, open to deception. Walker he just wants to privatize services, and destroy the lives of our government workers.”
Greg, Professional Mariner, Milwaukee
“Because Walker lies. He lies and he can’t get away with it.”
Tom runs a Bakery, Madison
“I am a life-long Republican, and I’m ashamed of my party. I believe in checks and balances, and they are trying to destroy the checks and balances.”
To characterize the people at these protests as simply self-interested ‘union thugs’ or ‘over-paid state workers’ is absurd if you observe the protesters. When you chat with the diversity of people here, the overwhelming feeling you get is they all know something is very wrong in the Wisconsin they love, and by banding together and speaking their minds, well maybe something can really change. They are really upset, but happy to be here with friends.