I decided to make a somewhat spontaneous trip to Madison to check out the First Democracy Convention that ran August 24-28. Hats off to Ben Manski, the Executive Director for Liberty Tree for all the work involved to create and deliver such a powerful conference. The driving force that took me to Madison was the opportunity to do an in-person interview with Stewart Acuff, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of the Utility Workers Union of America. My interview with Mr. Acuff will be published in a few days as our September “Progressive Profile” feature. A fitting Labor Day salute.
I was also curious to get a first-hand read on the tone and atmosphere in Wisconsin now that the state senate recall elections are over. Don’t tell those deeply involved with the Recall Scott Walker efforts that the enthusiasm to recall the radical governor has died down. Most impressive of all the activity still going on in Madison is the “Solidarity Sing-Along” that commences each day at noon either inside the Capitol rotunda or outside on the corner of State Street. The group has been convening every day since the protests started in February and there are no plans to stop any time soon. The voices of the solidarity singers boom out with each of the more than 20 songs they sing. My personal favorite: Roll Out the Recall sung to the tune of “Roll Out The Barrel.”
The energy for a Scott Walker recall has not waned. Here’s hoping the people of Wisconsin will sustain their efforts to get the needed signatures for Walker’s recall. Wisconsin continues to lead the way in showing this country how to reclaim our democracy. Let’s also hope that they can stop Kathy Nickolaus from counting the votes in Waukesha County. If she’s still counting votes in 2012, no recall effort will be successful.
Saturday morning, before starting back, I took a leisurely stroll around the famed Madison Farmers Market on the Square. For those not familiar with it, every Saturday the Square swells with vendors and buyers in a display of wonderful togetherness. A proud Wisconsin tradition that seems lost with the election of Scott Walker. But not even Scott Walker can take away the beauty of the abundance that was on display this past Saturday. Vendors’ booths brimming with gorgeous harvests of tomatoes, zucchini of every size, shape and variety, mouthwatering raspberries, just to name a few. I left Madison realizing that there is so much abundance that surrounds us, if we would only open our eyes and hearts to all of it. Austerity is not a condition that suits us well as a people, especially when we acknowledge the abundance that is in our midst.